Perhaps not that well known to incoming Fringe visitors, but loved by Edinburgh locals year round, the Scottish Storytelling Centre splendidly merges old and new – the old being the higgledy-piggledy medieval survivor John Knox House; the new being Tardis-like modern performance spaces, seemingly too big for this cosy-looking off-street venue. It sits at a handy spot on the Royal Mile, has a nice little cafe, and, it goes without saying, a Fringe programme that includes some excellent storytelling events. But that’s not all…
Loud Poets are an Edinburgh collective who have been making big waves as part of the current vogue for slam poetry. Scottish and Euro Slam champion MiKo Berry will be leading from the front in a line-up that includes many of the best Scottish-based spoken word performers. Expect in-your-face, from-the-heart slam at a night that was hugely well-received last year (see our review).
Comedian Fiona Herbert will be taking on very 21st century issues such as teetotal vegan dinner parties and getting dumped via Skype in her show Frequently Asked Questions. She’s Jo Caulfield‘s understudy at the popular Speakeasy nights, and won the national Tall Tales competition in 2012 and 2015.
There’s a big programme of family events. The Storytelling Centre is highly recommended as a good spot to take the little ‘uns. Popular puppet show, The Man Who Planted Trees, by Edinburgh’s Puppet State Theatre is back. Also on the bill is a new puppet show, The Secret Life Of Suitcases, the story of office-worker and keen tidyer-upper, Larry, which makes an appearance as one of the Made In Scotland showcase events.
Theatre Objectiv‘s ursine biography, Wojtek the Bear, follows said creature from his days in the Polish army, across the battlefields of Europe, to a home in Edinburgh Zoo, a remarkable piece last at the Fringe in 2012.
But no round up of the Storytelling Centre’s programme would be complete without mentioning some traditional proponents of the form. Calum Lykan delves into Scotland’s heroic and mythical past in Brave & Free, while Xanthe Gresham and Nick Hennessey explore another mythical figure – Morgana Le Fay, half-sister to King Arthur – as she slays medieval misogyny. And if you like your music traditional too, Borders-based company Riddell Fiddles will be telling the story of The Cranston Fiddle, the family instrument in a household devastated by the First World War.
Find the full Scottish Storytelling Centre programme on their website