Storytelling Festival 2020 In the Flow Announced

In another arts initiative during the Covid crisis, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is whetting the appetites of those hungry for culture with the promise of an Autumn festival called In the Flow. This Festival will take the form of aneclectic mix of online events spanning across the globe and small-scale face-to-face events that celebrate Scotland as ‘a nation shaped by water’ by taking you on voyages at home and away.

Instead of the usual form of packed theatres, the events will be realised through live and pre-recorded broadcasts and through small-scale safely distanced person-to-person events, including ones in outdoor locations in line with Scottish Government guidance in the autumn period.

In the Flowwill present Voyage, a series of new work developed by storytellers and musicians for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and supported by the Scottish Government Festival Expo Fund. Premiered as a pre-recorded studio broadcast, Voyage includes interpretations of the slave passage across the Atlantic and Scotland’s part in it, the colonisation of Iceland, James VI’s Hamlet voyage to Elsinore, Johnson and Boswell’s Tour to the Hebrides and the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition.

 Alongside the Voyage series, the Festival will be celebrating Scotland’s own coastline and rivers, collaborating with The Orkney Storytelling Festival and The Wild Geese Festival in Dumfries and Galloway.

 Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said, “During this challenging time living with the impacts of coronavirus, storytelling and music have never been so important to our resilience, our wellbeing and our sense of belonging. The Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2020, backed by £100,000 PLACE funding and over £88,000 from EXPO, will help many local artists and performers across Scotland. ….”

 Also funded through PLACE, the Festival’s Global Lab will focus on international environmental creativity. A series of digital workshops with live participation will bring together storytellers, artists, activists and educators from across the globe to explore sustainability, ecology and healing. This strand of SISF will be presented in association with The Earth Story Collection, and the Earth Charter Initiative. 

SISF renowned Open Hearth evening format will move online, with artistic participation from across Scotland and far beyond while the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Café will hold safely distanced sessions from 12 Oct – 30 November and the Community and Families Programme will pair local storytellers with partner organisations in online and small-scale live settings.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is very aware of the vital part that stories and songs play in human survival so will continue to channel that flow with an increased focus on wellbeing in the year of Covid-19.

The Festival’s national reach is supported jointly by Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government through the PLACE programme, and these will continue beyond the Festival dates as community-based work again becomes possible.

In 2020 SISF will present many free ticketed events, but there will also be an opportunity to donate in support of the performers. There will be some charges for workshops and studio commissions. Overall, the aim is to support as many performers as possible, and to reach out to as wide a public as possible locally, nationally and internationally.

In the Flowruns from17 – 31 October 2020

Irene Brown

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