Watch: “New Beginnings,” Episode 5 of UH Hilo’s storyteller series now on video

VIDEO: As UH Hilo emerged from covid restrictions, the fall 2022 Wailau episode premiered live in November with the theme “New Beginnings,” staged at UH Hilo’s Campus Center.

By Susan Enright.

In November of 2022, students at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted the first live episode of a storytelling series they hope builds connections between people on campus and in the larger island community.

The series, called Wailau, began during the pandemic. Each of the first four episodes were prerecorded on video before being released to the public. The storytellers, who come from the university and island communities, explored a different theme on each episode such as “A Just World” and “Misunderstandings,” and shared a personal anecdote on the theme.

As the university emerged from covid restrictions (students and faculty returned to campus last semester and the mask mandate was lifted in November), the fall Wailau episode premiered live on Nov. 18, 2022, with the theme “New Beginnings,” staged at UH Hilo’s Campus Center. It was released on video on Dec. 21, 2022 (see at top of post).

Episode 5 storytellers:

The episode is hosted by performing arts major Dane Dupre, who has previously hosted Wailau, and English major Tori Matsumoto, a former Wailau storyteller.

“Being a part of Wailau continues to inspire me toward personal and artistic growth,” Matsumoto says. “I’m so grateful to co-host with Dane, and to collaborate with our brilliant technicians, storytellers, and director. It truly is a new beginning for all of us, together.”

UH Hilo students play a major role in staging Wailau, from selecting the theme and stories, to operating lights, sound and cameras, to participating as hosts and storytellers. Students from the English Club determine Wailau themes, review applications, and select storytellers.

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By Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories.