The Scottish International Storytelling Festival runs from 14 – 30 October 2022.
As autumn descends over Edinburgh, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival provides a providing cosy haven from the colder, darker weather outside, while often echoing it through spellbinding tales of darkness and light.
[Image credit: Solen Collet]
About the Scottish International Storytelling Festival
The festival both celebrates and helps preserve the proud tradition of oral storytelling handed down through the generations, a form of entertainment neither literary nor theatrical and yet somehow a wonderful combination of both, with audience involvement and shared experience a key component.
Expert storytellers command the attention of the room as they weave their tales of life and love, magic and mystery in a setting akin to a community gathering. Often accompanied by live musicians, tellers transport their audiences to other times and places through little more than the power of the imagination and their skill with the spoken word.
[Image credit: Peter Dibdin]
History of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Established in 1989, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival has grown from strength to strength.
In its first year, they welcomed 700 attendees – by 2017 over 27,000 people took part in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival throughout Scotland.
The main venue is the Netherbow Theatre at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, with partner venues in the city including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the National Library of Scotland and Museums & Galleries Edinburgh.
[Image credit: Solen Collet]
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, marking the end of summer and the start of the year’s darker period. 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 lucky enough to be 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 events which offer a platform for the sharing and melding of 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 activities for families to enjoy.
So, if you’re thinking of a city break to Edinburgh, consider visiting in autumn to experience thrilling and mysterious worlds hidden from our view, yet made real by the power of a tale well told.
For details of this year's programme, see the Scottish International Storytelling Festival website >
This page was created in collaboration with our friends at Festivals Edinburgh.
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. Take a look at our guide to Edinburgh’s Festivals >