"As Stanley said tae me, whin ye're tellin folk a story, ye're really takin thaim oan a journey. At times Ah like tae lead folk up the gairden path as weel."
"Stories thrill, lift life out of the mundane, help us better understand and appreciate ourselves and others. Stories give us back our imagination and sense of fun. Stories make the world go round."
Over the years James has collected over 400 stories, meaning that he can cater for most occasions, including Halloween, Christmas, Burns' Night, April Fools' Day, and celebrating the passing seasons. He has Scottish folk tales, stories of auld Edinburgh, Arthurian tales, shaggy dog stories, parables, and stories from all over the world, and even beyond, with Moon-Landing stories. He frequently tells these wonderful stories in the guid Scots tongue of his upbringing. He is comfortable telling to all ages, to both intimate and large audiences. He also loves inspiring people's creativity and imagination in his storytelling and writing workshops. He is also available for story walking tours of auld Edinburgh.
Though born in Edinburgh James grew up in Jedburgh [or Jethart as the locals refer to it] in the Scottish Borders. He would listen enthralled at the family meal table to his father telling stories of local worthies.
"Ma fither hud ye hingin oan heez ivverie word, a maister o timin, espaicially the pause afore the punch-line. Ye'd be wonderin, whit is it, whit is it, even tho ye'd heard the story hunners o times afore. Then hae'd pounce lik a cat, an ye'd somehow hiv tae hear it in delayed reaction, in the echo o yer immediate maimrie."
James now lives in the shadow of Arthur's Seat, having moved to Edinburgh in 1982. As well as being hugely influenced by his father James was a student and great friend of the traveller storyteller Stanley Robertson, gathering many of his stories and wisdom in the process.
James has been a professional storyteller since 2002. In that time he has been invited to tell stories at weddings, birthdays, holiday camps, schools, nursing homes, theatres and storytelling festivals, from Edinburgh to Aberdeenshire, and from Ayr to Eyemouth. In 2006, through a grant from the Scottish Arts Council, he collected over 60 stories about Jedburgh and its characters. He was also funded by the SAC to attend the week long Stories For Health, in 2010.
As a stand-up comedian, James made his debut at the 2010 Glasgow Comedy Festival and at The Stand Comedy Club, in Edinburgh in the same year.
James is included in the Scottish Book Trust Author Database. He has had several books of poems published and his book, 'Unco case o Dr Jekyll an Mr Hyde,' the Scots translation of the graphic novel was published in February 2008. In 2009 he completed a Scots translation of Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Lost World,' and is currently seeking a publisher for it.
See James on You Tube. Type 'James Spence the hitcher' or 'James Spence the wandering piper' or contact him for links to his latest story films.
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Everyone is a storyteller! Find out how you can learn a few tales to share with friends or how you can become a professional.