CONWAY — New Hampshire PBS’ award-winning “Our Hometown” series is coming to Conway, and local residents are invited to take part in it.
The program is a series of interviews with residents as they talk about their lives in the featured town. The show, which debuted in 2014, has so far chronicled six towns: Littleton, Peterborough, Stratham, Colebrook, Milford and Wolfeboro, according to show producer Schuyler Scribner.
“I’ll be coming to Conway to meet with local officials at the Conway Public Library Feb. 19 and will also speak in North Conway that afternoon to the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Chamber After Hours to discuss what our goals are for the Conway program,” Scribner told the Sun Wednesday.
That MWV Chamber meeting is to be held at Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton at Settlers Green, beginning at 5 p.m.
“We’re hoping to get the word out that we want to hear people’s stories,” said Scribner, who said the goal of the program is for residents to share their stories and for the end product to be a “patchwork of memories that will be representative of the whole.”
He expects his production crew will arrive for three-day sessions taking place on two Thursday night-through-Sunday periods, probably in May and June. Then the footage will be edited for a screening/broadcast in the fall.
“Not all of the interviews get used for the production piece, but every one of those is edited and posted on our ‘Hometown’ website. We usually have a broadcast premier in each chosen town,” said Scribner.
He said that Littleton’s episode involved 48 people, each of whom was interviewed for an average of 15 minutes.
“I say ‘interviewed,’ but it’s really a case of us asking them to tell us their stories,” Scribner said. “Some people think the purpose of the series is to tell the history of a town, but it’s really for people to share their stories.”
A sign-up sheet for those interested in being interviewed for the program is available at the Conway Public Library, said Bob Cottrell, curator of the library’s Henney History Room.
“We’re hoping for hundreds,” said Cottrell, who said he, Library Director David Smolen, Historical Society President Ken Rancourt and school moderator Doug Burnell met with Scribner last Dec. 11 to discuss ideas for the show and will be meeting with him again on Feb. 19.
“They are asking people to leave their names and contact information for when they return. They plan to be here three days or so, and are asking people to bring their artifacts and old photos,” Cottrell said Tuesday.
“They kind of do a Ken Burns film type of thing, where they take old images and work them into the program.”
He said he was told it would take several months to edit the footage and that the program would likely air a few months after that.
“I am told they do about 300 hours of interviews and then edit that down to a 30-minute program,” said Cottrell.
The Littleton program premiered Oct. 11, and “Our Hometown Milford” will air April 19. According to Scribner, “Our Hometown” plans to document all of New Hampshire’s 211 towns and 13 cities.
The website nhpbs.org/hometown says the series’ premise is that “each New Hampshire town and city has a unique story to tell, and the people who live there are ideal storytellers for their hometowns.”
New Hampshire author and storyteller Rebecca Rule hosts each 30-minute episode.
For more information, call Cottrell or Smolen at the Conway Public Library at (603) 447-5552 or Scribner at New Hampshire PBS at (603) 868-4372.