My Experience at FEST ahead of Village Storytelling Festival

Emma Collins, Executive Director, The Village Storytelling Centre

I was delighted to represent Scotland, the Village Storytelling Centre and the Scottish Storytelling Forum at the Federation of European Storytellers (FEST) annual gathering.

This was held from the 21st to 24th of June in the borderlands of Ireland, with some of the conference taking place in the Republic of Ireland and a day trip to Nuala Hayes and Fest Banner 2017_Picture Liz WeirArmagh in Northern Ireland. It was wonderful to meet storytellers from so many European countries (and also Australia, Canada and the USA) and discuss many interesting aspects of our artform, from gender in storytelling to how stories can be used to achieve peace in areas of conflict. We also made a trip to Emain Macha (or Navan Fort) one of the legendary sites of the great Irish folktales and heroes.

A key announcement, which will be of interest to all storytellers in Scotland, was about funding that FEST have recently received from Creative Europe to fund an exciting and comprehensive range of cross border collaborations. They are confident that the UK’s uncertain future in the EU will not be a barrier to our participation. More details will be available on their website soon.

It was also great to be able to share news about our upcoming festival here in Glasgow. The Village Storytelling Festival will take place at the CCA in Glasgow from 4th to 8th July after a successful premiere last year.

Full programme and tickets

Village Storytelling FestivalTo give you a flavour of the festival, we look forward to welcoming exciting performances by internationally acclaimed storytellers, including The Remarkable Tale of Robert Desnos, by Daniel Morden and Clare Muireann Murphy, Lost in Blue by Debs Newbold, Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty, and Badlands: Untold Stories from Central India by Gauri Raje, along with new work from our own Daniel Serridge, Lauren Bianchi and Joanne Marr, and a special festival commission, What I Know About What my Grandfather Didn’t Know by emerging Scotland-based storyteller, Sonia Gardes.

We also have a number of compelling performances created in partnership with groups we have been working with over the course of this year, from the film A Long Line of Glitter featuring the stories and experiences of elder members of the LGBTQ community to Greater Than by Hemat Gryffe, a Women’s Aid organisation that supports women from BAME communities.

A major theme this year is including people who can’t participate in traditional oral storytelling so we feature performances by people from the D/deaf and disabled communities. All performances are BSL signed. We are also holding two symposia, which offer space for discussion, workshops and fascinating speakers. One of these further considers how storytelling can be inclusive, while the second looks at the “other” in storytelling and how traditional tales about gender, sexuality and race remain relevant in the modern world.

Let’s continue the fascinating dialogue storytelling opens up…

With thanks to the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding for supporting this festival.