Families’ Mid-term Magic Storytelling Populates Edinburgh for Storytelling Festival

Because our passion for fairy tales starts at a young age, with the human mind intrinsically hard-wired to respond to stories, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is delighted to present a programme of engaging live storytelling events, with craft and story making activities, specifically designed for children and families.

Let your imagination run wild and across Edinburgh’s Inspiring Capital, as the Storytelling Centre in partnership with arts and culture organisations across the city provide a full programme of public family events for free, ensuring the mid-term weekend isn’t Grimm.

Re-imagining classic stories from Europe and Scotland’s cannon of fantastic treasures is guaranteed, as a myriad of storytelling performers populate Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland and Royal Botanic Gardens for an Enchanted City mid-term weekend on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October.

Kicking off the Enchanted City weekend at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s Great Hall is storyteller Linda Bandelier who shares the tale of Scottish laird Thomas the Rhymer and the Fairy Queen, accompanied by harpist Heather Yule on Saturday 20 October at 11am.

Then enter the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) from 12.30pm as over twenty roaming storytellers will pop up around the building, transporting the whole family to places only ever dreamed of with myths and tales from across the globe and legends and sagas from closer to home.

Alison Rae, Learning Officer at National Museums Scotland explains the appeal of this unique autumn event:
“Storytelling is a wonderful way of bringing our collections to life for families of all ages and we’re delighted to be taking part in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in an even bigger way this year. At the National Museum of Scotland we offer a treasure trove of objects to inspire and fascinate, and The Enchanted Museum day, with exciting gallery encounters, interactive performances and workshops, will be a truly special finale to our half term activities.”

There are also programmed activities throughout the afternoon at the Museum, including the return of popular tale-weaving duo from last year Mac-a-Story, as well as opportunities to try out Story-quilting and Russian crafts.

After a day of museum fun, head across to the stunning Royal Botanic Garden on Sunday 21 October from 1pm for The Enchanted Wood presenting another chance to see and hear stories from a host of tale-spinners themed around the natural world and its magical wonders for Apple Day, the annual celebration of apples, orchards and local distinctiveness.

Outdoor and indoor spaces will be populated by enthusiastic performers keen to share lively animations and songs with all visitors to the Garden’s guaranteeing a great day out for all the family and a great way to round off the mid-term week.


Partner venue Filmhouse includes the screening of three film versions of Grimm fairy tales, made by the famous DEFA studios in the former East Germany and supported by the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow.

The use of fairy tales in film adaptations is a constant source revisited and revitalised by filmmakers and the Filmhouse showcase three delightful film screenings, in German with English subtitles, that will transport the whole family into the world of Grimm.

Quirky characters will enthral all ages, with a scornful princess and mistaken identities the focus in The Singing Ringing Tree on Sunday 21 October at 4pm, to a princess-to-be who makes a deal with The Dwarf Magician on Saturday 27 October at 1.30pm, but is he wise or wicked? The special screening of this trio of German classics concludes with a fantastic version of Snow White on Sunday 28 October at 1.30pm, which is enormously appealing to children and one of the most popular DEFA feature films, with songs that are easy to remember and fun to sing.

Award-winning children’s author and storyteller Lari Don also snuggles in by the atmospheric fire at Gladstone’s Land for two free sessions of Hearthside Tales for the young – and young at heart – at 10.45am and 12pm on Saturday 27 October.


Mid-week for older family groupings presents the opportunity to enjoy a brand new piece of storytelling theatre by a trio of talented female tellers, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, which is performed on Wednesday 24 October at 7.30pm in the Storytelling Centre’s Netherbow theatre, after being showcased as part of the NMS activities on the opening weekend and afternoon performances in Glasgow from Monday 22 – Wednesday 24 October at Scottish Youth Theatre’s Old Sheriff Court.

What lies at the heart of all family life? Strong women and their often wayward offspring: Torn between maternal love, male passion, ego and sexual awakening, the family group quivers with soul wrenching dramas, as do the stories presented here by three equally dynamic women, storytellers and spinstresses.

Each with a style of her own, Bea Ferguson, Jean Edmiston and Allison Galbraith, tell stories that reflect three traditions of Scotland Gaelic, Norse and Scots in a way which transports their audiences into another timeless dimension. Escape into the world of story and refresh your soul in these tales of archetypes and universal dilemmas. Young artists from Scottish Youth Theatre are also involved in the performance with contributions of music, song and movement.

Plus, families can enjoy A Tale O Twa Touns in an engaging, enthralling an entertaining and exclusive journey into Edinburgh’s past and contrasts with Mercat Tours who guide you through from Old Town to new with various insights into the many layers of Edinburgh’s cobbled streets on Saturday 27 October at 2.30pm.

Meander through the years, stories and streets, including visits to the National Trust’s properties Gladstone’s Land on the Royal Mile and the Georgian House on Charlotte Square, with revealing and surprising contrasts between Edinburgh’s two characters – ‘Auld Reekie’ and the ‘Athens of the North’ – showcased on this unique tour.

Partner Venue Information:
Filmhouse | 88 Lothian Road, EH3 9BZ | 0131 228 2689| www.filmhousecinema.com
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh | 20A Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR | 0131 248 2909 |www.rbge.org.uk
National Museum of Scotland | Chambers Street, EH1 1JF | 0300 123 6789 |www.nms.ac.uk
Gladstone’s Land | 477b Lawnmarket, EH1 2NT | 0131 226 5856 | www.nts.org.uk
Scottish National Portrait Gallery |1 Queen Street, EH2 1JD | 0131 624 6560 | www.nationalgalleries.org
Mercat Tours Ltd |Mercat House, 28 Blair Street, EH1 1QR | 0131 225 5445 | www.mercattours.com

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival runs from Friday 19 October to Sunday 28 October in the Scottish Storytelling Centre and partner venues within the capital, Glasgow and regional areas.

For full details, listings and to book online see www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk

Lindsay Corr is Marketing Officer at the Scottish Storytelling Centre