Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

This area is known as The Netherbow, which is the halfway point on the Royal Mile from Edinburgh's medieval gateway.  The John Knox house dates from 1470.  

According to their Web Site, "As the headquarters of the Network, the Centre strives to reinforce Scotland's vigorous contribution to a worldwide revival of interest in storytelling and storytelling traditions".

The Storytelling Centre collaborates with schools, libraries, local authorities, businesses, environmental agencies, and community groups.  The Centre has a partnership with the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Storytelling Forum.  It is funded by the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund, the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, as well as donations.

The Scottish Storytelling Forum would be useful for librarians and educators to get an international perspective on the value and use of storytelling in education.  The Center features the John Knox House, Edinburgh's oldest  house, Scotland's Stories; a permanent exhibition about "rich story heritage from folktale and traditional to modern bestsellers" and the Netherbow Theatre, a 99-seat multi-media theatre.  The Center also houses the George Mackay Brown Education Suite and Resource Centre.  Professional development workshops, a library of storytelling resources and publications as well as exhibits include some services offered.  The library is in a small space, seating up to 35 with other rooms holding up to 155 people, depending upon function.   Materials feature hand-written resources by storytellers and information on stories, the John Knox House and storytelling in Scotland.  Groups can book different size rooms for readings, school visits or conferences.  The rooms are fully equipped and very modern.  Visit www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk for more information.    I took an incredible storytelling class at Queen's College, with award winning storyteller, author and educator Bill Gordh-about interactive learning and the art of storytelling. Best library class ever, maybe I should be a children's librarian after all...This center had me recalling the stories I learned and performed and wanting to get on stage! 

Event's range from a Children's Theatre like a Teddy Bears' Picnic for children 6 month- 3 years to hosting 'Summer Nights Guid Crack' a storytelling event at a local bar.  Live music, a pint, and storytelling, if you'd like to join in.  They are of course very active during the Fringe Festival, which I just missed.  It is a huge arts festival that supposedly transforms Edinburgh for three weeks.  The storytelling Centre also hosts a Tour by bike, films, Mobile shows, Music and song, Puppet Theatre, Historical Theatre and competitions. 

The John Knox House was very interesting with stone spiral staircase, lots of original oak paneling and floor boards, tiled fireplaces and a painted ceiling on the top floor. I picture this as a great field trip to incorporate primary resources and allow students to visualize Scottish history. 

There is an interactive module that allows disabled patrons to experience the second and third floors.  At the time of my visit, this was not functioning.  The interactive exhibit pictured below allows patrons to handle original artifacts.

There were a lot of interesting aspects to the house, such as this lock below.  It seems like everything was designed to keep out intruders.  This lock is intended to trick people from getting in by hiding the real lock behind this hinge.  If there was no sign, it is something I would completely missed.  I guess they did a good job! Also, there is one step that is higher, and it is said this is to trip strangers that were not invited!!

Visit them at http://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk/

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