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An­tic­i­pa­tion builds for the 30th Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val event

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Books -

LIKE the great sto­ry­tellers it cel­e­brates, the Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val al­ways finds imag­i­na­tive ways of keep­ing this pre­cious tra­di­tion alive.

Sto­ry­telling is some­thing that we all do, and usu­ally with­out know­ing it. We pass on tales of our grand­par­ents, par­ents, and si­b­lings – the ex­tra­or­di­nary and the ev­ery­day – cre­at­ing rich fam­ily his­to­ries. Sto­ry­telling is part of us but it also pre­serves an in­tan­gi­ble part of our her­itage.

The in­for­mal­ity of sto­ry­telling makes it the great lev­eller. Sto­ries shared around camp­fires or in pala­tial royal res­i­dences have the same res­o­nance. They con­nect peo­ple across gen­er­a­tions, so­cial back­grounds, and cul­tures in an au­then­tic shared ex­pe­ri­ence. The 30th Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling

Fes­ti­val opens with an event in

Stir­ling Cas­tle’s Great Hall on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 18, which cel­e­brates the great Celtic le­gends and ush­ers in al­most two weeks of the finest global sto­ry­telling.

This year the fu­ture of the tra­di­tion in Scot­land is at the Fes­ti­val’s heart. Nur­tur­ing our lo­cal sto­ry­telling is key and the Lo­cal Cam­paign will sup­port 100 events in schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres across the coun­try, tak­ing sto­ry­telling into the heart of our neigh­bour­hoods.

Fes­ti­val on Tour events will be held from Orkney to Dum­fries & Gal­loway, Bute to Fife. Across the Fes­ti­val there will be 96 Scot­tish sto­ry­tellers along­side 18 in­ter­na­tional guests from France, Wales, Ice­land, In­dia, Bel­gium, Jor­dan, and Sierra Leone, show­ing how the Fes­ti­val is reach­ing out across con­ti­nents.

There will also be spe­cial guests from just across the Ir­ish Sea as part of the Scot­land & Ire­land Se­ries; 12 events cre­ated to show­case and strengthen our shared tra­di­tions.

Don­ald Smith, Di­rec­tor of the Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val, says: “We’re stand­ing along­side Ire­land in a time of threat to ev­ery­thing that peo­ple there have achieved since The Trou­bles.”

This will be sup­ported by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s Fes­ti­val Expo Fund, which pro­vides strate­gic fund­ing sup­port along­side Cre­ative Scot­land and the City of Ed­in­burgh Coun­cil. “Since its launch, the Fes­ti­val has con­tin­ued to ex­plore sto­ries that shape and in­form us through sto­ry­telling and mu­sic on a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional stage,” says Fiona Hys­lop, Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Cul­ture, Tourism & Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs.

“This is why the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing £90,000 from our Fes­ti­vals Expo Fund, en­sur­ing new tal­ent and creativ­ity flour­ishes in Scot­land and else­where.”

Among the other strands within the di­verse pro­gramme are op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence Scot­tish Sto­ry­telling Projects & Tal­ents and Folk­lore & Story Col­lec­tion, both vi­tal for the un­der­stand­ing of how we keep the tra­di­tion alive and pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment for the ever-short­en­ing days of au­tumn.

There will be 66 events in Ed­in­burgh alone, with an­other 27 through­out the rest of Scot­land – from con­fer­ences to taster ses­sions, walk­ing tours to in­for­mal fam­ily gath­er­ings.

There will be 12 fam­ily events across Ed­in­burgh, for those look­ing for more au­then­tic Hal­loween cel­e­bra­tions, and Lit­er­a­ture Links, a se­ries of events with a par­tic­u­lar con­nec­tion to books, writ­ers, lit­er­a­ture and po­etry. Also, fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the 2017 Fes­ti­val’s Global Gath­er­ing, this year’s Grow­ing Sto­ries fea­tures a strong pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment strand, with 11 work­shops aimed at en­rich­ing the growth of sto­ry­tellers and ed­u­ca­tors, but also of in­ter­est to any­one who is keen to ex­plore spe­cific themes (e.g. story col­lec­tion).

As an il­lus­tra­tion of how wide-rang­ing sto­ry­telling is as an art form, this year’s Fes­ti­val part­ners in­clude Scot­land’s Gar­dens Scheme, Cul­ture Ire­land as part of GB18, Live Ar­gyll, the Orkney Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val, Cairn­gorms Na­tional Park Au­thor­ity, Mu­se­ums & Gal­leries Ed­in­burgh, and Fes­ti­vals Ed­in­burgh. Don­ald Smith adds: “We’re lay­ing stronger, deeper foun­da­tions for the Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val this year, and look­ing to its fu­ture growth.”

The Fes­ti­val runs from 18-31 Oc­to­ber. The full book­able pro­gramme is avail­able on­line at www.sisf.org.uk

Per­form­ers Brighde Chaim­beul, above, and Martin Mac­In­tyre, in­set, will find ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ences at this year’s Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val

The Ar­magh Rhymers are booked to ap­pear

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