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How to become a Storyteller

Everyone is a storyteller! Some people choose to develop their storytelling skills in particular situations or for special reasons and become professional storytellers, but we also encourage, support and facilitate storytelling in families, communities, places of learning and natural environments.

Scotland is home to a wonderfully rich and diverse network of storytellers with varied repertoires and styles. Many of them connect their love of stories with their upbringing or childhood influences, but what unites them all is a commitment over time to the practice of their art. The work of the storyteller ranges from sharing tales as entertainment, to leading storytelling projects with vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers and those with special needs.

While some of Scotland's storytellers have been shaped by one or more storytelling traditions, most acknowledge a debt to Gaelic storytelling, storytelling in Scots, or to the traditions of the Scottish Travellers.

We recognise and honour several special kinds of storyteller:

  • Tradition Bearers - those who have preserved and are passing on older traditions of stories. They are our Honorary Founders.
  • Community Storytellers - those who share stories in their communities or through their work contributing to human well-being and quality of life.
  • Professional Storytellers - those who wish to travel across Scotland and exercise their storytelling craft as a paid profession.

We ask all these kinds of storyteller to become members of the Scottish Storytelling Forum and to participate in mutual support, collaboration and growth.

How do I learn the basics of storytelling?

There isn't a right or wrong way to learn storytelling, just as there isn't a right or wrong way to be a stroryteller! If you are looking for inspiration you might want to have a look at our resources page where you can find some stories and tips on telling. Our online shop boasts several storytelling books in case you want to extend your repertoire.

Naturally stories are mainly passed on orally, so we recommend that you join a storytelling club near you and listen to stories being shared. Clubs are also a wondeful and supporting platform for anyone to try out their storytelling skills. You can also have a look at our courses and workshops programme for inspiration. We regularly run Starting with Stories and Further with Storytelling workshops that aim to teach participants the basics of the art.

How do I become a Directory storyteller?

If you are a professional storyteller and would like to apply to become a member of our National Directory, the following criteria will apply.

1. A storyteller should - by his or her travel, research or apprenticeship to recognised storytellers - be well acquainted with one or more oral traditions and have gathered, by these means, a starter repertoire of stories.

2. An accomplished storyteller should have had the experience of telling stories regularly and, as an indication of his or her recognition and proficiency in the art, be able to offer reliable testimony to this from reputable judges such as teachers, head-teachers in schools, critics in the media, representatives from other bodies who have employed them professionally (and by reputation among other established storytellers.) He or she should be able to call upon a portfolio of recommendations.

3. Through their supporting evidence applicants should demonstrate the capacity to work with, and relate adeptly and appropriately to, a wide range of audiences and to work flexibly and cooperatively with professional and voluntary organisations.

4. Any applicant for recognition should have worked as a storyteller for a recommended period of three years, though exceptions to this guideline might be appropriate in some circumstances.

5. A person who wishes to be recognised in this way as a storyteller should be willing to travel widely in Scotland and take up invitations to practise the art.

6. Storytellers on the Scottish Storytelling Directory are required as a minimum to have a current Disclosure Scotland Basic Disclosure Certificate.

7. Accredited storytellers are required to be resident in Scotland, to be Network members of the Scottish Storytelling Forum and to be committed to principles of cooperation and best practice and to the development of storytelling in Scotland.

8. Directory entries, which will be edited by the Scottish Storytelling Centre, should state clearly the storyteller's area of interest and experience, including their preferred age groups.

For more information about applying to the Directory, please email Janis Mackay or phone +44 (0)131 652 3272. The Scottish Storytelling Centre also runs an Apprenticeship Scheme for those interested in becoming professional storytellers.

Booking Rates

Here you can find our recommended booking rates.

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Booking Guidelines

Here you can find guidelines on booking a storyteller.

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Become a storyteller

Everyone is a storyteller! Find out how you can learn a few tales to share with friends or how you can become a professional.

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