Nothing beats the electric atmosphere that fills Edinburgh’s streets and performance spaces while there is a festival on, especially when the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting chillier! Thankfully the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is looming gloriously on the horizon, ready to cast its magical glow over Edinburgh for 10 dazzling days from 24 October – 2 November.
With a great mix of family-friendly and adult-only events, the festival’s packed programme of lively speakers and fast-paced, spine-tinglingly wonderful stories are guaranteed to shake off the early-winter chills you’ve been feeling lately.
To whet your appetite, here are a few of the events that are coming up:
Friday 24 October, Places of Power
Get your festival off to a flying start at the Places of Power storytelling session. Join Daniel Allison, Paula Huolman, Ken Shapley and Mio Shapley as they take you on a journey around the world, demonstrating how places of power are connected by the storylines that run between them.
Thursday 30 October, Orkney and Shetland – Northern Connections
Meet the masters of northern storytelling at Orkney and Shetland – Northern Connections. Tom Muir and Lawrence Tulloch bring tales of Norse culture and the Northern Isles to life in an unstoppable flow of tragedy, adventure and humour.
Friday 31 October, Rosslyn Glen Walk
The festival has plenty in store for All Hallows Eve, the night of Samhain (including some special spooky events!), but what better way to start your day than with a refreshing walk through a gorgeous Scottish glen? Beginning at the Scottish Storytelling Centre at 10.30am, travel with storyteller Ken Shapley to Loanhead and enjoy a 2-mile Rosslyn Glen Walk, discovering the weird and wonderful moods of the glen, with its extraordinary chapel and castle, as you stroll through it.
Sunday 2 November, Canongate: The Glorious Half Mile to Holyrood
Discover the stories of Edinburgh’s historic Canongate at free events in the Museum of Edinburgh, Canongate Kirk, the People’s Story Museum, Acheson House, and the Scottish Parliament. Walk along the part of the Royal Mile that inspired Sir Walter Scott’s Chronicles of the Canongate and Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. You could even visit the final resting place of Edinburgh’s beloved makar, Robert Fergusson, at the Canongate Kirk.
First World War centenary and Waverley’s bi-centenary
2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and the 200 year anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s hugely popular novel, Waverley. To celebrate, the festival is running various events focussing on these themes throughout the 10 days. Learn about WWI at Near not Far – World War One’s Divergent Voices held on Sunday 2 November or join Andy Cannon as he follows in Sir Walter Scott’s footsteps by telling the story of Scotland in Tales of a Grandson on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October.
Festival exhibition, Richard Demarco’s Road to Meikle Seggie
As well as booking tickets for the festival’s many storytelling events, make sure to check out its special exhibition, Richard Demarco’s Road to Meikle Seggie, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre from 10am – 6pm and before evening events. It is 40 years since Demarco embarked on a series of journeys, starting in Edinburgh and spanning out across Europe to Italy, capturing the environment’s townscapes and landscapes along the way. Marvel at the rich textures and atmospheric colours Demarco uses to evoke Edinburgh’s streets, skylines and wild spaces in this wonderful exhibition.
To round off your time at the festival make sure to pop along to an Open Hearth live storytelling evening, taking place at 8pm most nights. Gather around the glowing fire as darkness descends and listen as the festival’s talented storytellers and musicians bring their tales to life.
If you can’t make it along to Edinburgh during the festival be sure to check out the Festival on Tour section of the programme. From Thursday 23 October – 1 November many of the world’s most acclaimed storytellers will bring their tales to audiences in Orkney, Glasgow, Perthshire, Fife, Dundee, Aberdeen, Argyll & The Isles and Stirlingshire.
Have a look at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival programme, plan your trip today and let some of the world’s best storytellers fire your imagination this autumn. You’ll also find more information on Sir Walter Scott, as well as a whole host of other great writers, in our literature section.