Arran is set to gain its own outdoor storytelling theatre this Summer as locals and visitors are treated to a series of free traditional storytelling walks from June to September, delivered by professional storyteller and Arran-resident Marty Ross.
As part of Scotland’s Year of Stories and under the auspices of Roots of Arran – the community woodland above Brodick – local storyteller Ross will lead four storytelling walks per week, a mix of light-hearted daytime fairy tales and more adult-oriented ‘eco-Gothic’ stories in the evenings. The mobile performances will cover 3 miles. Audiences are invited to meet outside Brodick’s Old Post Office and walk to the upper reaches of the atmospherically landscaped woodland – one of the island’s secret treasures – before returning to the starting point in the middle of town.
Marty Ross has a well-established career as a writer of audio drama for the likes of BBC Radio and Audible, with productions including original work such as ‘Romeo And Jude’ and ‘The Darkwater Bride’, as well as dramatizations of classics like ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. As an experienced performer of his own work, he has delivered acclaimed performances in both traditional theatre settings – at festivals including Edinburgh Fringe and London Horror Festival – and less conventional spaces. He is currently resident storyteller on the island’s radio station, ArranSound.
Marty Ross says, “There’s an opportunity here to put Arran on the map as one of Scotland’s centres for traditional storytelling, a place you come to enjoy this very particular kind of dramatic performance, as folk might go to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare. But we need the support both of the local community and our seasonal visitors, for them to embrace this as part of their island’s cultural life – and to embrace the idea that storytelling isn’t solely for kids but can be as mature and complex a form of drama as the grittiest film or TV or conventional theatre.”
The performances will also help to introduce the Roots of Arran Community Woodland – an area of forestry clear-fell transformed by volunteers into a tranquil broadleaf woodland – to islanders and visitors. This special landscape, which is often overlooked even by locals, includes ancient ‘veteran’ beech trees dating back hundreds of years and a hidden tree maze and will form the perfect backdrop for this series of magical and mysterious tales.
Four storytelling walks will run each week from 19th June to 9th September – afternoon fairy tales on Sundays and Thursdays, evening ghostly tales on Wednesdays and Fridays. Performances are free (though donations can be made on the day to Roots of Arran) and tickets can be booked in advance via Eventbrite.
This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.