Taffy Thomas likes to say that stories have legs and travel with you. Ever since becoming the nation’s first Laureate for Storytelling, Taffy has been taking stories all over Britain, a long line of stories that stretches back and forth across the border between Scotland and England and many other borders as well.
Storytelling Laureate is a two-year honorary position. Honorary, according to Taffy, means that all you get is a two kilogram bag of beans and you go looking for someone named Jack. But the real pleasure in attaining the role is spreading storytelling throughout the UK as Taffy explains: “I want to raise the profile of oral storytelling, leaving behind stories and storytellers wherever I go.”
The Centre is delighted to welcome Taffy on Tuesday 21 December for two exclusive events, his two kilogram bag of beans in tow to plant seasonal tales into the mindset of Edinburgh’s masses. The Centre’s very own voice of Christmas presents an afternoon of wintry wonder tales and an evening of seasonal spice, complete with mulled wine and mince pies.
Christmas Tales at 2.30pm is the perfect afternoon treat of stories and songs which will amuse, delight and captivate all ages, while Merry Christmas at 7pm highlights that there is no finer entertainment at Christmas than the storyteller by the hearthside as Taffy digs into his unique collection of mid-winter legends and tales that he performs between the last weekend in November and Twelfth Night. These include magical apocryphal nativity legends, ghost stories and the famous account of the ‘Apple Tree Man’, a tale told in Taffy's native Somerset dialect as the audience join the storyteller in a toast and shared drink from the traditional wassail cup.
This is a great opportunity to witness sublime storytelling from a raconteur whose head is bursting with stories, riddles and folklore …hopefully Edinburgh will make an impact on the future tales he has to tell.
The Centre also has a selection of Yule Nights events for alternative adult festive entertainment from 15 to 17 December, including warming storytelling and music evenings as well as a brand new exhibition incorporating stunning live performance.
Edinburgh-based Russian painter and designer Maria Rud brings a collection entitled Exile and Homecoming to the Centre from Saturday 11 December, with her unique style echoing pious images interspersed with fairytales all with the striking influence of Russian avant garde. Maria also presents an inimitable evening of live artistry on Thursday 16 December entitled International Artists Present: Art AnimOtion at 7.30pm.
Maria and life-long friend and fellow artist Natalia Kharina create a new painting on the spot, to a semi-improvised accompaniment from Irish musician and singer Nuala Kennedy with cittern player Cameron Robson. As the painting takes shape – on glass – it is projected on to a large screen, becoming real-time art. Maria explains how enchanting the performance can be:
“AnimOtion is a very new and interesting collaboration which brings together music and visual art and people are taken on a journey which they are usually quite excited about. The Scottish Storytelling Centre is a perfect venue because AnimOtion is the very essence of telling a story – I’ve simply replaced oral words with my paintbrush and pictures.”
Wed 15 Dec, 7pm (2hrs), £4, Adults
Open a storybook of colour, warmth and song at the Christmas Storytelling Café. This is a chance to sit back and enjoy tales or to contribute your own. Hosted by Andy Hunter to launch the Storytelling Centre’s Yule Nights Season.
Thu 16 Dec, 6pm (1hr 30mins), Free, Adults
Maria Rud: Exile and Homecoming Launch
Soak up Maria Rud's enchanting images, chat to the artist about her inspiration and breathe the spirit of the north, and of Russia.
Thu 16 Dec, 7.30pm (1hr), £10/£7, Adults
International Artists Present: Art AnimOtion
In association with Maria Rud's exhibition, “Art AnimOtion” is a new form of creative collaboration which brings together music and visual art through video art. Painting, created in front of the audience and projected onto a large screen is accompanied by live recital.
Fri 17 Dec, 7pm (2hrs), £8/6, Adults
Tales for a Winter Evening
Stories, music and song around the hearthside. Dream of times past, loves present and adventures to come. A magical Yule Night with Clare McNicol and Heather Yule, hosted by Donald Smith.
Tue 21 Dec, 2.30pm (1hr 45mins), £6/£4, All ages
Taffy Thomas: Christmas Tales
Enjoy an afternoon of memories and stories with Britain's storytelling laureate Taffy Thomas. For all the young at heart, gather round the Christmas tree to share some festive fun and magic. Taffy will be accompanied by traditional singer Aimee Laura Thomas.
Tue 21 Dec, 7pm (2hrs), £8/£6, Adults
Taffy Thomas: Merry Christmas
Join Britain's Storyteller Laureate for a Merry Christmas evening with some wicked twists…it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy mulled wine and mince pies as well! Taffy will be accompanied by traditional singer Aimee Laura Thomas.
For more information, images and interviews contact
Lindsay Corr | Marketing Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0131 556 9579