The one and only Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is coming back to Edinburgh this October with the brand new theme Keep It Lit, bringing the art of telling stories to one place. With over 240 events overall and 145 free events, the festival is bringing back the stories forgotten, with the hopes to help ease the difficult year. SISF will be opening its doors on October 14 and last until Halloween, October 31.
The festival opens on Friday, 14 October with its Opening Concert: Speak Out the Other; a blend of storytelling and music navigating the belonging, becoming, and ‘otherness’ of queer identities that pervade Scottish myth. The concert will be performed by the Young Edinburgh Storytellers (YES), Mark Borthwick, Ailsa Dixon, and David Hughes fighting for their freedom from the fictional Fey court, where the audience will decide their fate.
The events will transport festival-goers to a myriad of worlds, cultures and countries, showcasing the true power of storytelling. Guests can deepen their understanding and passion for Scottish culture and nature through events like Scotia Botanica: Workshops and Seed Stories. On Saturday 22 & Thursday 27 Oct, the event will reflect on Scotland’s evolving culture to revalue natural habitats and explore how we adapt to climate change and recognise diversity.
Equally, an ambitious vent series Map of Stories further celebrates language, landscape and identities of Scotland and beyond. The events will run for four weeks between October 15 and November 6, taking audiences on a journey across Dumfries & Galloway, the North East, Perth & Kinross, the Outer Hebrides, and Orkney respectively. The events series will explore the distinctive stories, memories and folklore arising from that particular community and landscape.
As part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival’s Tales, Tongues and Trails strand will be bringing some international storytellers to help connect various cultures. Hungarian storytellers Lily Asch and Csenge Virág Zalka connect continents and traditions in Lost Stories (Oct 18); tracing the movement between tradition and transformation, and how such stories are still active through who we are today.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival Director, Donald Smith said: “This is the biggest Storytelling Festival since it began in 1989. It is our widest reach culturally, socially and geographically, marking Scotland’s Year of Stories. We are responding to the cost of living crisis with 145 free events, reducing ticket prices, offering a uniquely generous Festival Pass and keeping a specially commissioned digital programme to provide worldwide reach for those who cannot or choose not to travel. Everyone is welcome at our hearthside.”
The wide range of events will also include cosy evening sessions with storytellers and musicians at Netherbow Theatre. And all around Edinburgh, examining our landscape and the climate emergency, rekindling lost myths and celebrating women’s position in Scotland’s oral storytelling tradition.
If this sounds like the festival for you, you can get your tickets here.