Edinburgh's Storytelling Festival Tickets Available Online

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The Scottish International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh launches its 20th anniversary season Friday, October 23. For 2009, tickets and programme details are available online at http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk

Edinburgh's Storytelling festival, October 23rd to November 1st. Festival tickets available online at www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk

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The Scottish International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh launches its 20th anniversary season this Friday, October 23, as raconteurs from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Caribbean join Scotland's best yarn-spinners for 10 days of storytelling sessions, workshops and family events. Such themes as belonging, identity and travel will be visited during the 10-day Festival, the 'Homelands' theme providing a unique window into personal experiences of migration, immigration and the colourful, complex identities emerging from them.

To support the 2009 Year of Homecoming in Scotland, the Storytelling Festival also explores ideas of Scottish diaspora, nurturing cultural exchanges through to personal tales passed down through generations. The Storytelling Festival features 69 events in Edinburgh and across greater Scotland, including a busy education and community programme. Edinburgh Storytelling Festival Tickets and programming information for the 2009 festival are available online at http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk/festivals/storytelling.

In addition to the scheduled events, the Storytelling Festival provides opportunities for future exchanges between Scotland and indigenous cultures, enabling professional storytellers and those interested in oral traditions to meet and share ideas. The Festival is designed to provide audiences with the chance to encounter rich traditions and authentic voices in a memorable live experience.

The Festival is devoted to the art of live storytelling in the improvised traditional style told direct with the engagement of the audience. The story is created between the teller and the listeners giving visitors a warm social experience and a chance to discover different cultures, environments and traditions.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival Director Donald Smith said:

"There are many different layers of experiences, many different strands that people can access, and at the heart of it is the notion of Homelands. You can hear stories from a variety of cultural traditions where the focus is on people who are wonderful storytellers but whose stories are bigger than themselves. They're about a whole cultural experience connected to ideas of journey, migration and emigration.

This is complimented by themed talks with writers and cultural historians who will be speaking about their interests in these ideas. There are also screenings, museum events and storytelling workshops where people can come along and participate in developing their own skills and learn about storytelling traditions."

Highlights of this year's programme include the late-night Festival Club nights and Meet the Storyteller 'taster' events, as well as a series of 10 Authentic Voices evening storytelling performances at the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. This includes both people who have remained in their birthplace and those who have branched out into the world and taken elements of their Scottish heritage to other lands, connecting audiences to authentic moments and voices that genuinely relay the ideas related to Homecoming.

Family activities at the Storytelling Centre, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Museum of Edinburgh and the Scottish Seabird Centre compliment a rich events programme primarily designed for adults and older children. This is highlighted by the Festival's national DIY storytelling initiative, Tell-a-Story Day (on 30th October), which sees school pupils, parents, carers, artists and storytellers putting on their own storytelling and storymaking activities, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together to share and create tales.

In addition to the Edinburgh-based events, the 'Festival on Tour' programme sees international guests from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada and the Caribbean travelling far and wide from the Festival's Edinburgh-hub to deliver first-class performances and interactive workshops in Dundee, Stirling, Oban, Clashmore, Ullapool, Rothesay, Thurso, Glasgow, New Galloway and Insch.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival runs from Friday 23rd October until Sunday 1st November 2009. Tickets are on sale now from the Scottish Storytelling Centre's box office (0131 556 9579 or 0131 473 2000) or online at the Edinburgh Festivals Guide website, http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk.

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Caroline Budge

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