SPOTLIGHT ON Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2011
The 2011 Festival theme - An Island Odyssey: Scotland and Old Europe - centres around the epic Homer poem: The Odyssey, and looks to explore Scottish and Mediterranean storytelling culture as well as helping to celebrate the Year of Scotland’s Islands initiative.
‘The 2011 International Storytelling Festival is bigger and more creative than ever. With events taking place in most of Scotland’s cities and across our islands, it is a fantastic celebration of our unique culture and natural environment. Bringing together song, music and dance alongside storytelling, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.’ – Fiona Hyslop, Culture Secretary
The Festival opens on the 21 Oct in Edinburgh with A Thousand Island Welcomes where Storytellers David Campbell, Audrey Parks and Lea Taylor will treat the audience to stories themed around Scotland’s islands accompanied by music from Hamish Moore and Katie Harrigan.
An innovative series of free Meet the Storyteller events at the Storytelling Centre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile will showcase a different storyteller each night as they take it in turns to share an episode of the Odyssey. This will culminate on the Festival’s final weekend (29 Oct) with a myriad of storytellers and musicians from across Europe taking part in an unprecedented retelling of the complete poem in two parts, The Wanderings of Odysseus and The Return of Odysseus.
Other events to look out for in Edinburgh during the Festival include: the Magic Carpet series for children at the recently refurbished National Museum of Scotland; Scot’s Makar Liz Lochhead exploring myths at the Scottish Poetry Library (24 Oct); and Hosting the Spirits (31 Oct), which closes the Festival by celebrating the ancient Celtic Festival of Samhainn in the gothic surroundings of the Hub on Halloween.
The Festival on Tour strand of the programme is coordinated by regional storytelling teams with the support of the Storytelling Festival. It offers a fantastic opportunity for audiences to experience in-situ storytelling across the country and aims to highlight the close links stories have with local tradition, landscape and history.
Glasgow, Dundee & Aberdeen are all hosting events in the programme and - to tie in with the Year of Scotland’s Islands - events in Skye, Lewis, Harris, Benbecula, Barra, Orkney, Shetland, Fair Isle, Mull, Iona, Bute and the Cumbraes will enable the Storytelling Festival to reach more people than ever before.
Look out for Islands Nights, a special series of evenings that pair some of Scotland’s islands with counterparts in the Mediterranean and promises to celebrate stories and music from both cultures. The intriguing pairings feature among others: Orkney & Crete; Shetland & Corsica; Iona & Ithaca; and Skye & Sardinia.
Some of the islands have also organised their own mini-festivals in coordination with the Storytelling Centre and these include the Mull & Iona Storyfest (24 – 28 Oct); and Orkney Storytelling Festival (27 – 30 Oct) . The Faclan: Hebridean Book Festival (27 - 29 Oct) also features a storytelling strand.
A full festival programme can be downloaded from the Scottish International Storytelling Festival website. Tickets can be booked online or by calling +44 (0)131 556 9579.
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