The Burgh Blatherers by Bob Mitchell

The Burgh Blatherers is an Edinburgh based group with a relatively short but vibrant history. We started as a small group of likeminded friends coming together informally to practice and share stories in a safe and supportive environment. These mutually supportive gatherings were given a sense of focus and direction when dynamic storyteller, Calum Lykan launched a series of successful ”Open Mic” sessions upstairs at Edinburgh’s Waverley Bar, a venue with a long and continuing reputation for supporting the traditional arts. Members of the original group were quick to attend these early sessions and shortly afterwards the name “Burgh Blatherers” was first mooted and adopted.

It quickly became apparent that Burgh Blatherers seemed to meet a previously unrecognised need in an emerging storytelling community and numbers attending began to increase and by May 2016 the group had become established and was considering expanding their activities by embarking on their first public performance. The time seemed ripe to formalise their existence, adopt a constitution and open a bank account.

At this point the aims of the club were listed as: (a) to encourage and develop the skills of emergent and established storytellers. (b) to assist in organising, managing and promoting storytelling programmes and events, and (c) to co-operate with sister organisations, local authorities, community groups and local cultural, artistic and educational organisations to promote storytelling.

Membership of the group increased through word of mouth. New members brought new ideas and skills and gradually the activities of the club has expanded. We regularly promote storytelling performances throughout the year with our popular “Winter Warmer” event held annually at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on or close to December 6th having established itself as a favourite curtain raiser for the festivities that await just round the corner.

Club members continue to participate fully to the wider storytelling world by supporting and mentoring those on the Apprenticeship Scheme, representation on the Board of the Scottish Storytelling Forum and participating in Festivals and events throughout the UK. We are becoming an ever more recognisable player in the wider storytelling circle.

The unforeseen and unwanted arrival of the covid-19 virus in March 2020 brought the national lockdown and forced us to re-examine our activities and how we delivered them. Club meetings, planned performances and all face to face contact was banned for an indefinite period and the way ahead was unclear. Some members gamely embraced the whole  ”Zoom” culture with varying levels of expertise and enthusiasm while others preferred to give it a miss but it soon became clear that a whole new world of opportunities was beginning to open up. Our meetings, by necessity previously confined to those able to travel to Edinburgh, were now being accessed on Zoom by new found friends from across the globe!

Currently we meet twice monthly: by Zoom on the second Friday of the month and live in the Kilderkin pub on the fourth Tuesday. Whether live or on Zoom, Burgh Blatherers and its current membership, strive to be true to its earliest objectives of providing a safe and supportive space where stories can be told, practised and improved on and where feedback if sought can be provided in an uncritical environment.

In 2022 as a modest contribution to Scotland’s ‘Year of Stories’ we launched ‘From the Burgh and Beyond’ our first venture into publishing and now in 2024 we have embarked in an exciting collaboration with the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Together, we will host a quarterly event, ‘Story Ceilidh’ which will offer an opportunity for members, friends, passers-by and visitors to our city to enjoy an evening of stories, songs and so much more along with an option to contribute or simply just listen.

Our next session in this series is on Wednesday 3rd July at 7pm.

If you would like to become a Burgh Blatherer, to join one of our sessions, or simply seek some more information, find us on Burgh Blatherers or email us at

Bob Mitchell 2024