The Scottish Storytelling Festival returns this weekend

Guisers Sophie Somerville and brother Ollie Somerville join Marion and Mohammed in The Vaults, Edinburgh, managed by Mercat Tours. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Guisers Sophie Somerville and brother Ollie Somerville join Marion and Mohammed in The Vaults, Edinburgh, managed by Mercat Tours. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Share this article
Have your say

THE Scottish International Storytelling Festival will begin its story this Friday (23rd October).

The festival is the world’s largest celebration of live, traditional storytelling, taking place across the country.

With over 70 events in Edinburgh and over 20 throughout Scotland, including mini-festivals in Orkney, Portskerra and Inverness, there will be a host of live storytelling, children’s activities, walks, talks, workshops and performances to please all.

Taking Stories without Borders as this year’s theme, the SISF 2015 will see local traditions intertwine with tales from Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Syria and beyond.

Guests from around the world including from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe will be coming together during the ten-day celebration of oral traditions and cultural diversity.

Last year’s festival – Once Upon a Place – was a huge success with over 25,000 visitors and festival director, Donald Smith, aims to continue the hospitable welcome that storytelling is associated with, he said: “Storytelling connects across borders of culture, race, class,

religion and politics. This year’s Festival shows what a connected kind of place Scotland is becoming. We’re modelling a more festive and welcoming world, where nothing human is alien to us.”

The festival is open to all ages. Storyteller Rabeea Al Nasser and musician Tareq Al Nasser will be sweeping audiences away to the Middle East in From Village to Village: A Journey through Jordan. Storytelling on boats, in gardens and even in a castle will be available to keep the kids entertained this autumn, most of them free.

Halloween activities will also be taking place where kids are invited to dress up and head to Lauriston Castle for a spooky afternoon of crafts and stories on Saturday 25 October, or join us on Hallowe’en itself to learn songs and poems before setting off on the Guisers Trail around Edinburgh’s Old Town in the afternoon before the Samhuinn Fire Festival in the evening.

There will also be themed sessions titled Stories without Borders which explore ways of sharing through multiple art forms and platforms, offering a smorgasbord to enjoy, from the merging of physical theatre, dance and poetry as writer-actor Philip Knight and virtuoso guitarist Michael Gosling re-telling the Greek myth of Prometheus through to Stories without Borders in a Digital World, examining the impact of social media on the art of storytelling, and how the 21st century can allow ancient culture to flourish in brand new ways.

The major strands of the 2015 Scottish International Storytelling Festival are supported by the Scottish Government Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Europe, Culture and External Affairs, said:“Scotland is a country of storytellers, a proud tradition we share with many nations. Stories help us to break down borders and overcome barriers. They help us to discover our common hopes and the challenges we share as global citizens.

It is wonderful we are able welcome storytellers from across the world to the Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival again this year and we are proud to support their work through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.”

Walking tours, talks and lectures and exhibitions will be taking place throughout the festival.

• The Scottish International Storytelling Festival: Stories without Borders takes place Friday 23 October – Sunday 1 November 2015.