Scottish International Storytelling Festival comes to West Dunbartonshire

Keep It Lit
14 – 31 October 2022

Performers Shona Cowie and Neil Sutcliffe at the launch of the The 2022 Storytelling International Festival.  Neil Hanna Photography

By Hannah Croall

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is inviting audiences in West Dunbartonshire to join them round the hearth of storytelling this autumn, as it launches its 2022 festival theme – Keep It Lit, a symbolic fire where experiences and memories are shared, and the torch of oral storytelling is passed on.

In celebration of Scotland’s Year of Stories, the 2022 festival programme is the largest to date; inviting everyone to the ceilidh – locally, nationally and globally, from Friday 14 to Monday 31 October.

West Dunbartonshire storytelling events tell tales of travelling.

  • Coorie in close to the campfire and warm yourself on a wondrous weaving of tales, told by Traveller tradition bearer Jimmy Williamson and storyteller Anne Pitcher. Experience the stories Jimmy’s father, Duncan Williamson, world renowned storyteller, told his children on the journey from Fife to Argyll in A Journey Remembered (Sat 8 Oct).
  • And follow the Wee Bannock on his journey from Knowetop down to the River Clyde in Dumbarton West with The Birlin’ Bannock’s Adventures in West Dumbarton (Sat 12 Nov). Meet characters and creatures, places and landmarks, as he whirls and birls down the hill, with People’s Parish storyteller Anne Pitcher and a cast of local people.

As events take place across Scotland, SISF also invites audiences from further afield to join them at the fireside with its Global Platform, a series of digital storytelling and development sessions. Hosted by Festival Director, Donald Smith, the Global Platform will cover the Art of the Storyteller (Mon 17 – Fri 21 Oct), as well as guide discussion around the history of oral storytelling and its contemporary renaissance worldwide through its Global Labs (Mon 24 – Fri 28 Oct), held in association with The Earth Stories Collection and Earth Charter International.

Plus, from the start of the festival until Wednesday 30 November, SISF invites communities to take part in The Stone Soup Collective. Based on a European folk story, in which strangers share a small amount of food in order to make a larger meal for everyone to enjoy; at the heart of it is a message of welcoming strangers, kindness, and support. Presented in partnership with Re-Act: Refugee Action Scotland, community Stone Soup events will bring a ceilidh of stories, song, and dance to the heart of Scotland’s communities.

Looking ahead to this year’s event, Scottish International Storytelling Festival Director, Donald Smith said: “This is the biggest Storytelling Festival since it began in 1989. It is our widest reach culturally, socially and geographically, marking Scotland’s Year of Stories. We are responding to the cost of living crisis with 145 free events, reducing ticket prices, offering a uniquely generous Festival Pass and keeping a specially commissioned digital programme to provide worldwide reach for those who cannot or choose not to travel. Everyone is welcome at our hearthside.”

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival will take place Friday 14 – Monday 31 October. This year, when people’s lives are under pressure on all sides, SISF is striving to make it affordable for everyone. Tickets to each event cost a maximum of £10, with family events costing £5 per ticket. For those planning on attending multiple events, the Festival Pass offers discounted tickets to many live festival events, online and at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, as well as a discount at the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s bookshop and Haggis Box Café.

To purchase tickets and browse the full programme, visit

Listings Information

Scottish International Storytelling Festival
14 – 31 October 2022
In person in Edinburgh and across Scotland, and online
For tickets and more info visit

Connect with the festival on social media @ScotStoryFest, #KeepItLit

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