Interviwes with Storytellers - Fergus McNicol

Fergus McNicolFergus McNicol is performing at the Settle Storytelling Festival 2011. He joins Mio Shapley for Kamishibai Capers and also performs at the Ghost Stories evening.

Fergus comes from Cumbernauld near Glasgow and spent a few years growing up in Jedburgh too. He is married to Claire and they have a four year old daughter called Freyja. They now live in Edinburgh overlooking Edinburgh Castle, a great inspiration for this stories!

How long have you been telling stories and where do you perform?

I started telling stories in the States when teaching at an environmental centre in 1992... my 20th year is coming up! I tell stories in all kinds of places... schools, theatres, libraries... but my favourite place is in a fog horn on the Isle of May, an island full of puffins off the coast of Fife. I've been lucky to get the chance to tell stories there a few times now.

Why did you become a storyteller?

A lot of encouragement from my wife Claire who is a very fine storyteller... I didn't have much choice!

Where do you get your stories from?

I listen to a lot of other storytellers, from books and some I create myself. I've learned a lot from the books of Rosemary Sutcliff.

What advice do you have for aspiring storytellers?

Learn and tell stories that interest you, rather than choosing ones that you think are the right kind of story to learn... If you like the story it'll come easy.

Who is your favourite storyteller?

My wife Claire McNicol who tells beautiful seal stories, Mio Shapley... she's unique, and Ron Fairweather, one of the funniest storytellers I've ever seen! I'm lucky to live and work with fabulous storytellers! 

What is your favourite story?

The Japanese tale Momotaro... it's simple but just fantastic.

Who is your favourite folklore/ mythological character and why?

Cu Chulainn...At 14 I got hooked on Irish mythology, Finn McCool and Cu Chulainn. That's when I really got interested in stories. I liked superheroes at this point but Cu Chulainn blew them all away! 

How do you relax?

Watching football, particularly watching Partick Thistle play (this is not relaxing!) and getting out on my bike.