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Long Story Short and NHPR celebrate local storytellers on stage and broadcasts

A woman with brown hair and a green shirt and polka dot skirt holds up a card that says "Tell Me Your Story."
Nate Hastings
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Beth LaMontagne Hall is the creator and host of Long Story Short at 3S Artspace.

NHPR is partnering with 3S Artspace to broadcast the New Hampshire-based storytelling series, Long Story Short.

Long Story Short is a storytelling event series based right here in New Hampshire. Locals get up on the 3S Artspace stage to share their funniest stories, intimate moments and everything in between.

NHPR is excited to work with 3S Artspace to present Long Story Short on special broadcasts. The next live event is March 9th, and the NHPR broadcast will air onMarch 25 at 9 p.m. and again on Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m. The theme for the March event is “Out There,” stories about far-off places, strange encounters and adventures with new people.

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NHPR Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with the creator and host of Long Story Short, Beth LaMontagne Hall, about the joy of regional storytelling and what listeners can expect on the new broadcasts.

Transcript: 

Rick Ganley: I know that you started Long Story Short back in 2015. What led you to create it?

Beth LaMontagne Hall: Well, I had told stories at storytelling events before in the past, and I really enjoyed going to see storytelling events. And when the 3S Artspace venue opened up and I got a chance to go in and see their new theater, I thought this would be a really great venue for an intimate storytelling series. So I approached the executive director and he said, "That's a great idea. Why don't you do it?" And so I hadn't originally planned on starting a storytelling series, but then I thought, "Hey, why not? Let's do it." So he helped me get it off the ground. And since then, I've really enjoyed having so many different people and hearing so many different stories over that time.

Rick Ganley: One of the great things about these stories is how they have that local perspective while still being universal. Who are the people that are actually coming to you and saying, "I want to tell a story, I want to be on stage?"

Beth LaMontagne Hall: Oh my gosh, it's so many different people, which is one of my favorite aspects of it. We've had writers and performers, obviously, and we also have bartenders. One woman who's going to be at the show on March 9th, she's a physician assistant and tells some really fabulous stories. So it's all over the map.

Rick Ganley: I imagine a lot of people in the audience eventually do become storytellers.

Beth LaMontagne Hall: Well, it's funny you should mention that because that is one of the the unique features of the Long Story Short series. We have what would essentially be an open mic spot. I call it the pink pumpkin. So every show during the first half, if you want to tell a story on the fly, you can toss your name into a pink Halloween bucket and to start the second half, I randomly pull one of those names out of the bucket. And if you're that name, you have to come up on stage and tell a story right then and there. And surprisingly, pretty much every one of those stories is really good.

Rick Ganley: Well, now that you can hear some of these events on NHPR, what are you hoping that listeners take away from it?

Beth LaMontagne Hall: Well, first of all, I'm just so excited that more people get to hear these fantastic stories. And much like the live shows, I really do hope that they are able to experience that emotional connection that they might hear a story that's relatable to them, that touches them in some way. Really, that's what I hope folks get out of it.

Rick Ganley: And the next live event is on March 9th. Its theme is "Out There." What can people expect when they go to hear that later on NHPR?

Beth LaMontagne Hall: Oh my gosh, we have quite a diversity of stories. We have an artist from Dover talking about the wildest road trip you could ever imagine. There's also a woman who is a long-distance runner who's going to talk about her adventures on the road. So you can expect both physical and intellectual journeys on this show.

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