The Storytelling Festival always takes place with the change of the seasons, with the clocks going back, the nights getting darker and the harsher weather all providing the perfect backdrop for tales of the mysterious and supernatural in celebration of All Hallow’s Eve.
Daily visits down to the Edinburgh Vaults with Mercat Tours at 4pm are guaranteed to impress and chill in equal measure, as showcased in the photos of storyteller Jack Martin as Deacon Brodie sharing scary tales with youngsters on how Edinburgh is respectable by day but the cloak of night ensure fiendish goings ons…
But on Fri 31 Oct the Festival has a range of eerily enticing events celebrating, exploring and forewarning of strange powers at work, so local and visiting thrill seekers can enjoy a good chill down their backbone though creepy tales…
Royal Mile storyteller Calum Lykan shares tales capturing the capital’s strange and gruesome history in Haunted Tales of Old Edinburgh (Museum of Edinburgh, Canongate, 2pm, free). Meanwhile stories of the north and west, passed down since ancient times, provide the basis for a workshop at the Storytelling Centre with traditional Seanachaidh (storyteller) of Glendale, George Macpherson in Exploring Celtic Traditions (2pm, £15/£12). George has a special interest in the older sagas, the supernatural and stories of the second sight.
For the whole family, Linda Williamson encounters magical, amazing creatures and transports imaginations in The Coming of the Unicorn and other Tales of Wonder (4pm, £7.50/£6). Then music, story and song combine as David Francis and Rachel Newton present yarns of the fairy folk and their mischievous encounters with humans in Meeting the Fairies (5pm, £7.50/£6). This entrancing session will explore the fairy folk who like to make your life a misery and aren’t beyond stealing your baby… but a little human courage can help you outwit the “good folk”.
‘quietly minimalist and spooky’ (Guardian on Rachel’s album Changeling)
As darkness falls, enjoy Ballads and Tales of the Supernatural (6.30pm, £7.50/£6) performed by storyteller and musician Marion Kenny and folk singer Susanna Orr Holland, providing a rare chance to hear the fantastic cannon of old and often forgotten songs on the night of Samhain.
‘A performance by Susanna Orr Holland is like a meeting of the east and the west, the rational and the intuitive, the conscious and the unconscious.‘ (Foakies)
Elsewhere, Orkney’s Tom Muir hosts a special session of Edinburgh’s regular storytelling night in Grave Tales: Festival Guid Crack (Waverley Bar, St Mary’s St, 7.30pm, by donation). Gather in the circle to hear Halloween inspired tales or even tell a tale yourself as part of the open floor, inclusive evening upstairs on one of the Canongate’s oldest pubs.
Alternatively, you can join storytellers and musicians from across Scotland, and around the world, for a special Hallowe’en Hearth (8pm, £10/£8). As the wind rustles outside the Netherbow Theatre and the shadows creep closer and closer, be swept away with spine-tingling tales and music from Jess Smith, Dawne McFarlane, Rhonna Marita, Rachel Newton and Grace Banks.
Images of Jack Martin and Youngsters in The Vaults by Rob MacDougall – www.robmcdougall.com
Image of Rachel Newton by Louis DeCarlo – www.louisdecarlo.com