At the start of the 2015 Festival

A word from the President

Tom Muir

Photo: Tom O’Brien

It is with great pleasure that we are now going live with the 2015 Orkney Storytelling Festival programme. This year we are delighted to expand our remit from stories into songs as well. We have two great Scottish traditional storytellers/singers joining us this year: Jess Smith and <a href="https://www.orkneystorytellingfestival article”>Grace Banks. Some of our regular attendees may recall Grace from last year’s festival, as she came along to join in the fun and sang and told a story at our open sessions. We may be joined by other singers, as well as our local storytellers.

Jess Smith is a well known storyteller and singer of traditional ballads – which in themselves are stories in the form of song i27znby. From a Scottish Traveller family, Jess has shared her adventures in her autobiographies, ‘Jessie’s Journey’, ‘Tales from the Tent’ and ‘Tears for a Tinker’, as well as other books. I have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Jess on many occasions, but this is her first time in Orkney.

Grace Banks is also a well known and popular storyteller from Aberdeenshire, an area closely associated with the early farming improvements in 19th century Orkney. Grace has written a couple of books of tales, along with Sheena Blackhall, for the History Press. As part of their County Folk Tales series, Grace and Sheena wrote ‘Aberdeenshire Folk Tales’ and ‘Scottish Urban Myths and Ancient Legends’. We are delighted to welcome back Grace to the festival.

As ever, the Orkney Storytelling Festival is holding events all over the Mainland and islands, from Kirkwall to Stomness, Papa Westray to Burray, and our annual visit to Betty’s Reading Room at Tingwall, Rendall, where we are treated to the warmest hospitality in Orkney courtesy of Craig Molison and Jane Spiers. So, all we need now is an audience who enjoy a story, a song and a good evening of entertainment. Come on – what are you waiting for?

Tom Muir.

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