Become part of a great story...
Anticipation builds for the 30th Scottish International Storytelling Festival event
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