As 2023 comes to a close and the Christmas break draws closer, we’ve been reflecting on what a rewarding Autumn/Winter season we’ve had this year after a brilliant – and very busy – Edinburgh Fringe. From kicking off festival launches and line-ups, to celebrating new London show runs, activist theatre, and audio drama, or forming exciting new partnerships across Scotland and the UK, we’ve been so lucky to finish the year with some wonderful people and projects – many of which we can’t wait to take forward into 2024…
We always love working with festivals, and this Autumn/Winter we’ve been thrilled to work with our long-standing friends at both Manipulate Festival and Knockengorroch for their 2024 events. Assisting with Manipulate Arts’ – formerly Puppet Animation Scotland – official rebranding ahead of their 40th year, and the launch of their 2024 Manipulate Festival programme this Autumn, we can’t wait to support their team in bringing a fantastic programme of animation, puppetry and visual theatre to the city in early 2024. Having previously collaborated before – including on a series of Autumn-to-Spring campaigns for their 25th festival-year celebrations in 2022/23 – Storytelling is working with the Holmes family and the wonderful Knockengorroch team again to bring their iconic music festival and new 2024 line-up back to the stunning hills of Dumfries and Galloway.
Manipulate Festival 2024: Ockham’s Razor (Credit: Kie Cummings)
With our team possessing a spread of interests and talents – film; music; dance; performance art; community/charity work; theatre; comedy; poetry; and more – Storytelling also partnered with Take Me Somewhere Festival this year, to bring performance artist Louise Ahl’s highly unique, genre-bending ‘scented opera’ Skunk without k is Sun to Glasgow’s Tramway (20 – 21 October), in exploration of the alternative uses of audio description as sung material. We were also delighted to work with internationally acclaimed dancer and music enthusiast Elizabeth Schilling on her 100th-year celebration of Ligeti’s famous piano compositions, Hear Eyes Move: Dances with Ligeti – a sweeping, syncretic ‘concert-dance’ experience that took to stages in St Andrews and Aberdeen (17 & 21 October).
Hear Eyes Move – Dances with Ligeti (Credit: Bohumil KOSTOHRYZ)
On our home turf in Edinburgh, we returned to work with our good friends at Stellar Quines on their beautiful new theatre show, Disciples: a brand-new production devised in collaboration with five women/non binary performers who identify as D/deaf and disabled, which explored themes of power and joy at the Traverse Theatre (5 – 7 October) and Northern Stage (7 – 8 November), co-directed by Rachel Drazek and Ellen Renton.
Working with Old School and Stories Untold Productions in association with Neil McPherson for Finborough Theatre, the Storytelling team also worked on John McKay’s Dead Dad Dog (3 October – 4 November) to celebrate the hilarious, stirring Scottish two-hander returning to the stage for its first professional revival after its original critically acclaimed run over 35 years ago. In September and October, we also worked with the brilliant Glasgow-based Solar Bear’s triple bill of visual theatre, WAKE UP – designed to be bold, thought-provoking, and accessible to both deaf and hearing audiences.
In new partnerships, our team is thrilled to work with Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Music School – Scotland’s only specialist music school that admits students solely based on musical talent. Working first to announce acclaimed musicians and members of staff Robert Baxter and John Cameron’s new positions within the School in Sept & Oct, we’ve also loved working on their upcoming annual Christmas Concert at the beautiful and historic St Cuthbert’s Parish Church just off Princes Street (18 Nov), and planning for further brilliant events in 2024. Also looking to music in 2024, we’re delighted to partner with Lepus Productions and Martin Green on their current KELI project – including a brilliant audio drama (available to stream online now); ‘Split the Air’ album; and early 2024 Celtic Connections performance.
In other Christmas news, we’re also assisting Summerhall with their Big Christmas Weekend of fun to usher in the festivities to Edinburgh (1 – 3 Dec); and have had the pleasure of working with our year-round friends at The Lyceum theatre on their much-anticipated, sparkling Christmas play and classic adaptation of The Snow Queen (23 Nov – 31 Dec).
For us girls of colour making half notes into song when the haar is all (Credit: Christina Brownlee Fox)
A year-round partner, late 2023 has seen us also work with The Lyceum on two beautiful theatre works: Apphia Campbell’s Through the Mud (2 – 4 Nov) a poignant story of two women 42 years apart as they become involved in the struggle for civil rights – For us girls of colour making half notes into song when the haar is all (26 Oct), an in-development co-production, by Hannah Lavery and Stellar Quines, based on responses to Ntozake Shange’s iconic choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, in support of female performers and voices of colour.
Moving away from Scotland, we’ve also continued our work with the Darkfield who brought their thrilling binaural sound experience Séance to Wales this October/November for a Halloween scare. In London, we’ve been telling everyone that yes – The Butch is Back! – to bring our long-term friend Rueben Kaye’s hilarious, glittering, cabaret-music extravaganza to the Southbank Centre (8 – 30 Dec). We’re also loving working on Kat Rose-Martin and Vicky Moran’s nostalgic noughties play £1 Thursdays – an exploration of friendship when set against two very different backgrounds and set of circumstances, playing at the Finborough Theatre (28 Nov – 22 Dec). A long-term Storytelling pal, the team has also reconnected with the wonderful Katherina Radeva of Two Destination Language to bring her glorious, storytelling dance-and-radical-movement show 40:40 on tour across the UK following a brilliant 2022 Festival Fringe and smaller Spring tour. In an emotive, irreverent project, we’ve loved providing support in bringing Fake Escape and Joakim Daun’s The Boy to Soho Theatre this Autumn/Winter – a research-based play in exploration of family, migration, and the boundless power of human connection (17th Oct – 4th Nov).
£1 Thursdays (Credit: Alex Brenner)
We love what we do, and we’re so lucky to have had such a rewarding set of partnerships, experiences, projects, and performances on our plate this year. As we look to 2024 and the future, keep your eyes peeled for what we embark on next – and expect lots of excitement.
The Storytelling PR team x