This World Storytelling Day, 20 March 2022, SISF celebrates the traditional art of oral storytelling with the release of 11 world-class storytelling performances, available to watch on demand for a limited period. Audiences can purchase an all-access pass from 7 March 2022 for the launch on Sun 20 March 2022, including fully BSL interpreted versions.
In 2021 SISF extended an open invitation to storytellers, based or working in Scotland, to join the festival’s creative process by submitting a proposal on the theme of Imagine. The result is a series of new works developed by storytellers and musicians from Scotland and beyond, supported by the Scottish Government Festival Expo Fund. Audiences are asked to imagine something different. To imagine pasts, futures, or a timeless other. Festival visitors will be invited to dip into dreams and desires, old and new, lost worlds and worlds still to become.
Highlights in the Imagine programme include:
- From Floor Sweeper to Climate Pioneer tells the little-known story of James Croll the Scottish janitor born into poverty and dogged by ill health who became the self-taught father of climate science. Using storytelling, props, film animation and historical interpretation, storyteller Nicola Wright will present Croll’s theories – which inform today`s study of climate change – and tell the story of his remarkable life to a family audience.
- Mohan: A Partition Story is a moving, visceral and emotive storytelling performance by Niall Moorjani, which retells their Grampa’s experiences of the Partitioning of India. With first-person telling from ‘Mohan’s’ perspective, the story is interwoven with fascinating and, at times, haunting historical insight. An evocative and thought-provoking evening of oral storytelling, with accompanying live music.
- In Oracles, Millennial woman, Sarah Grant, struggles to live up the legacy of her Grandmother, the “Oracle of Glasgow”: she who sees all, hears all, tells all. As a modern storyteller, Sarah tries (and fails) to translate traditional storytelling to see how it might work in places such as the family WhatsApp group chat, on TikTok, marketing adverts and many many more. How can the lessons learned at our ancestors’ knees survive in the digital world? Does the legacy of women passing down stories end with the current generation? Oracles is a story about family, legacy, womanhood and traditional storytelling, grounded in a mix of traditional storytelling and spoken word.
- In Ladies Who Like it, storytellers Marie Louise Cochrane and Heidi Docherty imagine a world where women could tell and hear each other’s joyful, life- affirming stories about sexuality, shared with warmth, compassion and knowing laughter. With musical accompaniment and original songs from Suzanne Fivey they will host an evening of humorous, inspiring and informative contemporary collected tales about sex, presented for the wellbeing and inspiration of other women, and for those who care about them.
- Legendary conservationist John Muir is celebrated in a new show by Richard Medrington and Rick Conte from The Man Who Planted Trees and storyteller Andy Cannon. They invite us to follow Muir from a window ledge in Dunbar to the brink of a crevasse in Alaska to find out what connects this conservation pioneer, a remarkable dog and an indigenous tribe clinging on to their culture and their land.
- In Wolf Girl Storyteller Daiva Ivanauskaitė and singer Agnė Čepaitytė present the true story of Ingrid Ramm from Königsberg, a city that no longer exists. After WWII thousands of orphans from East Prussia travelled to Lithuania in search of food and shelter. These children are known as Wolfskinder. Ingrid Ramm was one of them, a lonely young refugee who fought for survival with the help of imagination, determination and luck. Daiva’s family opened their doors to the Wolf Girl. This storytelling performance combines fragile memories, fantastic tales and classical German songs – the ones Ingrid’s mother used to sing.
The above is just a small selection of the shows that are included in the ‘Imagine Online’ series, which will be available online this spring as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.
Donald Smith, Director of TRACS said:
‘Stories and songs are vital for human survival. They carry our emotions, memories and values. They bind us together as families, communities and a nation, especially through tough times. On World Storytelling Day, we are proud to showcase the variety of storytelling talent that Scotland has to offer.
Our series of festival commissions invite us to imagine different pasts, futures, or timeless others, to challenge what we know and create the images of what we are yet to discover.’
The festival celebrates and supports a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, gender diversity and abilities all underpinned by creative collaboration that is integral to the traditional arts.
SISF Associate Director Daniel Abercrombie explains:
‘The Imagine performances were researched and developed with a lot of love and care over many months, so it was important to make these available to audiences who were unable to see the initial live shows. These online versions offer the chance to enjoy these stories regardless of where you are in the world.
Thanks to some additional funding we were also able to increase the scale of our digital production and were delighted to work with a team of incredible BSL interpreters to ensure the Imagine performances are accessible to d/Deaf audiences, which is an important step in making our festival more inclusive.’
The ticket pass for ‘Imagine Online’ goes on sale 7 March 2022, with performances available to watch on demand from 20 March 2022. SISF will return in the autumn from 14-31 October 2022, showcasing both live and online events exploring ‘Scotland’s Stories’.