About the Festival

The Story of the Storytelling Festival

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is a celebration of live storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity, bringing together a large number of Scottish and international storytellers and musicians. It takes place in October each year, as the seasons change with long nights drawing families and friends around the hearth, inspired by the Scottish ceilidh tradition and its sense of togetherness – a community gathering full of tales, anecdotes, music, songs and ballads.

SISF for the majority takes place in and around Edinburgh. The main venue is the Netherbow Theatre at the Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile, the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Partner venues include the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Dovecot Studios, the National Library of Scotland and many other cultural organisations in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.

The programme provides diverse events for those completely new to storytelling through to guests wanting to develop their storytelling skill, ranging from nightly storytelling sessions for adults to professional development talks and workshops.

The programme also includes the popular Festival on Tour stand, which brings visiting international storytellers and their stories to Scottish regions and islands so they can embrace and discover Scotland’s communities also.

Did you know?

• The Scottish International Storytelling Festival has been running since 1989; 2017 will be the 28th Festival.

• The first official Festival welcomed 700 attendees, compared to 2016 when over 20,000 people took part in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival throughout Scotland.

• Storytellers David Campbell and Seoras Macpherson have performed in every Storytelling
Festival since its conception.

Storytelling is not a form of theatre – of course its entertainment but it’s not a passive artform and the audience are part of the performance. Expect to be put in a relaxed frame of mind and enjoy a blend of story and music.

The imagination of the audience is central to the performance and is what creates the true storytelling experience.

Although each event has a structure, there will always be an informal and improvised element, which is the beauty of live storytelling, echoing the old Traveller proverb that ‘a story is told eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart’.