DURHAM, NH, (June 6, 2023) – Nashua’s vibrant local music scene, creative student storytellers, and family stories that span generations are all featured in the next episode of OUR HOMETOWN. The New Hampshire PBS favorite returns on Thursday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. with a program first: profiling a city instead of a town. In advance of the televised broadcast, residents are invited to a special premiere screening and discussion on Sunday, June 11 at the Nashua Center for the Arts.
Nashua is known for its historic mills, riverside location, and decades-long history as a multicultural border city. In the episode, viewers can expect to learn more about the city’s development through the voices of local families, public officials, librarians, historical society members, and young leaders.
“It’s more complicated to profile and produce a show about a city than a town, as there are so many stories and angles to pursue, but it’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a while,” says Schuyler Scribner, producer of OUR HOMETOWN. “Ultimately, we produced more than 50 stories. Across those different stories, virtually everyone we spoke to — from elected officials to community influencers to private citizens — were pulling in the same direction by wanting to foster positive community engagement in their city.”
Viewers can expect to see nearly a dozen stories featured in the 30-minute Nashua episode – roughly twice the number contained in a typical episode. The remaining stories will be produced as short videos for the web; people are encouraged to go to the OUR HOMETOWN Nashua site, see the stories and storytellers and share with their families, friends, and neighbors.
Locations and stories featured in the episode include:
NHPBS producers and host Rebecca Rule began working on the episode in November 2022, holding advance discussions with families who have lived in Nashua for generations, newer residents, and nonprofits who serve the community. Both in the past and the present, a common thread emerged: how Nashua embraces newcomers.
“The city has been welcoming to immigrants, both historically and in the present,” says Jasmine Torres Allen, community and education engagement coordinator at NHPBS. “Generations ago, it was the French and the Greeks. More recently, a new wave of immigrant families of diverse backgrounds has settled in Nashua. The French language was commonly spoken when French immigrants worked in the mills, now it’s predominantly Spanish and Portuguese and Swahili. In conversation with our storytellers, they also mentioned Ukrainian refugees are in Nashua as well.”
Nashua is the only community in New Hampshire to achieve the designation as a “Certified Welcoming” city. The nonprofit organization Welcoming America established the formal designation for cities and counties, to distinguish local efforts “to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social and economic life in their communities.”
“We saw evidence of a lot of young leaders emerging in Nashua to help serve this diverse community in any way they can,” says Torres Allen. “It’s really beautiful to see this transition and how people are working to ensure immigrants can be reached in their own language and have access to public meetings. Nashua has a city vibe for sure, but it also still has a neighborly feel as people are willing to help each other.”
The episode also features some other firsts: a Spanish language component, a story produced using ASL (American Sign Language), and student-created features.
“We worked with Nashua High School students; an audio-visual teacher in the Nashua schools took the reins and got the students together and NHPBS provided feedback,” says Scribner. “We are really excited to see one student-produced story appearing in the show and the others going on the OUR HOMETOWN website. Ideally, we want students and other storytellers to share their stories and engage with our website, so that the community will continue to be involved in telling and preserving its own stories.”
Three stories involving Spanish speakers were produced; one will appear in the program and two others will play online.
Another tasty fact discovered during the production: Nashua is the birthplace of Russian salad dressing!
Join NHPBS for the premiere screening of OUR HOMETOWN: NASHUA on Sunday, June 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the newly-opened Nashua Center for the Arts. The program will be followed by a discussion hosted by NHPBS Board member Lisa Law (whose family has been in Nashua for generations) and with NHPBS program producers Schuyler Scribner and Jasmine Torres Allen.
The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Click here for tickets and more information.
About New Hampshire PBS: New Hampshire PBS inspires one million Granite Staters each month with engaging and trusted local and national programs and services on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Beyond its award-winning television programs, New Hampshire PBS is a leader in education and community engagement. www.nhpbs.org
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