Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2014
Storytellers from across the world including Germany, Portugal and New Zealand to take part
’Storytelling is an art of performance and community with elements of improvisation and live audience interaction ‘off the page’,’ says Scottish International Storytelling Festival director Donald Smith, by way of explaining how different his event is from a regular literary festival. ‘Most storytellers don’t work from scripted texts but from narrative patterns of sound, shape, form and colour in the imagination. Of course, we also love books but here we concentrate on telling the story eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart.’
Started in 1990 and now in its 25th year, the Storytelling Festival, says Smith, is designed to celebrate and bolster the craft of live storytelling – a specific type of performance reading removed from both monologue theatre and straight book reading – and interact with what he calls a global renaissance in the traditional storytelling form. Featuring storytellers from Germany, Portugal, Wales, the Canadian Pacific, Pacific Islands and New Zealand events are aimed at adults, children and families of all ages, with a festival exhibition revisiting renowned Edinburgh artist Richard Demarco’s Road to Meikle Seggie, which Smith describes as a ‘pioneering endeavour to bring traditions of place and the contemporary arts together.’
This year the theme is ‘Once Upon a Place’, and the aim is to consider ‘our intimate connection with the environment, evoking our shared and creative sense of place.’ Among the further highlights Smith selects from the programme are ‘Tales of a Grandson’, which revisits Scott’s ‘Tales of a Grandfather’ in ‘reimagining Scotland’s history as the peoples’ story rather than just Kings, Queens, empires and battles, and the site-specific ‘Storytelling for a Greener World’ series at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Various venues, Edinburgh, Fri 24 Oct to Sun 2 Nov.