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Scottish International Storytelling Festival: Growing Stories for their 30th year

Published: 02 Oct 2018

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival will open in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle on Thursday 18 October at 7.30pm, heralding a wave of events across Scotland and an intensive programme in the capital city from Friday 19 October.

The 2018 Festival looks to the future of storytelling in Scotland, nurturing local roots, reaching out globally, and celebrating Celtic traditions that are shared by Scotland and Ireland.

Taking place each year as the dark nights close in, reflecting how communities would gather to entertain each other as the days got shorter and nights grew longer, the Festival ensures traditions are steeped in events for young and old. Discover the magic of tradition radiating today with 66 events in Edinburgh and 27 throughout Scotland, from conferences to taster sessions, walking tours to informal family gatherings.

In addition, the Festival’s Local Campaign will support 100 events in schools and community centres across the country, enriching local neighbourhoods through storytelling.

Blending our rich Celtic roots with contemporary narratives, this year’s edition of the festival welcomes an excellent line-up of storytellers from across the world- Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Festival on Tour events will be held throughout Scotland, from Orkney to Dumfries & Galloway, Bute to Fife. 96 Scottish storytellers will have their talent on display, along with 18 global guests from Ireland, France, Wales, Iceland, India, Belgium, Jordan and Sierra Leone.

With the support of the Scottish Government’s Festival Expo Fund, SISF will showcase Celtic riches – passed on through story, song and music. The rise of Fionn, the mysterious passion of Sabha, the birth of Ossian as a deer-child, the loves of Diarmaid, the tragic hunting of the Boar that leads to his death, the departure of Ossian, and finally his return from the land of the ever living offer a shared Celtic epic, that long predates James MacPherson’s romantic poems.

SISF aims to reclaim these traditions for Scottish culture, and simultaneously emphasise our solidarity with Ireland as Brexit threatens the country’s hard-won peace process.

Among the Irish visitors this year are The Armagh Rhymers, the legendary Eddie Lenihan from Co. Clare, and singer, storyteller, actress and songwriter Helena Byrne. Also featuring is the powerful imagery of Dara Vallely who is the featured Festival artist.

Among this year’s Festival partners are Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, Culture Ireland as part of GB18, Live Argyll, the Orkney Storytelling Festival, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, and Festivals Edinburgh. The Local Campaign is supported by the Scottish Storytelling Forum.

Strategic funding support has been received from the Scottish Government Festival Expo Fund, Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Donald Smith, SISF Director said: ‘We’re laying stronger, deeper foundations for the Storytelling Festival this year, and looking to future growth. We’re also standing alongside Ireland in a time of threat to everything that people there have achieved since the Troubles.’ ( – )

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs said: ‘The 2018 Scottish International Storytelling Festival is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the great Scottish storytelling tradition and to showcase Scotland’s talent on the global stage.

‘Blending our rich Celtic roots with contemporary narratives, this year’s edition of the festival welcomes an excellent line-up of storytellers from across the world and emphasises our links with our Irish and international friends, confirming Scotland’s global and open outlook.

‘Since its launch, the festival has continued to explore stories that shape and inform us through storytelling and music on a national and international stage. This is why the Scottish Government is providing £90,000 from our Festivals Expo Fund, ensuring new talent and creativity flourishes in Scotland and elsewhere.’