Scots have a long lineage of being storytellers of the highest order, as well as always being welcoming to the world, with arms wide open to embrace cultures, learning from the diversity and experiences of others. A nation of dreamers who, to paraphrase Shakespeare, may be small but is mighty.
Taking Festival of Dreams as its theme, the SISF showcases how the power of dreams is something we all cling to, as it can lift you out of time and place, transporting you to far off lands through the simple pleasure of engaging in the transformative skill of live storytelling.
Never been to the Festival before? Always wanted to but don't know where to start?
With 72 events in Edinburgh, 41 across Scotland and even more community events being organised, there’s so much to choose from that we’ve picked the Top 5 for First Timers – isn’t it time you discovered the power of storytelling?
Fri 21, Sat 22, Sun 23, Mon 24, Tue 25, Thu 27, Fri 28, Sat 29 & Sun 30 Oct
8pm, £9 (£7.50)
The best way to dip your toe into the magic of traditional storytelling as Scottish storytellers and international guests share the stage in a smorgasbord of stories and culture – which is the perfect way to end your day.
Autumn Dream: Storytelling Day at the Garden
Sun 23 Oct
1pm, Free, All Ages
The Royal Botanic Garden comes to life with storytellers animating corners of the stunning landscape, with storytelling yurts for the youngsters and nature walks where tales are accompanied by beautiful autumn colours. Programmes are available on the day, which is free!
Wed 26 Oct
8pm, £11 (£9)
The fantastic Shonaleigh was a stand-out at last year’s SISF with The Ruby Tree, and this evening of tales amidst a multi-cultural buffet will tantalise ears, eyes and taste buds. Accompanied with music by Mohammed Nafea, Marion Kenny and Florian Schmidinger.
Dreams and Nightmares
Fri 21, Sat 22, Sat 29 & Sun 30 Oct
A walking tour specially commissioned for the Storytelling Festival by the award-winning Mercat Tours, which explores the duality of Edinburgh. This tale of two cities tells of centuries of ambition and glory, the other, of riot and ruin. Characters that made this city great and those characters that revelled in its darker underbelly.
Sat 29 Oct
12pm, Free, All Ages
Enjoy a day of crafting, face painting, dancing, drumming and other fun activities, plus stories from mesmerising costumed storytellers as the Scottish Storytelling Centre gets taken over by the Beltane Fire Society, keen to share with all ages the traditions of the Celtic festival as a refreshing anecdote to the over popularised American “Trick or Treat” of Halloween.