LGBT History Month takes place throughout February, aiming to replace ignorance and prejudice with knowledge and understanding, yet those who watched BBC Three documentary Britain’s Gay Footballers will be aware that, as much as we may think we live in liberated times, there is still fear and bigotry when it comes to sexual orientation.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre is thrilled to be supporting LGBT Youth Scotland to present two events which encourages the LGBT community to come together and share their stories, in the hope that the awareness of the complexities of modern family life can be understood and accepted from early years on.
LGBT Families: Our Stories on Thursday 2 February at 7pm affords those that have started an LGBT family, or are thinking of starting one, to talk with others and share their stories and experiences.
LGBT Families: Storytelling for Children on Saturday 18 February at 2pm is an afternoon of storytelling, aimed at 5-8 year olds, but other children are welcome. The afternoon will explore the diverse makeup of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in a child friendly way. Children whose parents, guardians or carers are in same sex relationships are often seen as different and put under personal pressure, not least when their position is the subject of public debate and comment. Sharing stories can help them find ways of dealing with the issues they face. The storyteller facilitating these events has worked with LGBT Youth Scotland to create stories that reflect the reality of LGBT families in Scotland and the problems posed for children in these families. This event is about encouraging children, who often live at the margins of society today, to share their experiences and stories with a view to uncovering coping strategies.
By speaking directly to its own peoples, as well as society as a whole, the inclusive event will benefit everyone and ensure celebration, debate and discussion around the continued struggle for LGBT liberation. Wendy Woolfson, a storyteller based in Glasgow who is leading the sessions, feels the Centre is the perfect place to host LGBT family events as she explains:
“We are encouraging this community to exchange their stories, open up and celebrate the diversity of modern family living and the Centre provides both the perfect physical and spiritual backdrop – it’s a warm, welcoming space that embraces inclusiveness and it’s the home of Scotland’s stories which should include the narrations of LGBT communities.
“I’m really excited about being involved with something so close to heart as many friends fall under the LGBT banner and I think it’s vital that this community, which makes up 10% of our population, get to share their stories. There are very little places in Glasgow and Edinburgh for youngsters to go and openly talk with peers about issues they face, which is shocking, so we hope these events can become regular events with LGBT Youth, which would only benefit youngsters coping with changes in their family dynamic.
“There is still a long way to go to bring these new family structures into people’s awareness as the stereotypical 2.4 children set up becomes less the norm in an ever-changing contemporary society. The inclusiveness of these events will hopefully allow people to start thinking that it is safe to be who you are and to celebrate that.”
Inclusiveness continues in the Centre between the LGBT events with storytellers Marie Louise Cochrane and Ailie Finlay presenting The Story Kist: Inclusive Storytelling on Saturday 11 February at 11am, designed to ensure children with learning disabilities can interact with tales.
Stories and storytelling can be enjoyed by everyone, especially if the story session involves lively singing, friendly puppets and intriguing props! With this in mind the Storytelling Centre is starting a series of inclusive storytelling sessions aimed particularly at children with additional needs and their families and friends. Ailie Finlay and Marie Louise start off The Story Kist series with stories for lighter days as signs of spring begin to appear: stories of sunshine, star-shine, moonshine and candlelight. The session will include lots of joining-in, games, songs and helpful props that squeak or squish or smell!
Ailie and Marie Louise have been working together over a number of years and have developed a lively, interactive storytelling style. Marie Louise is a singer/song-writer as well as a teller and her songs bring a special cosiness to their story sessions. Ailie specialises in working with people with additional needs and in 2010 was awarded a Scottish Arts Council (Creative Scotland) Storyteller’s Bursary to develop a programme of multi-sensory storytelling for children with complex additional needs.
Of course, February couldn’t slip by without a little nod to St. Valentine, so our regular event for tots, Tiny Tales on Tuesday 14 February at 10am and 11.30am gets the love bug treatment as Maria Cairney leads an interactive session for little ones, then the debonair duo of David Campbell and Janis McKay lead us through an evening of stories, song, poetry recital and music in Café Voices on Wednesday 15 February at 7pm, where the focus of the evening will be on Cupid’s Arrow… whether the shot is on target or not is up to you.
Also playing with the allusions of love is Alistair Rutherford, as his new romantic comedy, Passing Through, is performed by Peapod Productions on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 February at 8pm. After the 5* success of The Garden last summer, this in-situ company strike again with a chance meeting between two strangers on a wet winter’s night, each one fed up with life and romance. Rutherford’s piece questions whether love is a magic formula or a conjuring illusion in this engaging two-hander.
Another two-hander marrying story and music comes to life on Friday 17 February as Singer/storyteller Lea Taylor and Harpist/Storyteller Heather Yule present a stirring programme of Sea Stories and shanties in two sessions. At 10.30am gather the whole family and be transported down to the seaside as Lea and Heather take you on an unforgettable voyage of adventure and introduce you to changelings, talkative fisherman and other intriguing characters in You and Me… to the Sea! Then in the evening at 7.30pm, cosy up and enjoy Scottish Tales of the Sea and Shore, where you will be transported into the world of the Great Selkie of Sule Skerrie – a blend of narrative/harp and song exploring this traditional Scottish ballad with Scandinavian roots. Both these events are funded by Enterprise Music Scotland.
Box Office: 0131 556 9579
For further information, images and to arrange interviews or press tickets contact:
Lindsay Corr firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 652 3272
Notes to editors:
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.
The Church of Scotland Committee on Education has produced a leaflet for Parents and Carers on the subject of Sexual Health and Relationships Education. It gives full background to our views on this subject.
LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland. The charity’s mission is to “empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and the wider LGBT community so that they are embraced as full members of the Scottish family at home, school and in every community.”
Enterprise Music Scotland secures funding for distribution to the member promoters, subsidising musicians’ fees and ticket prices to ensure accessibility for the general public across Scotland.
Contact: Lindsay Corr