10 Years of the Scottish Storytelling Centre: Bea Ferguson

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and to celebrate, we’ve collected stories and memories about the venue from some of those who know it best. First up, Bea Ferguson, Chair of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, reflects on how the Centre came to be and its development over the past decade.

My initial reaction to the invitation to the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s 10th birthday celebration was that it was a mistake. 10 years – it can’t possibly be! But of course it is, and how the years have flown. 

I have been in on the whole development of storytelling on the Royal Mile since its beginnings in the historic Netherbow Theatre. That building had a wonderful charm and intimacy and was integral in the beginnings of the storytelling revival; but it soon became apparent that more resources were needed to service the growth and interest in storytelling which was steadily building.  The great miracle is that we now have such a wonderful and iconic centre which has grown and flourished into the busy, bustling, wonderful resource for traditional arts in Scotland which we see today.

My very early memories are of being involved in the overall concept and design of the building. Several storytellers met with architect Malcolm Fraser and were given a tour of the Scottish Poetry Library and Dance Base, which were also his designs. We were then asked to brainstorm ideas for the Centre. Not only were our ideas listened to, but many of them were incorporated into the final plans – the Story Wall and Bothy being two examples. 

It was not an easy time while the building work was done and storytelling was farmed out to other buildings in the capital, but it was really exciting. The culmination was the opening party in June 2006, and what a celebration it was! I think we were all amazed at what had been achieved. Since then the Scottish Storytelling Centre has grown into a major resource, not just for Edinburgh, but for the whole of Scotland and has become a home for storytelling, music and dance. Not bad for 10 years. 

Storytelling Centre Plans by Malcolm Fraser

Do you have a memory of the Scottish Storytelling Centre you’d like to share? Email, or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.