The Mid-Island StoryTellers have a new series beginning at the MAC, featuring short, personal tales from the public. — Courtesy Mid-Island StoryTellers

New storytelling series in Parksville invites public to share their tales

Mid-Island StoryTellers to hold their first Slice of Life event Sept. 28

The Mid-Island StoryTellers have brought in professional performers with same amazing tales over the years, but now they are opening up the stage to everyday folk.

The group is launching a new storytelling series Sept. 28 at the MAC (McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan St., Parksville) that will have six “real people” with “real-life stories” share a 10-minute yarn about themselves.

Dubbed Slice of Life, the event looks to share the fantastic and the relatable via an unmemorized presentation.

“This is about the experience of everyday, ordinary people who tell first-person stories from their own lives,” said Susan Warner, a member of the Mid-Island StoryTellers, and the curator for the upcoming series.

“There is a magic that happens when you’re listened to, and there’s a magic that happens when you hear something that you can relate to,” she said. “And there’s something about these first person stories that offers that experience of… your own experience being heard or witnessed in some way.

“I mean it could be something really simple, like just a funny little story, it can be a very poignant story, there aren’t really any rules about it other than it has to fit within the 10 minutes.”

Each of the three Slice of Life events scheduled for this season has a theme, with the Sept. 28 theme being ‘When We Were Young’.

The event was open to pitches, with people submitting their idea for what they wanted to talk about to the Mid-Island StoryTellers via their website, www.midislandstorytellers.com.

Just about anything that fits within that theme was allowed, said Warner, without censorship, she said.

For instance, swearing is permitted, though it’s by no means required, she noted.

Story tellers were then selected based on their pitch alone, said Warner. There is no audition process, but a dress rehearsal gives speakers a chance to get a sense of what the event will feel like, to make sure they are within the 10-minute time limit, and get some feedback.

This process keeps many possibilities open, Warner said.

“It feels like something that will be very alive, and it will allow for so much creativity to happen.”

The speakers are meant to be unscripted, to not read off a story and are not meant to memorize their story as a whole. Warner suggests, however, that speakers memorize the first line and last line of their story so they know how to start and where they will finish.

The lineup has already been decided for the first event, but pitches are open for the Oh No! Now What? event on Jan. 25, and the Bursting Out All Over-themed event April 26.

For those who are interested but a little unsure about their public speaking abilities, or what the experience might be like, Warner suggested they attend a free Mid-Island StoryTellers meeting. They take place every fourth Monday at the MAC at 7 p.m.

Attending a Slice of Life event is also a good idea, she noted.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the MAC or by phone at 250-248-8185. Those interested in making a pitch to be a future Slice of Life story teller can do so via the group’s website.

Warner said she and the Mid-Island StoryTellers are excited to see where this new series goes, noting that it has seen success in various places across North America, where there are groups that have continued this kind of series for more than a decade.

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