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About the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

'What a wonderful Festival this year! Listening to so many extraordinary people, meeting and talking to them before or after an event, getting new ideas, feeling the warm atmosphere at the Centre due also to the welcoming staff, longing to be back next year!' (Adrienne, Switzerland)

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is a celebration of live storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity, bringing together a large number of Scottish and international storytellers and musicians.

It takes place in October each year, as the seasons change with long nights drawing families and friends around the hearth, inspired by the Scottish ceilidh tradition and its sense of togetherness - a community gathering full of tales, anecdotes, music, songs and ballads.

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The Festival takes place in and around Edinburgh. The main venue is the Netherbow Theatre at the Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile, the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. Partner venues include the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Dovecot Studios, the National Library of Scotland and many other cultural organisations in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.

The programme is structured in a pattern of diverse events including evening storytelling events for adults, family and children events, partner venue events, workshops, talks & lectures, exhibitions, networking and professional development events. The programme also includes the popular ‘Festival on Tour’ stand, bringing visiting international storytellers and their stories to Scottish regions and islands.

Storytelling is not a form of theatre. Audiences expect to be put in a relaxed frame of mind and to enjoy a blend of story and music. The imagination of the audience is central to the performance and is what creates the true storytelling experience. Although each event has a structure, there will always be an informal and improvised element to the performance, which is the beauty of live storytelling events, echoing the old Traveller proverb that "a story is told eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart".

Festival Facts:

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival has been running since 1989 – 2018 will be the 30th Festival.

The first Festival welcomed 700 attendees, compared to 2013 when over 23,000 took part in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival throughout Scotland and the numbers connitune to rise.

Storytellers David Campbell and Seoras Macpherson have performed in every Storytelling Festival since its conception.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is proud to be part of Festivals Edinburgh.

Building on a culture of collaborative working, the Directors of Edinburgh’s leading Festivals came together in 2007 to formally establish Festivals Edinburgh with a mission to support Edinburgh’s Festivals in sustaining and developing their position as the world’s leading festival city through the development and delivery of collaborative projects and initiatives which support growth, product development, leadership and audiences acting on behalf of and representing the collective strengths of Edinburgh. 

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