“Be prepared to walk at least six to eight city blocks,” said Peter Jickling, Story Crawl’s host. “And come with an open mind and willingness to learn.”

Jickling was talking about the first event being held as part of Nakai Theatre’s 12th annual Pivot Festival.  

“The venues are the same as last year. We start at the Woodcutter’s Blanket, look for a stage at the far end of the new extension; then we go to Antoinette’s, who has been a big part of the community for some time; then the Town and Mountain, before ending our night at the Gold Pan Saloon. Both venues were really welcoming to us last year.”

“We have the potential to pick up and lose people along the way,” said Jacob Zimmer, Nakai Theatre’s artistic director. “It really is a community event and a great way to kick off the entire Pivot Festival.” 

Jickling equated Story Crawl to an “opening ceremony” of sorts, “where a procession of people move from place to place, like at the Olympics or something.”

Perhaps as part of an Olympic sports category that combines pub crawl-style and mid-winter aerobic activity with 10-minute storytelling sprints? On the roster will be Lori Fox, freelance writer, and Gabrielle Plonka, Whitehorse Star reporter. Poet and event host, Jickling, will round out the night at the Gold Pan.

The fourth presenter is yet to be determined, allowing for an element of surprise for the event, which takes place Jan. 14. 

“There are some BIG stories happening in the world these days,” Zimmer said. “But we experience these big stories in the day-to-day world. The story you tell in a restaurant is going to be different than the story one tells on a bus. It is nice to get unconventional storytellers into the Pivot Festival and into unusual venues for performances.”

Zimmer likened Story Crawl to the tradition of the Mummers, a seasonal house-visiting event in Celtic-based regions.

“The event mimics just that – going door-to-door,” Zimmer said. “It is also what is great about January. Sometimes this time of year, I need that extra push to get me out and see friends.”

Jickling said an event like Story Crawl is a way to keep oral tradition going, and another way to ingest information and art in a digital age.

“Pivot is about sharing stories,” Zimmer said. “And anything that involves walking outdoors in winter, is a means of raising our fists.”

Audience members can prepare to meet at the Woodcutter’s Blanket by 7 p.m. for round one of story happy hour. All storytellers will start at the top of the hour at each location. The event is free, but do not expect Nakai to foot the bill for the drinks. 

The 12th Pivot Festival begins with Story Crawl on Jan. 14. For more information on Nakai Theatre and 2020 Pivot Festival events happening in Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Dawson City, please visit NakaiTheatre.com

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