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Going Global: A Warm Welcome Awaits at Scotland's Storytelling Festival

LtR: Fiona Hyslop MSP, Ruth Kirkpatrick and Donald Smith

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Europe, Culture and External Affairs officially launched the 28th Scottish International Storytelling Festival this morning from The Outlook Tower of Camera Obscura, in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Edinburgh as a Festival City, cementing Scotland's place and status as a global leader in storytelling.

Ms Hyslop was joined by Storytelling Festival Director, Donald Smith and Chair of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, Ruth Kirkpatrick who urged everyone to “join us in the magic of stories, the most human of artforms.”  

Edinburgh welcomed the world 70 years ago, and Scotland’s reputation for international welcome is celebrated this year, with the Storytelling Festival hosting a Global Gathering, thanks to EXPO funding, which sees 54 internationally invited guests join Scotland’s storytellers to showcase how the traditional art of storytelling is more vital than ever in connecting people worldwide, across cultures, places and generations.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is the world’s largest celebration of live, traditional storytelling. Taking place as the seasons change in Scotland’s stunning capital city, and reaching out across the nation, Scottish tellers merge with invited guests in celebration of oral traditions and cultural diversity, showcasing 69 events in Edinburgh and 29 events across Scotland, from Glasgow to Orkney.

Donald Smith, Storytelling Festival Director, states:

This year’s Storytelling Festival is a global first for Scotland. We are making Edinburgh the world’s storytelling capital. Storytelling connects across borders of culture, race, class, religion and politics.

“This year’s Festival shows what a connected kind of place Scotland has always been and highlights Edinburgh’s international reputation of welcome and hospitality.

The Festival events build on ten years of support from the Scottish Government Festival Expo Fund, Creative Scotland, Festivals Edinburgh and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Europe, Culture and External Affairs, states:

With 2017 being Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, this year’s International Storytelling Festival is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the great work of some our most iconic storytellers and artists. Reaching out globally, this year’s edition sees the Festival welcoming local and international talents alike to connect us to our storytelling heritage through a variety of events – from music to dance and the spoken word.

The Scottish Government is pleased to support the Festival with £120,000 through our Expo fund, ensuring new talent and creativity can continue to flourish both in Scotland and internationally.” 

During the past decade, SISF has hosted storytellers from across the continent, but this year instead of focusing on one geographical area, guest artists are coming from across the globe to be together in one place and at one time, Edinburgh, as Scotland approaches the traditional storytelling season of Hallowe’en.

Guests are flying in from Thailand, Australia, India, New Zealand, Sub-Saharan Africa, Singapore, Korea, Pakistan, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, China, Japan and Ireland to showcase the magic of storytelling. A total of 55 Scottish storytellers and artists will also take part in the festival which runs from October 20-31.

The 12-day event will cover all aspects of storytelling from its traditional roots through to contemporary approaches.

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    Photo credit: Colin Hattersley

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