Theatre Venue of the Month: Storytelling Centre

Time to gather around the hearth

Feature by Ruth Chrsitie | 28 Nov 2011
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the… well, you know how this tale goes so let me tell you another one. Gather in, get cosy, and I’ll begin.
The festive period is synonymous with storytelling, a time when generations and communities come together to swap news, share stories, spin a yarn… And this is exactly what will be happening in Edinburgh this month.
The Royal Mile is home to the world’s first purpose-built centre for storytelling, The Scottish Storytelling Centre. While the centre may only be five years old, the art of storytelling has been alive for centuries, in fact, “as long as people have communicated” notes Lindsay Corr, marketing officer at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
This December the team at The Scottish Storytelling Centre has created a wonderfully varied programme of events to tempt even the most hardened Christmas shopper off the streets and into the tranquil and really rather magical surroundings of the centre.
Lindsay explains “From St Andrews day right through to Hogmanay, and continuing into the New Year with Burns Night and Candlemas, we’re celebrating community traditions in new ways, by linking storytelling, song, music and dance in the old Ceilidh Culture style.”
And what a mix there is. For young ones, Blunderbus will be performing The Very Snowy Christmas based on Diane Hendry’s best selling book on 23 and 24 December. This delightful festival tale will be brought to life with puppets, live music and a sparkly snowy set.
I hear it is so popular that it is almost sold out but don’t despair because Diane Hendry herself will be reading a selection of her series of The Very… books, including The Very Snowy Christmas on 16 December. A very special chance to hear this story told by its author and see Jane Chapman’s original illustrations for the book.
For adults the programming finds a balance between the twinkliest end of the festive spectrum, with a night of Christmas carols planned for The Storytelling Centre’s Café Voices slot on 21 December, to a night of winter stories “away from the commercial face of Christmas” when on 17 December storytellers Heather Yule and Janis Mackay perform Tales of Christmas Past.
Depending on whether you’re itching to join in or prefer to be swept away into your imagination as you listen to tales of times gone by, on 2 December, The Storytelling Centre is offering a night of stories about the child prodigy Marjory Fleming to mark the 200th anniversary of this amazing 8 year old writer’s death in a night called Diary of Child Genius: Marjory Fleming, with insights and reflections from the likes of Mark Twain and Richard Demarco, performed though music, story and song. Like I said, if you’re keen to contribute, then don’t miss the open floor storytelling session: Guid Crack at the Waverley Bar later in the month on 30 December.

Small snippets of stories are shared everyday – you don’t have to look far to catch a line on Twitter, or a photo on Facebook – but in Scotland, a country laden with myths and legends, surely nothing beats the experience of being recounted a story in all its glory. Revel in the splendour of performance and a storyteller’s ability to conjure up some festive cheer this winter by paying a visit to The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
Diary of a Child Genius: Marjory Fleming 2 Dec, 7pm : Tiny Tales 13 Dec, 10am,11:30am Story Space 15 Dec, 11am : Diana Hendry: The Very Snowy Christmas 16 - 23 Dec 2011 Various times http://