Ordinary people, extraordinary stories in Scituate

Colleen Blanchard (left) and Emily Simmer are among those sharing their narratives in Scituate’s Seaside Stories. Scituate Education Foundation

During the early days of the Internet, Colleen Blanchard said she was investigated by the FBI for a mishap that occurred after she left her e-mail account logged in on a library computer.

Blanchard, now 44, was schooled on the perils of leaving her e-mail open to the public. She, along with 10 others, will share their riveting narratives at the Scituate Education Foundation’s Seaside Stories event on Saturday, Nov. 3.

“People find storytelling really compelling because we have such few opportunities for authentic sharing with each other,” said Meghann Perry, one of two storytelling coaches working with performers. “It’s like the community is hungry for this kind of intimate sharing with each other.”

Each of the storytellers, who are closely tied to Scituate, will share their stories in five minutes. For the past three weekends, they’ve been coached by two professionals.

Perry and Andrea Lovett, both of Scituate, led the three Sunday workshops with the storytellers. They honed the details of their story, learned alluring techniques to draw in their audiences, and prepared to be on stage.

The stories will bring the audience into experiences of learning Gaelic, helping the FBI capture a criminal, and the misperception of the National Guard’s duties.

The most important part of the process, Perry said, is to help storytellers find their “most authentic voice.” There’s an art to the craft, Lovett said. Too long or not enough substance, and they’ll lose their audience.

“It’s learning how to use an economy of words, or the best words, to tell a story in a short amount of time,” Lovett said.

The group practiced facial expressions and gestures, using dialogue, pacing, and recovering from a slip-up.

“Storytelling is a performance art, but the power of it lies within feeling like you are in someone’s living room just listening to a story,” Perry said.

Emily Mathews, event organizer and co-vice president of the Scituate Education Foundation, said Scituate boasts a strong sense of community.

She expects the event will unveil universal human experiences that could create new connections and strengthen Scituate pride.

“I think this will show a different side of Scituate that we will all relate to, but not necessarily easily identify with, like we do with fishing and beaches,” Mathews said.

Most of the performers have little to no experience with storytelling.

“I’m totally out of my comfort zone,” Blanchard said. “I don’t know what made me say yes, but I figured I’d spice up my life a little.”

Despite the nervousness of Blanchard and other performers, Lovett said she is confident in the storytellers.

“I expect the audience will be blown away by their friends and neighbors,” she said.

Peter Mehegan, formerly of WCVB-TV’s “Chronicle,” and Michele Lazcano, a reporter at Fox 25 Boston, also will share their stories. Scituate High School alumni Roger Dawley, who recently played a lead role in Paw Patrol Live’s national tour, will MC the event.

Seaside Stories will take place at the Scituate Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 online, $35 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Scituate Education Foundation, which awards grants to local educational programs. Visit

Morgan Hughes can be reached at

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