As the seasons turn and summer’s busyness recedes, Edinburgh residents and visitors alike can still be assured of a warm welcome with a busy autumn season of story
Hugh Lupton, a respected storyteller, in a recent discussion on Radio 4 likened storytelling to song, due to intimacy of performance and the activation of the mind’s eye. The power of the story is key, no matter what form of delivery it takes and this October, we showcase storytelling through traditional methods, but also therapeutically, through music, song and movement.
The month begins with a modern musical fable about the trials and tribulations of love. Green Room is a new touring musical theatre company that aims to create innovative and dynamic theatre which communicates directly through music. Their premiere production is The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert Brown, which tells the story of a five year relationship, from first date, through marriage, to eventual break-up. There are only two characters. Jamie tells the story from his perspective in chronological order. Cathy starts at the break-up and travels backwards in time, ending at their first date. The two characters only perform together once in the show, at their wedding. Enjoy a production that shows the trials and tribulations of relationships with a beautiful score on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 October at 7.30pm.
Saturday 8 October signals the beginning of the Centre’s events as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, with a free 2pm session from women’s mental wellbeing organisation Saheliya Quines who present an afternoon of relaxed story sharing and visual display, followed by Dream or Not at 7.30pm, which is presented by Actual Signs and promises a fun, flirty play that explores sexuality in adults through the power of sign language.
Now in its fifth year the Festival aims to highlight and to tackle stigma and social injustices, but also to explore what mental health means and how it shapes all of our identities. Focusing on the theme of dreams, sleep and memories, which is the title of our Café Voices event, hosted by poet Donny O’Rourke on Friday 14 October at 7pm, the Centre events all explore the power of imagination and offer up advice on maintaining a healthy head. Master storytellers David Campbell and Ruth Kirkpatrick (who pioneers the use of storytelling for wellbeing) present a great evening of seminal Celtic traditional tales that draw deeply on dreams, healing and life journeys. The performance, Going to the Well: Ancient Stories of Health and Healing is on Tuesday 11 October at 7pm and is followed by a Q&A session.
The Centre’s Festival contribution concludes with a return production to the Centre, and an accompanying workshop. The Old Woman Who Lived in a… is a production which ponders the effects of childhood in adult life and uses the seminal nursery rhyme to explore what happened to the children that the old woman beat black and blue. Winning praise during the Fringe Festival and a four star review from Broadway Baby, this light-hearted fable that uses music and storytelling to break the spell of past pain returns to the Centre on Saturday 15 October for two performances. Director and writer of the piece, Lee Gershuny, also offers up an accompanying workshop – The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe – on Wednesday 12 October at 7pm, which will use storytelling to tap into your inner sources of creativity and playfulness to highlight the benefits for your mental health.
Following matters of the mind, we fall into matters of the past and how they can be modernised, with what promises to be an intriguing evening of discovery in Archive Trails on Sunday 16 October at 7pm. After months of sifting through old photos, documents and tape reels, three contemporary performers, Aileen Campbell, Alasdair Roberts and Drew Wright (aka Wounded Knee), aim to bring to life Scotland’s long-lost folk ballads through experimental vocals, video and glove puppets. Presented with unlimited access to the archive during a three-month residency at the University of Edinburgh, the trio of trailers were charged with developing an original performance based on the material they found, and now they tour their findings around Scotland, a commission from independent music promoters Tracer Trails to mark the 60th birthday of the archives.
From archive tales to Grimm ones as Glasgow based Louna Productions present Wicked Grimm Tales on Monday 17 October at 11am and 2pm. Determined to create a feisty storytelling experience, the double act concentrate on the lesser known stories collected by the famous brothers and celebrate the gruesome content at the heart of the dainty fairytale world. Anna Lehr and Louisa Thornton promise a funny yet sinister theatrical experience for older children aged 7 and up.
Just before the start of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, the Centre’s two regular children’s events, Tiny Tales on Tuesday 18 October and Story Space on Thursday 20 October embrace the Festival theme of an island odyssey as storytellers Mara Menzies and Diana Bertoldi take them on a voyage of discovery, across seas from island to island to hear traditional tales.
We round off October Centre events with a visit from signer and songwriter, David Dondero, who has been compared to such American folk music/troubadour greats as Woody Guthrie and Townes Van Zandt. This is a great opportunity to see an intimate gig by the respected US artist in the Centre’s stunning Netherbow Theatre on Thursday 20 October at 8pm, with support from James McKay.
Wed 5 & Thu 6 Oct | 7.30pm (90mins) | £12/£10 | Adults (14+)
The Last Five Years
Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival | 1 – 24 October 2011
Sat 8 Oct | 2pm (2hrs) | Free (ticketed) | All ages
Sat 8 Oct | 7.30pm (1hr) | £6/£4, Adults (16+)
Dream or Not?
Tue 11 Oct | 2pm (2hrs) | Free | All ages
Tue 11 Oct | 7pm (1hr 45mins with interval + Q&A) | £6/£4 | Adults (16+)
Going to the Well: Ancient Stories of Health and Healing
Wed 12 Oct | 7pm (2hrs) | £5 (£3 with performance ticket) | Adults (16+)
Workshop: The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Fri 14 Oct | 7pm (2hrs) | £4 | Adults (14+)
Café Voices: Dreams, Sleep and Memories
Sat 15 Oct | 3pm & 7.30pm (1hr + Q&A) | £5/£3 | Adults (14+)
The Old Woman Who Lived in A…
Sun 16 Oct | 7pm (3hrs) | £8/£6 | Adults (14+)
Storytelling and Music
Mon 17 Oct | 11am & 2pm (45mins) | £6/£4 | Age 7+
Wicked Grimm Tales
Tue 18 Oct – Fri 25 Nov | 10am-6pm | Free
Clacharan: Stepping Stones. Scottish Myths & Legends
Tue 18 Oct | 10 & 11.30am (40mins) | £6 per child | Age 6mths – 2yrs
Thu 20 Oct | 11am (45mins) | £6 per child | Age 3-6 years
Thu 20 Oct | 8pm (2hrs + interval) | £7 (available in advance), £8 (on door) | Adults (14+)
Wh666 presents David Dondero
(Team Love Records, USA) plus support from James McKay
For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:
Lindsay Corr, Marketing Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 652 3272
The Scottish Storytelling Centre is the national body for the support and development of the storytelling artform. The organisation is a partnership between the Scottish Storytelling Forum and the Church of Scotland, and is supported by Creative Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and a wide range of charitable donations.