The Scottish International Storytelling Festival’s (13-29 Oct) new podcast series Another Story is the festival’s first ever podcast series. It includes six insightful and entertaining episodes featuring some of this year’s festival performers telling their favourite stories, and discussing this year’s festival theme ‘Right To Be Human’ chosen to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hosted by the festival’s Associate Director Daniel Abercrombie, Episode One opens with two hugely experienced storytellers, Ruth Kirkpatrick from the North East of Scotland (a well respected Tradition Bearer), and British Indian storyteller Peter Chand who is one of Europe’s most renowned storytellers and is in constant demand for his colourful tales from the Punjab. Both Ruth and Peter will perform together with double bassist Tom Lyne in Shadow Walking (Sat 21 Oct) where they will unapologetically tell stories to audiences that may be uncomfortable or have darker themes. This collection of stories will be challenging for them to tell, and also for the audience to hear, and in this episode they read from a few of these stories. They also discuss compromise and whether through changing stories to suit an audience, you lose that story’s integrity, and some of its beauty. And, whether through deciding not to tell certain stories, you are censoring your audience and following your own political or personal agenda, because everyone hears stories differently. They also question whether it is arrogant to think that as a storyteller, you can control that narrative and ask, more importantly, if stories don’t get told, what will happen to them?
Episode Two discusses migration and sanctuary with storytellers Anna Conomos-Wedlock, and Gauri Raje. Gauri will open this year’s festival with Tales of Exile and Sanctuary (Fri 13 Oct) which she developed with Seth Townsend when she was working at a detention centre for asylum seekers in Oxford in 2015. The stories are mainly from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia which were the nationalities of most of the people being detained there at this time. Many of the stories carry the spirit of what it means to be an asylum seeker, and others reflect Gauri’s own migration journey.
Anna Conomos-Wedlock will bring her show The Promise (Fri 27 Oct) to this year’s festival which 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. They are surrounded by war and destruction and the tale is told through the innocent eyes of a child which makes it ever more impactful. During the episode Anna and Gauri also discuss belonging and being a stranger in both your new land and your homeland when you return, and touch on the need for migrants to adapt and grow in a place, and what ‘hospitality’ actually means.
Episode Three provides a platform for two new generation storytellers Ailsa Dixon and Ffion Phillips who take inspiration not only from the tradition, but from their own life experiences when telling stories. Alisa is a traditional storyteller and musician who specialises in Scottish stories, often from her roots in Aberdeenshire and Orkney. She has an interest in narratives with feminist and environmentalist themes, as well as international myths, legends and wonder tales. Ffion Phillips is a storyteller based in Wales who started telling stories from the age of eight and loves sharing and reimagining Welsh tales. Both young storytellers discuss how they started out on the path to storytelling and share some of their favourite tales. During the festival Ailsa Dixon will join Sarah Wedderburn-Ogilvy at School of Storycraft (16-18 Oct) for young aspiring storytellers to give storytelling a try, and will also perform with musician Mairi McKeown in St Andrews (14 Oct) in Bennachie Speaks about the past, present and future of this great Aberdeenshire mountain.
In Episode Four we hear from Alice Fernbank whose new work Odin’s Eye and the Art of Seeing (Sat 21 Oct) will premiere at this year’s festival, and Svend-Erik Engh originally from Denmark who is also performing in a new piece Once Upon a Time There Was a War (Sat 28 Oct). Svend will perform this new work alongside musician Mairi Campbell and Danish artist Tea Bendix. Both events are part of this year’s Right To Be Human Series and will also tour as part of the festival’s Go Local programme to Oban (Odin’s Eye 14 Nov) and Mull (Once Upon a.. 13 Nov). In this podcast Alice and Svend share their love of the old myths and stories, and Alice gives a personal insight into her inspiration for choosing Odin’s Eye for her piece, based on her recent experience of being diagnosed with a tumour at the back of her left eye.
Episode Five discusses how storytelling can reach neuro diverse adults and young people with Ailie Finlay and Claire McNicol. Ailie has been developing a new multisensory piece called Town Mouse and Country Mouse (Sat 14 Oct) alongside artist Kate Lieper for this year’s festival, and Claire, based in Edinburgh, but originally from County Antrim, will be performing rhymes, music, dance and stories for younger children alongside musician Gica Loening in Makin a Brew (Mon 16 Oct). Claire will also feature as part of a festival special of Guid Crack (Fri 27 Oct) where audiences can take the floor and share a tale of their own at the Waverley Bar in Edinburgh. In this podcast they share stories, songs and some beautiful moments from their work with young people with additional needs.
Our final episode Episode Six, will be recorded live during the first of our Open Hearth sessions (Fri 13 Oct) and will feature storytellers Douglas Mackay, Fiona Herbert, and Tim Porteus accompanied by Rachel Newton (harp). Hosted by Daniel Abercrombie at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, this promises to be a lively discussion, fuelled by some amazing storytellers sharing their passion and tales, and will be available online from Tue 17 October.
The music featured in the podcasts is from a new track called Bouncing by Mairi Campbell and David Gray.
This year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival (13-29 October) celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a packed programme of stories themed around our Right To Be Human including tales of war, gender inequality, censorship; ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious prejudices; and other threats and challenges on our human rights as a global nation. Tickets to each live event costs a maximum of £10, with family events costing just £5 per ticket. For those planning on attending multiple events, the Festival Pass 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.
To purchase tickets and browse the full programme, visit sisf.org.uk.
A PDF version of the full programme is here.