Storytelling Festival
Image Credit: Colin Hattersley

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Let your imagination run wild at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin….

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival will return in October 2024.

About the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival both celebrates and preserves the proud tradition of oral storytelling handed down through the generations, with audience involvement and shared experience a key component of the Festival.

Expert storytellers command the attention of the room as they weave their tales of life, love, magic and mystery in a setting akin to a community gathering. Often accompanied by live musicians, tellers transport the audience to other times and places through little more than the power of the imagination and their skill with the spoken word.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Image Credit: Ludovic Farine

History of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Established in 1989, the Festival has grown from strength to strength. In its first year it welcomed 700 attendees. By 2022, audience numbers had reached 39,862.

The main venue is the Netherbow Theatre at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, with partner venues in the city including Royal Botanic Garden EdinburghNational Library of Scotland and Museums & Galleries Edinburgh.

Storytelling Festival Family Samhuinn
Image Credit: Roberto Ricciuti

Stories and legends

The Festival runs for just under two weeks each October and culminates on or close to Halloween and the related Celtic celebration of Samhuinn, which marks the end of summer and the start of winter. And while not all tales told are of the supernatural, there’s an enticingly dark tenor to much of the programme which will thrill and intrigue those present.

Scottish tradition is just part of what the Storytelling Festival has to offer though, as guests from across the world share stories and legends of their own lands. This internationalism further enriches the Festival, particularly at the many cross-cultural event that offer a platform for sharing traditional cultures.

The Festival also goes beyond the experience of live storytelling, with opportunities to take part in workshops, guided tours of Edinburgh’s famously atmospheric old streets and a range of family-friendly activities.

So, if you’re thinking of a city break to Edinburgh, consider visiting in autumn to experience thrilling and mysterious worlds hidden from view, yet made real by the power of a tale well told.

Discover Edinburgh’s festivals

Edinburgh has a jam-packed festival schedule all year around. Whether you love the arts, are mad about science, or relish the thought of getting lost in a good book, there’s a festival for you.