The strongest tales are those from our past. Folk tales have survived being passed down through generations, and traditionally would have been told by people as an attempt to explain the world around them. These stories reflect the beliefs, hopes and fears of our ancestors and now offer an insight into a different way of life. Although similar themes and tales crop up all over Britain, each region has developed its own unique mythology, form shape-shifting kelpies haunting Scottish rivers to the pobel vean, the tribe of faeires known as the small people, lingering in the West Country.
As well as often ending with a moral or lesson, in the days before technology it was important that folk tales were highly entertaining. Today going to a storytelling performance is a special experience, and offers something you can’t get from TV: interaction, energy and spontaneity. As ever more sophisticated technology continues to permeate and aid our lives, we hold on to these sustaining experiences and stories to connect to our past and to each other.
The History Press has become known as the premier contemporary resource for British folk tales. We are delighted to be associated with the Society for Storytelling, the Scottish Storytelling Forum and Storytellers of Ireland, and the excellent work they do in upholding and reviving traditional stories and culture.
Since 1993, the Society for Storytelling has championed the ancient art of oral storytelling and its long and honourable history – not just as entertainment, but also in education, health, and inspiring and changing lives. Storytellers, enthusiasts and academics support and are supported by this registered charity to ensure the art is nurtured and developed throughout the UK. Many activities of the Society are available to all, such as locating storytellers on the Society website, taking part in our annual National Storytelling Week at the start of every February, purchasing our quarterly magazine Storylines, or attending our Annual Gathering – a chance to revel in engaging performances, inspiring workshops, and the company of like-minded people. You can also become a member of the Society to support the work we do. In return, you receive free access to Storylines, discounted tickets to the Annual Gathering and other storytelling events, the opportunity to join our mentorship scheme for new storytellers, and more. Among our great deals for members is a 30% discount off titles from The History Press. For more information, including how to join, please visit www.sfs.org.uk
The Scottish Storytelling Centre is delighted to be associated with the Folk Tales series developed by The History Press. Its talented storytellers continue the Scottish tradition, revealing the regional riches of Scotland in these volumes. These include the different environments, languages and cultures encompassed in our big wee country. The Scottish Storytelling Centre provides a base and communications point for the national storytelling network, along with national networks for Traditional Music and Song and Traditions of Dance, all under the umbrella of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland). See www.scottishistorytellingcentre.co.uk for further information. The Traditional Arts community of Scotland is also delighted to be working with all the nations and regions of Great Britain and Ireland through the Folk Tales series.
Ireland is famed throughout the world for the art of storytelling. The Seancaithe and Scéalaí, the tradition bearers and storytellers passed the old stories down through the generations. Today, in the 21st century, there has been a revival of the ancient art. Founded in 2003, Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann is an all-Ireland voluntary organisation with charitable status. Its aim is to promote the practice, study and knowledge of oral storytelling in Ireland through the preservation and perpetuation of traditional storytelling and the development of storytelling as a contemporary art. Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann foster storytelling skills among all age groups, from all cultural backgrounds. It also aims to explore new contexts for storytelling in public places – in schools, community centres and libraries, in care centres and prisons, in theatres, arts centres and at festivals throughout the entire island of Ireland. See www.storytellersofireland.org for further information.