Winter Warmers: DIY Folk Drama & Multi-Cultural Feast for St Andrew’s Day

The home of Scotland’s stories begins its Winter Warmers season as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals in a celebration of Scottish traditions, rooted in community engagement with Play in a Day – followed by a fun Family Ceilidh – on Sat 26 Nov, plus a rich tapestry of multi-culturalism showcased in Light in the Dark, celebrating Scotland’s diversity on St. Andrew’s Day (Wed 30 Oct).

Daniel Abercrombie, Programme Manager at the Scottish Storytelling Centre states:

The traditional arts are a carrying stream, taking influence from the past and re-shaping them for a modern society. This winter, we are highlighting these traditions in a contemporary, accessible way, focussing on the rich heritage of folk drama, which whole concept is one of empowering and enabling people to get involved.

Stan ReevesFolk Drama: Play in a Day (Sat 26 Nov) will showcase the rich tapestry of folk traditions and local history in a fun theatrical journey from page to performance, with guidance from the Netherbow Mummers. Galoshin was once regularly performed in the winter months leading up to the New Year in Scotland as mummer Stan Reeves explains:

It is a natural progression for old stories to be dramatised in their telling. Thus the mummers’ tale emerges to dramatise the timeless, metaphorical story of life, death and re-birth. Scotland’s ancient Galoshin drama tells this story with a struggle between good and evil, including the resurrection of the Hero by the “magic” of the “Doctor”.  Traditionally told as the light fades into winter, this reassures folk that life will certainly reappear abundantly in the spring!

This is a fun and silly play with lots of characters and opportunity for joining in and dressing up, to however small or great an extent you wish! The day will begin with an introduction to the story, as well as to the mumming and folk drama traditions of Scotland. The whole family can then get involved in a packed morning of drama, dance, costume making and music, before performing together as a troupe in front of a live audience! See video below for a taster of what you can expect, which is from a workshop session in guising from the 2016 Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

The performance of the folk drama will kick off the Centre’s Family Ceilidh (Sat 26 Nov) in the afternoon (2.30pm), which is a brilliant introduction to sociable dancing with easier circles for the littler ones. Expect well-known Scottish dances and songs plus a whole host of fun, with live music and a caller to guide you through the numbers.

On St Andrew’s Day itself, we celebrate that Scotland has been shaped by millennia of global influence and present an evening of stories, music and dance reflecting Scotland’s multi-culturalism at Light in the Dark (Wed 30 Nov). The event has drawn together storytellers and musicians from a range of cultural backgrounds, to celebrate diversity within Scotland amidst collaborations enriching folk art, which will be celebrated and discussed earlier in the day as part of the BEMIS/TRACS collaborated Conference exploring cultural heritage and local creativity as a pathway to active citizenship.

Light in the Dark Performers

The evening showcases Dance Ihayami, Scotland’s classical Indian dance company, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Marion Kenny for an unforgettable spectacle of evocative rhythms, technical precision and striking geometry of Bharatanatyam, while female choir collective Davno showcase the vocal traditions of Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, plus storyteller James Spence shares a Scots version of Thomas Hardy’s The Three Strangers.

Folk Drama: Play in a Day
Sat 26 Nov, 10.30am (4hrs), £5
Family Ceilidh
Sat 26 Nov, 2.30pm (2hrs), £5
Light in the Dark
Wed 30 Nov, 7.30pm (2hrs), £8 (£6)

There will be a Folk Drama: Play in a Day and a Family Ceilidh on Fri 30 Dec & Sat 21 Jan also, exploring midwinter tales and Tam O’Shanter!