“Have I told you about that time…?”
One of the great pleasures of life is listening to a well-told tale — let alone several in the course of a single evening.
Perhaps that’s why audiences continue to flock to Hamilton’s popular storytelling event, the Six-minute Memoir, returning Saturday, May 6 for its fifth year.
The brainchild of local journalist and editor Anne Bokma, the event challenges participants to tell a compelling tale within the strict time limit.
This year’s participants, which include Hamilton city councillor Matthew Green, author Marnie Woodrow, journalist Denise Davy and Mohawk College creative writing instructor Jeff Griffiths, will tackle the theme “Homeward Bound.”
Bokma said she started the event as a way to foster a sense of community, share stories, and raise money for charity. When Bokma first launched the event at The Staircase Theatre, the tiny venue couldn’t accommodate the crowd. Last year, the evening drew 300 people to the First Unitarian Church on Dundurn Street.
Bokma also hosts a smaller bimonthly event that takes place at The Staircase Theatre. The next event, scheduled for June 1, will focus on the theme “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
“We crave connection — we like to see ourselves reflected in other peoples’ stories. It’s hard to find authentic
connection in community, and I think storytelling is a way to offer us that,” she said.
Bokma points out that urge to share stories is as ancient as primitive drawings on cave walls and as modern as podcasting. (The Moth, an American podcast and radio show, has more than 1.5 million listeners each week).
“It’s an old-fashioned idea that has a modern appeal,” she said. “It’s very human to want to share our profound experiences in some way. I think that even when stories are so remote from our experience, on some kind of human level, we can relate to the emotion behind it.”
Anne Bokma founded the local Six-Minute Memoir event, which is now in its fifth year.