Fairy tales in the forest part of storytelling feast

Storyteller Marty Ross at the Roots of Arran sign.

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Sunday June 19 will see the launch of Arran’s major contribution to 2022 VisitScotland’s Year Of Stories.

Arran storyteller Marty Ross will be on the green outside Brodick’s old post office at 2pm to lead anyone interested on a story-telling walk up the hill into the beautiful broad-leaved woodland maintained by island charity Roots of Arran.

It is a setting – with its ancient trees, tree maze, fairy ‘trees’ and sculptures, pond and hut – that could have come straight out of a fairy tale and thus the perfect place for what will be the first theatrical performance of a very Scottish variant on the Beauty and The Beast, featuring as its ‘beast’ a hairy coo.

After this launch, there will be four performances every week, right through the summer until September 9, all funded by a grant from VisitScotland and thus free to attend.

On Sunday and Thursday afternoons at 2pm Ross will perform fairy tales, while on Wednesday and Friday evenings at 6.30pm, he will perform more adult supernatural tales.

These include his own story Dryad, a dramatic piece of ‘eco-Gothic’ about uncanny and dangerous events surrounding the attempt to drive a path for a dual carriageway through an ancient woodland.

Marty has an established career as a dramatist for the BBC, Audible and Glasgow’s Oran Mor Theatre but Arran folk will know of this other string to his bow as a live storyteller by way of popular shows at Whiting Bay Village Hall, the Cladach Gin House and a regular slot on ArranSound radio.

VisitScotland’s funding, however, makes this one of the most ambitious storytelling projects in all Scotland – an attempt, in effect, to create an outdoor storytelling theatre with a full scale summer season; stories will vary in a repertory system so audience members can make more than one trip.

It should, obviously, have appeal to the island’s summer visitors but Marty and Roots of Arran are keen, likewise, for islanders to look on this as a crucial entertainment resource for themselves, young or old.

Although shows are free and audiences can participate simply by showing up at the meeting point, they are encouraged to book a place in advance, either on 01770 700338 or by emailing marty.ross.writer@gmail.com, as the performances involve walking on woodland tracks and so numbers of participants will be limited.

This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund, delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.