SISF Logo 2013

Scottish International Storytelling Festival Launch

Uncovering Scotland’s Global Legacy: Friday 18 – Sunday 27 October 2013

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival represents the best in Scotland’s culture internationally.

The 2013 programme Once Upon a Journey, launched today (Friday 6 September) by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, is inspired by travellers, explorers, nomads, pilgrims and voyagers who have made “journey” a classic archetype of entertainment and information through the centuries.

Scottish storytellers have been commissioned, with the support of the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, to explore the legacy of David Livingstone, John Rae, Mary Slessor, Martin Martin, John Muir and St Columba. Other big traditions such as Highland Cattle Droving, seamanship in the Western Isles, pilgrimages and the wandering gaberlunzie, will also be explored, with Scottish artists including Ewan McVicar, Ruth Kirkpatrick, Marion Kenny, Daniel Allison, Claire Hewitt, Martin MacIntyre, Ian Stephen and Andy Cannon.

International guest storytellers linked with these stories are welcomed to Scotland’s capital from Newfoundland, the Cree nation, South India, Botswana, Portugal and the Sami culture of northern Scandinavia. They will present themed performances, and share with their Scottish hosts in Open Hearth evening sessions weaving song, music and story together, as in fireside tradition. Through the Storytelling Festival, Scotland truly welcomes the world to its hearth.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

The 2013 Scottish International Storytelling Festival will give us all an excellent opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s pioneering spirit, global influence and the great work of some our most historic Scots.

Guest storytellers from across the world will add to the rich variety of events on offer and give us valuable insight – through story and song – into how the selfless acts of people including David Livingstone and Mary Slessor are still relevant generations later; having shaped the proud nation we are today.

The Festival is a vital showcase of the great Scottish tradition of storytelling and that is why the Scottish Government provides support through our Expo fund, ensuring new talent and creativity flourishes in Scotland and internationally.

Guest storytellers will also fan out across Scotland as part of the Festival on Tour programme, while on Friday 25 October, Tell-a-Story Day will be marked with an abundance of local events as communities across the country are encouraged to hold their own DIY storytelling events, with lots of resources downloadable from the Scottish Storytelling Centre website.

The 2013 Festival also marks the start of an international project, Seeing Stories, which will lead into the 2014 Storytelling Festival programme. The Scottish Storytelling Forum has been awarded a grant of €162,500 under the Culture Programme of the European Union. The Storytelling Festival will be the lead partner in collaboration with Germany, Italy and Portugal, aimed at the recovery of urban and rural narratives, reflecting our sense of identity through the landscape. Landscape plays a significant role in the Festival with many outdoor events, including Natural Journeys at the Royal Botanic Gardens and a day of storytellers sharing the tales of the fascinating Calton Hill monuments.