Seeing Stories

Recovering Landscape Narrative in Urban and Rural Europe


Festival Edinburgh

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival

is a 10 days celebration of live storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity, gathering every year a large number of Scottish and international storytellers and musicians.

The Festival takes place in and around Edinburgh. Main venue is the Netherbow theatre at the Storytelling Centre in the Royal Mile, at the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.

Partner venues have been the National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and many other cultural organisations in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland. 

The programme is structured in a pattern of different events including evening storytelling events for adults, family and children events, partner venues events, workshops, talks & lectures, exhibitions, networking and professional development events and the national event Tell-a-Story Day.

The programme also includes the strand of the Festival on Tour, bringing stories and storytellers to Scottish regions and Scottish islands.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is fully inspired by the Scottish tradition of the ceilidh and its sense of togetherness, which gives it a unique atmosphere under every point of view. Storytelling in Scotland is not a form of theatre. Audiences expect to be put in a relaxed frame of mind and to enjoy a blend of story and music. The performances are with and for and to the audience whose imaginations are a vital part of what allows the storytelling experience to happen.

While each event has a plan, there will always be informal and improvised element at play as well. The liveness is all.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is supported by Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council and with its increasing success it contributes to making Scotland a creative nation and to building up Edinburgh's reputation as world festival city.



SISF 2013 “Once upon a Journey”

Friday 18th – Sunday 27th October 2013

Travelling gives rise to stories and stories inspire journeys. That is true for cultures, countries and our own wandering hearts.

The SISF 2013 celebrates that connection through the eyes of nomads, explorers, travellers,

saints, shamans and liars.

The Festival is about journeys that link Scotland to the rest of the world, Scotland's own journeys, and the universal human instinct to travel. The programme traverses continents, nations, regions and islands, but also explores Edinburgh as a unique city of stories.

Once Upon a Journey is also about gathering round the open hearth while the night is still young to share travellers' tales and songs, before the journey calls us on to another day, a different road.

Festival programme:

Seeing Stories performers at the SISF 2013:

"Open Hearth", Friday 25th October. With Italian storyteller Giovanna Conforto."Tales from the Tagus", Saturday 26th October. With Portuguese storytellers Ana Sofia Paiva and Luis Correia Carmelo."Hallowe'en Hearth", Sunday 27th October. With German storyteller Regina Sommer.


SISF 2014 “Once upon a Place”

Friday 24th October – Sunday 2nd November 2014

Once Upon a Place looks at the past, handed on to us in story, with special touring events radiating out from the capital city across Scotland in a ten day celebration of storytelling traditions. The Festival combines storytelling ceilidhs with talks, landscape tours and specially commissioned performances. Guest storytellers from Europe, North America and the Pacific regions, perform alongside the cream of Scotland’s renowned storytelling talent, with a finale weekend marking the ancient Celtic New Year – Samhainn/Hallowe’en.





Seeing Stories is ending as a project. But through the project we have met many individuals and organisations who want to share good practice and creative skills. So we are forming an international network called Stories in Place. The network is open to all those who through their work, art or volunteering wish to strengthen the connections between people and place through storytelling. Our aim is to further strengthen international friendship and collaboration.

If you would like to be part of Stories in Place please contact Donald Smith, Project Manager of Seeing Stories, and Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, on