There’s still 7 days to go before this year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival’s (13-29 Oct) packed programme of over 125 events draws to a close.
In Edinburgh, and all across Scotland, in village halls, pubs, cafes, and public parks, stories connected to this year’s festival theme ‘Right To Be Human,’ are being shared by local and international storytellers, musicians, and artists, highlighting the strength of human courage and creativity, and the threats and challenges to our human rights as a global nation.
Some of the festival’s highlights still to come include performances from international Sámi storyteller Stina Fagertun and musician Øistein Hanssen. They will be sharing stories from the Arctic region with audiences in Aberfeldy, Dumfries and Glasgow (as part of the festival’s Go Local programme of events), and in Edinburgh where they will perform Northern Treasures – Tales Around the Sami Drum (Wed 25 Oct), and The Sun’s Ring (Sat 28 Oct) which takes audiences through the eight seasons of the Sámi people on a quest to find the magic ring before it is too late.
Stina Fagertun is a Sámi storyteller, actor, screenwriter and poet who comes from the fjord part of Arctic Norway and represents coastal Sámi and Kven (Finnish descendant) ancestry. She is a teller and collector of ancient stories, fairytales and legends of the Sámi and Kven tradition. During the festival she will be accompanied by musician Øistein Hanssen who has roots from Sami, Kven and Norse ancestry and has spent decades studying these different cultures’ musical backgrounds. In Northern Treasures Stina’s stories and myths will be told with accompanying music from traditional prehistoric instruments made of materials such as bone, horn, wood and hollow plant stems.
Other highlights during week 2 include:
The Promise (Fri 27 Oct) told through the eyes of a child and performed by storyteller Anna Conomos-Wedlock. This tale is inspired by a true story of two seven year-old girls living in Smyrna, one Turkish Muslim, and the other Greek Orthodox in 1923 who are surrounded by war and destruction.
Fire from the Woods (Thu 26 Oct), which explores our right to know our ancestors’ stories and how fathers are often unable to express their emotions; preferring to stay silent, and thus leaving their children to grow up without stories. Performed by storyteller Daiva Ivanauskaitė who curates Lithuania’s first storytelling festival, with music composed and performed by Gaynor Barradell. This new commission is directed by Scottish storyteller Lauren Bianchi and supported by The Village Storytelling Centre.
Arise! (Thu 26 Oct) performed by the ‘Breadagogues’ (Marie Louise Cochrane, Suzanne Houston and Andrew Whitley). A humorous and extraordinary tale of wheat’s journey through history with humans, from wild grass to commodity grain; of refinement, adulteration and redemption in the hands of ordinary folk claiming their right to healthy food. All told in a gently amusing narrative that mixes catchy songs that lampoon those who profit from our belly-aches, with invitations to take this vital food into our own hands.
The Breadagogues (Marie Louise Cochrane, Suzanne Houston and Andrew Whitley), who will perform Arise! on Thu 26 Oct
Plus for those who can’t make it along in person, week two of the festival’s online programme of workshops Global Lab (23-26 Oct) returns with daily discussion on our approach to human rights, our cultural rights, our place in nature, and empowerment of children. These sessions, led by nationally and internationally renowned guest speakers including – writer and activist Jemma Neville whose background is in human rights law and arts development; Dr Jennifer Markides Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary and Research Chair in Indigenous Youth Well-being & Education; science communicator and astrophysicist Joanna Ramasawmy; earth scientist David Hughes; and TRACS Director Steve Byrne – explore how it is often better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness in the world.
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival runs until Sunday 29 October. Tickets to each event in this year’s programme cost a maximum of £10, with family events costing just £5 per ticket. For those planning on attending multiple events, the Festival Pass (£20/£10) offers discounted tickets to many live festival events, online and at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, as well as a discount at the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s bookshop and Haggis Box Café.