Past Events


Storytelling Workshop: Telling Tales from Our Own Cultures

The Elphinstone Institute is partnering with the Scottish Storytelling Centre to host a two-part storytelling workshop for people who have moved to Scotland from other countries

Scotland is renowned for its talented storytellers, and we’re hoping to add to that number! Have you moved to Scotland from a different country? Are you interested in traditional tale telling? Do you like sharing your culture with other people and learning about other cultures?

If you answered yes, please join us for a free two-part workshop in storytelling, with the first being on Saturday, 7 November, 2–4pm, and the follow-up workshop being on Saturday21 November, 2–4pm.

Register quickly, as there is a limited allocation of twenty spots, but please ensure you can join us for BOTH workshops before registering.

The first workshop will be hosted by esteemed storyteller and North-East Makar, Sheena Blackhall. In this workshop you will be introduced to some traditional tales from the North-East of Scotland before we discuss the role of storytelling in our own lives and cultures. This will be a chance to share stories in a friendly and safe setting, and explore what storytelling is all about.

The second workshop will be hosted by Pauline Cordiner, a wonderfully talented tale-teller who regularly regales Aberdonians with her gripping stories. This workshop is designed to give you the confidence to tell tales from your own cultures. In this session we discuss what makes a good storyteller, and share some tips about ways to make your tales as captivating as possible.

The wider goal of these workshops is to encourage people to share their culture with others in the North-East. Everyone has tales to tell, and we want to encourage people to share their tales with pride and enthusiasm. We are keen to host future storytelling events featuring tellers who have moved to Scotland from elsewhere, and we look forward to meeting some of you budding storytellers in our workshops!


The Elphinstone Institute hosts an annual Aberdeen event as part of the widely acclaimed Scottish International Storytelling Festival, organised by our friends at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

This year's event will be on Monday, 12 October 2020, 7.00-10.00pm via Zoom

Sinister an Spooky Stories fae the North-East

part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival Go Local | External Event

Five of the North-East's finest storytellers explore the region's darker side in a collaborative online evening of sinsister and spooky stories. Join us to learn of the North-East's ghosts and ghoulies, its witches and warlocks. But don't just listen - we want you to share your own tales too. Whether you're from the North-East or whether you've moved to Scotland from elsewhere, we want to know the spooky stories you've grown up with, or maybe even experienced yourself. The event is open to all brave souls.

With Jackie Ross, Grace Banks, Sheena Blackhall, Pauline Cordiner and Diana Peers.

Entry is free but donations will be gratefully accepted. For more information, email us at







Beyond Words - Scottish International StorytellingThe Elphinstone Institute hosts an annual Aberdeen event as part of the widely acclaimed Scottish International Storytelling Festival, organised by our friends at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

This year's event will be on Thursday, 24 October 2019 and we are pleased to host Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, storyteller from the Na-cho Nyak Dun First Nation in the Yukon, Canada.

Louise was nurtured by the traditional stories of her grandmother and has dedicated her life to collect stories by many more elders in the northern Yukon. Let her share this treasure with you, while she takes you to the outskirts of the Arctic Circle.


Castle of Stone and Sea: The Life, Songs, and Stories of a Nineteenth-Century Breton Woman

In partnership with the Scottish Storytelling Centre

Photo credit Véronique Le GoffLinklater Rooms – Free Admission

One of Brittany’s most acclaimed voices, Marthe Vassallo, shares emotions and awe as she retraces, via a treasure trove of documents, the life, song, and personality of an ‘obscure’ 19th-century woman, Maryvonne Le Flem. A story of poverty, pride, and mysterious islands, celebrating the power of speech and song.

Maryvonne would be a forgotten name in a registry, were it not for her encounter with Breton writer and folklorist, Anatole Le Braz, and musician Maurice Duhamel: the former collected pages and pages of her traditional songs and her stories, and gradually became a true friend of hers; the latter published over 60 of her tunes in his vast collection of traditional Breton music. It took Marthe Vassallo's curiosity, one century later, to find that all this corpus, as well as a portrait she had found, depicted the same person – and a fiercely interesting person at that.

Marthe Vassallo is hailed as one of the greatest voices in today's Breton music. A versatile artist, whose interests range from opera to many kinds of stage performance, she remains true to Breton traditional singing, collaborating with singers and musicians such as Gilles Le Bigot and Jean-Michel Veillon, the Bagad Kemper, Annie Ebrel, Nolùen Le Buhé, Philippe Ollivier and dance music band Loened Fall. In the past few years she has also become more visible as a writer. Her book+ CD Les Chants du Livre Bleu was distinguished in 2016 by the prestigious Académie Charles Cros.


Scottish International Storytelling Festival - Aberdeen Event

This event is co-sponsored by the Elphinstone Institute and the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and is part of the 2017 Scottish International Storytelling Festival, 'Open Word–Open World'.


Open World - Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2017A continuing collaboration between Pakistani singer Sara Kazmi and Scotland-based musician Sarah Hayes joins an exchange of stories and poems between Pakistani poet Shazea Quraishi and Scottish storyteller Ian Stephen. Enjoy a lively journey in music, song, story, and poetry from the Isle of Lewis to Lahore.


Woman sitting outside looking downSara Kazmihails from Lahore, Punjab in Pakistan. She is a student of Indian classical music, and has been training as a vocalist for the past seven years in dhrupad and khayal singing. She has also been extensively involved with Punjabi street theatre, an experience that heavily inspired her use of folk forms in her performance. Sara enjoys singing the Punjabi kafi, a popular poetic form that draws on the oral tradition of the region.


Woman in green standing in front of ivy-covered wallSarah Hayes is a flute player and singer from Northumberland. Based in Glasgow since 2005, she leads a busy and varied musical life performing, writing and recording with Admiral Fallow, Rachel Newton Band, Wildings, Alistair Anderson & Northlands, Sara Kazmi, Inge Thomson and more. Sarah’s debut album Woven – a studio reimagining of her Celtic Connections New Voices commission – has received widespread acclaim since its release in November 2015.


Face of woman looking into cameraShazea Quraishi is a Pakistani-born Canadian poet, playwright and translator based in London.  Her poems have been published in the UK and US in publications including The Financial Times, Poetry Review and Modern Poetry in Translation. Her collection, The Art of Scratching, was published by Bloodaxe Books in May 2015 and she is developing a play based on her poetry chapbook 'The Courtesans Reply'. Shazea teaches with English PEN, Translators in Schools and The Poetry School.


Man in back telling stories before sculpture of boat

Ian Stephen is from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and still lives there though he travels widely as a sailor as well as a performer, author and tutor. A graduate of Aberdeen University, Ian is a writer and storyteller as well as a volunteer skipper with traditional boat trusts on Lewis. His storytelling is indebted to his connections with the maritime world, developed during a Creative Scotland project to navigate through Scotland’s sea stories. He now passes on Lewis stories, some previously unrecorded and researches and revives Hebridean stories. He is the author of Western Isles Folk Tales, (The History Press, 2015), illustrated by Christine Morrison who also collaborated on his current book, Waypoints - Seascapes and Stories of Scotland's West Coast, (Adlard Coles Nautical/Bloomsbury, 2017). His poetry and fiction is published in many countries. A selected poems, Maritime, is published by Saraband, who also published his novel, A Book of Death and Fish.

2012 - 2016

2016 – Diaries of the Forest: Storytelling from the Amazon – Brazilian anthropologist and storyteller Betty Mindlin shares stories of her fieldwork and some of the myths of the Suruí Paiter from Rondônia in western Brazil.

2015 – If Stones Could Speak: Irish Tales from Liz Weir – Renowned storyteller Liz Weir comes to Aberdeen to share stories from her native Northern Ireland.

2014 – Stories and their Stories – Two of Scotland’s most celebrated storytellers, Lawrence Tulloch (Shetland) and Tom Muir (Orkney), in a night of exceptional stories from the Northern Isles.

2013 – Never-Ending Tales – An evening of traditional Traveller tales from the talented Aberdeen-born storyteller Tony Robertson.

2012 – Stories and Songs of Poland – Two of Poland’s most celebrated storytellers, Małgorzata Litwinowicz and Michał Malinowski, tell traditional stories from Poland and other countries.