Ex­change of sto­ries plays a ‘vi­tal’ role

Sto­ry­telling fes­ti­val brings rel­e­vant and valu­able tales from all over the world

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - FILM REVIEW - The Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val is on from Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 20, un­til Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 31. Visit www.trac­scot­land.org/ sto­ry­tellingfes­ti­val or call 0131 556 9579.

VIK­INGS, leg­ends from the edge of the Arc­tic Cir­cle and Korean folk tales are all part of the Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val which is ex­pand­ing its reach still fur­ther. The 2017 cel­e­bra­tion of the power of sto­ry­telling will demon­strate “what a con­nected kind of place Scot­land has al­ways been”, ac­cord­ing to di­rec­tor Donald Smith.

This year the Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates its 28th year at the same time as Ed­in­burgh’s land­mark an­niver­sary as a fes­ti­val city. Seventy years ago, in the wake of the Sec­ond World War, Ed­in­burgh wel­comed the world after artists de­cided the city was the per­fect back­drop to host an arts fes­ti­val as a coun­ter­point to years of war and con­flict.

The rep­u­ta­tion Scot­land has since built up for in­ter­na­tional wel­come will be cel­e­brated in the Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val’s Global Gath­er­ing, which will see 54 in­vited guests from all over the globe join Scot­land’s sto­ry­tellers to ex­plore their role in the 21st cen­tury. The speak­ers will come to­gether to share nar­ra­tives of place and local iden­tity across the planet.

“This year’s Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val is a global first for Scot­land,” said Smith. “We are mak­ing Ed­in­burgh the world’s sto­ry­telling cap­i­tal.

“The 2017 theme, Open Word – Open World, em­bod­ies the mes­sage of in­clu­siv­ity and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ask­ing us to open our minds and hearts to dif­fer­ent val­ues, pre­sented in sto­ries.

“The traditional art of sto­ry­telling is more vi­tal than ever in con­nect­ing peo­ple world­wide, across cul­tures, places and gen­er­a­tions.

“Folk­tales, fa­bles and fairy tales are passed down the gen­er­a­tions be­cause they’re rel­e­vant, emo­tive and valu­able.”

Smith added: “This year’s fes­ti­val shows what a con­nected kind of place Scot­land has al­ways been and high­lights Ed­in­burgh’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion of wel­come and hos­pi­tal­ity.”

Span­ning two week­ends, the fes­ti­val of­fers a wealth of fam­ily fun and chil­dren’s events across the city, the ma­jor­ity of which are free. There is also the op­por­tu­nity for ed­u­ca­tors and par­ents to take part in talks and work­shops aimed at shar­ing the skill of sto­ry­telling.

In ad­di­tion, the fes­ti­val’s Ed­u­ca­tion Day on Oc­to­ber 23 is a help­ful re­source for teach­ers and ed­u­ca­tors who want to ex­plore how sto­ry­telling can sup­port learn­ing within schools, as well as en­sure cul­ture is part of early years’ ed­u­ca­tion.

To cel­e­brate its 28th year, the Fes­ti­val has en­sured there’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion across all seven con­ti­nents within the pro­gramme – high­light­ing that sto­ry­telling reaches ev­ery cor­ner of the world across art forms.

From Scot­land, along­side nightly Open Hearth ses­sions, 365 Days, Sto­ries, Tunes will bring to­gether James Robert­son’s year of daily sto­ries and Ai­dan O’Rourke’s tunes in re­sponse. Tom Muir will re­cite the great saga of St Mag­nus of Orkney, Daniel Al­li­son will ex­plore rewil­d­ing in The Miss­ing Lynx while Mar­garet Ben­nett, Ruth Kirk­patrick, David Campbell and Jess Smith will cel­e­brate Scot­land’s

rich sto­ry­telling her­itage with Pre­cious Lega­cies: Re­mem­ber­ing the An­ces­tors.

From Europe, Norway’s Stina Fager­tun will share leg­ends from the edge of the Arc­tic Cir­cle, Is­tra In­spirit, a Croa­t­ian col­lec­tive, will bring their her­itage to Ed­in­burgh, sto­ries of Russia will be shared through film screen­ings and Vik­ing tales from Swe­den will be told.

From Asia, Wa­juppa Tossa will guide au­di­ences through a rich for­est of Thai myths, Se­ung Ah Kim will re­count a trea­sure of Korean folk tales and Pak­istan’s Sara Kazmi and Shazea Qu­raish will part­ner Scot­tish artists for a jour­ney from the Isle of Lewis to La­hore.

From Aus­trala­sia, Lost Tales by Travis De Vries will ex­plore his in­dige­nous Aus­tralian her­itage with an­cient tales and mod­ern art, while Maori sto­ry­teller Joe Harawira will share the rich tra­di­tions of New Zealand.

From Kenya, sto­ry­teller Maimouna Jal­low will tell The Se­cret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and from South Amer­ica there will be Peru­vian tales as well as Brazil­ian sto­ry­teller Ana Maria Lines’ sto­ries about painter Frida Kahlo.

From North Amer­ica, Tales of the Que­bec Wet­lands fits well with the Shack­le­ton and Hurley ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land.

“From im­pris­oned princesses to brave quests and myth­i­cal crea­tures, there’s no doubt as young­sters we get en­grossed in sto­ries, with most of us prob­a­bly re­call­ing a fam­ily mem­ber re­count­ing classic fairy tales and myths or our own scrib­bles of mag­i­cal tales from imag­i­na­tion,” pointed out Smith.

“The Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val is a cel­e­bra­tion of the power and plea­sure that sto­ry­telling has in its purest form – a connection be­tween teller and lis­tener, a fantasy world to es­cape into that also con­tains moral lessons. “Sto­ry­telling in its purest sense is to share sto­ries live with­out read­ing from the page, al­low­ing the story to flow and the teller to add their own flavour. Sto­ry­telling of­fers a con­trast, and per­haps an­ti­dote, to highly processed mass me­dia by al­low­ing the unique ex­pe­ri­ence of lis­ten­ing, en­gag­ing and con­nect­ing, live in the

mo­ment,” said Smith.

Tongue Tied and Twisted

GLOBAL: Maori sto­ry­teller Joe Harawira will share the rich tra­di­tions of New Zealand. Left – Vik­ing tales with Jerker Fahlström.

WIVES’ TALES: Maimouna Jal­low from Kenya.

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