2nd annual

NHIA Storytelling Festival returns with Sunday slate

New Hampshire Union Leader
April 04. 2018 1:17PM
Storytellers will get their say at New Hampshire Institute of Art's seventh annual competition. 
If you go...
WHAT: New Hampshire Institute of Art Storytelling Festival

WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: French Hall auditorium, 148 Concord St., Manchester


INFO: www.nhia.edu

MANCHESTER — Storytelling, they say, has been around since humans sat around campfires clothed in animal skins.

There won’t be any campfires on Saturday afternoon. And about the only animal skin will be shoe leather.

But plenty of stories will be on hand when the New Hampshire Institute of Art hosts the second annual Storytelling Festival. Nineteen storytellers have been scheduled for the two-hour event.

All entrants submitted a story that was approved by organizers. Most entries entail traditional storytelling, but some involve props, accompaniment and poetry.

Peter Biello of New Hampshire Public Radio will host the event.

“I am nervous. When they said, ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh!’” said Barbara Schult, a retired school teacher who will be performing as a storyteller for the first time.

Storytelling before a live audience has grown popular in recent years, in part because of public radio’s Moth Radio Hour. The Moth website lists 53 storytelling events around the country this month, in communities as small as Burlington, Vt., to as large as New York City.

For example, in Washington, D.C., Story District offers classes on storytelling and sponsors one-to-two shows a month in the region. Most shows focus on a topic such as parenting, getting in trouble or primal instincts.

The topic for the Institute of Art show is “Intensity.”

“Intensity can refer to emotion, information gleaned through the senses, obsession, or a wide variety of other experiences,” reads the call for entries that the Art Institute put on its website.

The stories, which are limited to 5 minutes, can be either true or embellished.

Schult said her story is true. She will recount a dare she received from coworkers in college, and the effect it had on her life.

She said she is a fan of “Moth Radio Hour” and attended the Art Institute event last year. She entered this year on an impulse, she said. And although as a school teacher she spoke to a crowd on a daily basis, Schult said this is different because the story is personal, not just course material.

“It’s about connecting and realizing the humanity in one another,” Schult said. “It’s a way to connect face-to-face as opposed to (via the) internet or Facebook.”

About 75 people attended the event last year at the Queen City art institute.

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