Sensing Stories

An opportunity for disabled people based in Scotland to develop storytelling skills and share their stories in a live setting.

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Meet the Storytellers – click to jump to section

Sensing Stories: Development – click to jump to section

Sensing Stories: Performance – click to jump to section


Working in partnership with Scottish International Storytelling Festival and Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland Sensing Stories is designed for disabled people who aspire to develop their storytelling skills, who might have one or more of the following interests:

  • An interest in live performance, but not necessarily theatre
  • An interest in developing a new artistic and life learning skill
  • An interest in finding new ways of expression, be it personal or artistic
  • An interest in engaging with a creative community and performance network throughout Scotland

The theme of this project is Sensing Stories, using the five basic human senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, to inspire stories waiting to be told.

What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is at the root of human connection. Our stories are the threads which connect us to each other, but are also expressions of our differences. Storytelling stimulates the imagination and builds a sense of community between tellers and listeners, helping us understand our environment and personal experiences. The stories of disabled people have historically been missing from Scottish culture – BOP and SISF are passionate about ensuring these stories are heard more widely.

Sesning Stories is divided into two sections: Development & Performance

Development: Through a series of workshops, participants will learn some simple storytelling skills and gain the confidence to start their creative storytelling journey.

Performance: After completing the workshops, participants will be invited to share their work-in-progress stories at a closed event.

Sensing Stories is led by professional storyteller Dougie Mackay.

Please follow this link to learn more about Dougie.

“Dougie was wonderful”
Storytelling participant

Meet the Storytellers

Left – Right: Carol Fraser, Ruth Rankin, Sorcha Pringle, Zara Todd

Sensing Stories : Development

The development phase of Sensing Stories consists of three group skills workshops, an individual 1:1 session.

The three group workshops included a practical introduction to live storytelling and the associated skills, and will include the chance to perform and receive feedback. These three workshops are scheduled as follows:

Session 1Tuesday 17 November2pm – 4pm
Session 2Tuesday 1 December2pm – 4pm
Session 3Tuesday 15 December2pm – 4pm

In early 2021 each participant received a 1:1 individual tutorial with Dougie. This was an opportunity for the storytellers to get further guidance through a focussed 1:1 mentoring session with Dougie, where they began to focus on preparing a short work-in-progress piece to share in the performance section.

“Unfortunately covid limited how much I could explore immersive storytelling but I am very happy with the program.”
Storyteller participant

Sensing Stories : Performance

During the early stages of planning this project (September 2020) it had been our hope that the performance element may be able to be held live in person but sadly that was not possible.

Instead, each storyteller took part in a digital storytelling event that was open to the public. The event was hosted by Dougie, who invited each storyteller in turn to take the (digital) floor, and share the story they had been working with him, with everyone gathered there.

“I wish been able to explore more in immersive elements of storytelling but I’m happy with what I learnt considering working remotely.”
Storyteller participant