Welcome to the 2018 Festival

Tom Muir

Photo: Tom O’Brien

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 2018 Orkney Storytelling Festival. Our audience continues to grow along with the enthusiasm for traditional stories. Our reputation as ‘the little festival with the big heart’ is spreading around the world, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our committee members. They give their time and talents free of charge to bring you a feast of storytelling delights to warm the heart on a cold, dark evening.

Last year the focus of the festival was Nordic. This year, by contrast, we are embracing the Celtic world. Our two visiting storytellers are both old friends of mine. We met at the Shetland Storytelling Festival in 2001.

Heather Yule brings the tales of the Scottish Travellers to life with her thoughtful style and abundant charm. Although not from a Scottish Traveller background herself, she grew up listening to the fabulous storyteller, Stanley Robertson, while her mother recorded his stories for her PhD. Not only is Heather a great storyteller, but she also plays the clarsach, the Celtic harp, which she weaves into her tales.

Our other guest is Claire McNicol, who hails from Northern Ireland. Her delightful style is easy and warm. Her tales from Ireland will hold you spellbound as your imagination fills with images of the little people dancing in a green field. Just don’t let them get too close a hold of you!*

Our special guest speaker this year is Dr Nela Scholma-Mason, who some of you might know from her work at the Ness of Brodgar excavation. Nela will be looking at the connections between Orkney’s archaeological sites and folk lore. I shall be throwing in a few stories, for good measure, and there is a short film to accompany it.

Our regular storytellers, Fran Flett Hollinrake, Marita Lück and Erin Farley will be joined by popular Scottish singer Scott Gardiner. The Orkney Storytelling Festival 2018 is holding events in Harray, Kirkwall, Rendall, St Margaret’s Hope, Stenness, and Stromness. Our island trip is to the North Walls’ Gable End Theatre.

The stories are suitable for all the family. You’re never too young or too old to enjoy a good tale well told. We look forward to seeing you there.

Best Wishes,

Tom Muir

* The Orkney Storytelling Festival does not take responsibility for fairy abduction.

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