Edinburgh’s storytellers live on location introduce key characters and unique tales from the city’s popular history.
No booking required, just discover the places, times and themes below, and then come along on the day to enjoy short performances in situ.
Specially commissioned for TradFest in the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
Sat 29 Apr: Calton Hill
1pm – 3.30pm | Meet at the National Monument
Meet a handmaiden to the May Queen, a guard of the Green Man, John Commonweal, and all the many people who have assembled and performed through the centuries on the People’s Hill. Activities radiating out from the National Monument, in association with the Beltane Community Open Day.
Sun 30 Apr: Leith Shore & Kirkgate
1pm, 2pm & 3pm | Meet at Trinity House
Meet a host of nautical heroes and rogues with tales from the gossipy fishwife amidst songs and net making. Discover Long John Silver and the Leith pirates, master mariner Hay and John the powder monkey, who was the youngest person to fight at Trafalgar.
Mon 1 May: Royal Mile – Canongate
1pm, 2pm & 3pm | Meet at Museum of Edinburgh
Meet the Gaberlunzie Man, as the wandering storyteller introduces the lives of Canongate folk in times gone by.
Mon 1 May: Royal Botanic Gardens
1pm, 2pm & 3pm | Meet at Botanic Cottage
Meet the Beltane Bard as he shares the lore of Scotland’s native plants and trees, from the times when everyone had to look to natural cures and healing.
Tue 2 May: New Town – Charlotte Square & George Street
1pm, 1.30pm,2pm, 2.30pm & 3pm | Meet at Georgian House, Charlotte Square
Meet a New Town burglar, Scotland’s first children’s author Catherine Sinclair and Sir Walter Scott, as they all stroll along about their own business.
Tue 2 May: Edinburgh Castle Esplanade
1pm | Meet at Celtic Cross on Northern side of Castle Esplanade
Meet Svend, the Norse runemaster and storyteller as he introduces the fascinating journey of an ancient, 1000 year old runestone. With a walk to Prince’s Street Gardens (with some steep paths) to look at the stone and solve the mystery of the written runes, Svend will unveil the tail of the Swedish runestone tradition.
Wed 3 May: Royal Mile – Makars’ Court & Lawnmarket
1pm, 2pm, 2.30pm & 3pm | Meet at The Writer’s Museum
Meet Jekyll and Hyde, William McGonagall and Robinson Crusoe’s creator Daniel Defoe, amidst a host of Edinburgh’s literary ghosts.
Thu 4 May: Royal Mile – Castlehill
1pm, 2pm & 3pm | Meet at Scots Whisky Heritage Centre
Meet Dr Guthrie’s ragged school girls, the executed witches of Edinburgh and enjoy Susie McIver’s cookery class on essential Scottish ingredients.
Fri 5 May: Grassmarket
1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm | Meet at Covenanters' Monument, Victoria Street
Meet the legendary street performers – Italian, Romany and other guises – Jeanie Deans, Edinburgh’s premier hero, and Half-Hingit Maggie.
Sat 6 May: Royal Mile – Netherbow
1pm, 2pm & 3pm | Meet at John Knox House
Meet Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John, the Abbot of Unreason and all the May Day revellers past and present. Be quick before they get banned and barred once more at the Netherbow Port!
Sun 7 May: Royal Mile – Tron Kirk
1pm, 2pm & 3pm | Meet at the Tron Kirk
Meet Coconut Tam, Monkey Mary, and all the street bards and penny gaffs of old, in a special gala performance for TradFest.
From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to myths, tales and legends, the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s fascinating past, greatest figures, attractions, icons and hidden gems.