The world’s largest celebration of live, traditional storytelling launched this afternoon at the Scottish Storytelling Centre by Culture Convener Councillor Donald Wilson and Ruth Kirkpatrick, who together rang the 17th-century Netherbow Port Bell to officially open the Festival, welcoming storytellers from across six continents to Edinburgh.
In this 70th anniversary year for Edinburgh as a Festival City, the SISF sees twelve days of exhibitions, talks, walks, workshops, films, and live storytelling take place across the country, showcasing the talents of 54 guest storytellers from across the globe.
Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, said:
This year’s Storytelling Festival is a global first for Scotland. We are making Edinburgh the world’s storytelling capital. Storytelling connects across borders of culture, race, class, religion and politics. 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.
In a series of ‘Scotland meets…’ events, storytellers including Deepa Kiran, Jess Smith, Sara Kazmi and Ian Stephen will celebrate the nation’s connections with India, Pakistan and Hungary. Maimouna Jallow tells the tale of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Stories from Africa, whilst Wayqui César Villegas Astete shares the myths and legends of the Peruvian Landscape in Healing the Soul – Stories from Peru – just a few examples of the global reach of the progamme.
Scotland’s stories come to life in St Magnus of Orkney – 900 years, where Tom Muir talks about the great saga of the earl who made peace and paid with his life, while Daniel Allison and Lally O’Keeffe in The Missing Lynx explore the hot topic of rewilding Scotland in stories and music.
SISF also features plenty of events for families. The Botanics will host The Enchanted Garden: Storytelling amongst the Trees, a free drop-in event
for all ages, whilst the Museum of Childhood Wee Folk Magic invites you to enter ‘the world of fairy tales, full of mystery, malice and magic’. There’s more live storytelling for ages 7+ in Pinokio Theatre’s The Storytelling Machine.
If it’s Halloween you’re interested in, The Devil and the Clutch of Fools will host a spontaneous marathon of Hallowe’en storytelling. Hosted by Alexander Mackenzie, this free event starts at 10an, and finishes twelve hours later,
The day also marks the end of summer and the start of the Celtic New Year. The Beltane Fire Society will be making its annual Sammhuin torchlit procession through the Old Town from 9pm, with acrobats, fireworks, beautiful costumes and breath-taking performances; more information, including access and safety advice, here.
In addition to the programme of events, there will be a three-day Global Gathering, held at the Dovecot Studios from 25-27 October. This will focus on how storytellers can contribute to the values and principles of The Earth Charter Initiative, under three banners – Storytelling with Nature, Peace with Justice, and Storytelling for Hope.
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival runs until 31 October 2017. More information from the Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street or on the website here. Tickets for most events can be booked by phone (0131 556 9579), online or in person at the centre’s Box Office.