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What’s on: Growing Stories at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

ByMaisy Hallam

Oct 22, 2018
FREE PICTURE: Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2018 Launch, Thurs 04/10/2018: The Scottish International Storytelling Festival launches with a “Growing Stories” theme for 2018 reflecting the nurturing of storytelling - just like gardens they can blossom and be enjoyed by everyone. “Growing Stories” also echoes the focus on Celtic stories between Scotland and Ireland, embracing the tales of Giants from myths that tell us the story of how our landscape was created. Launched at Dr Neil's Garden, Duddingston Village, Edinburgh, with Fiona Hyslop (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs) and professional storytellers. Storyteller Daniel Allison is pictured with his didgeridoo, which he uses as part of his performances, and the festival’s national storytelling coordinator Miriam Morris. The first chapter opens on Friday 19th October (2018) and continues until 31st October, see: www.sisf.org.uk More information from: Lindsay Corr, Scottish International Storytelling Festival / Tracs Scotland marketing and communications manager - lindsay@scottishstorytellingcentre.com - 0131 652 3272 direct. Photography for Scottish International Storytelling Festival / Tracs Scotland from: Colin Hattersley Photography - www.colinhattersley.com - cphattersley@gmail.com - 07974 957 388.**FREE Picture - FIRST USE ONLY** - within 30 days of origination of photography; all other publications to be paid for - please contact photographer for details.

We all know the city of Edinburgh is world-renowned as a hub for cultural arts. In August, festival-goers flock to Scotland’s capital to soak up everything the Festival Fringe has to offer. What we tend to forget, however, is that the arrival of autumn doesn’t mark the end of our city’s celebration of culture: there’s always more to see, to do, to experience.

This October will see the 30th anniversary of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, which will bring a spirited and exciting series of events across Scotland, focused particularly in Edinburgh. The Festival, which will take place between the 19th and the 31st, will showcase some of Scotland’s most valued storytellers alongside guest raconteurs from far and wide. Following a theme of Growing Stories, get ready to be immersed in a whirlwind of storytelling, from workshops helping to develop your personal storytelling skills to a marathon 12-hour storytelling session.

For just shy of a fortnight, stories both traditional and modern will abound across the country, not only working to preserve Scotland’s traditional cultural heritage but to build new relationships between a variety of storytellers and listeners through one of the longest-established cultural arts. Indeed, much of the programme for the Festival is dedicated to the exploration of the epic Gaelic sagas, the works of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, Diarmaid, Grainnhe and Ossian, highlighting not only Scotland’s oral traditions but also its ancient ties with Ireland. Scottish or otherwise, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover more about the historical conventions that helped shape the city of Edinburgh.

What does it mean to be Celtic? What does Gaelic sound like? Who was The Bard, anyway? In a society ever far-removed from its roots, these are the questions we should be asking ourselves. We all live and study in Scotland, and yet so much of its historic culture is invisible to us. The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the traditions of Celtic culture. And as if you needed an excuse to witness the incredible fire performance of Beltane Fire Society on Calton Hill, the Festival culminates on Halloween night with their annual Samhuinn Fire Festival, a Celtic celebration of the transition from summer to winter.

The Student will be covering events from the Scottish International Storytelling Festival over the coming two weeks. For more information, please visit www.sisf.org.uk

Image: Colin Hattersley.

By Maisy Hallam

By day, Maisy is Literature Editor for The Student and a fourth-year student of Linguistics and English Language at The University of Edinburgh. By night, she is an environmental activist and avid crime fiction reader. Follow her on her slowly developing Twitter, @lostinamaiz.

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