Scotland's Year of Stories Project: Family Encounters - New Stories Strand

Two new stories were performed at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh for the International Children's Festival. "Where are you?" by Theatre Sans Accents was inspired by classic children’s tales such as Redwall and The Animals of the Farthing Wood, in which animals take on human characteristics and fight their animal instincts to face adversity together and survive. Performers explained how the performance aims to ‘put the audience in the place of migrants, moving from place to place’, adding that: ‘It’s about co-operation, collaboration and communication. It shows how despite language barriers there is a lot more that binds us together than divides us’ ... We wanted to create a piece that felt inclusive of children and young people, where they could be active participants rather than just sitting down and watching it.’ The performance had a game-like interactive structure using multiple spaces across the Museum building. The second story by Sanjay Lago and Diljeet Kaur Bhachu featured live Indian flute and snippets of kathak dance, detailing the life of a war-time refugee from India. This piece was performed in the Patterns of Life space at the Museum, which features a map of the world and where exhibits include a traditional Indian costume. The performer, Sanjay, interacted with these displays and through his story teaches audiences about the partition of India and the migration that followed. Flautist Diljeet Kaur Bhachu, in beautiful traditional dress, accompanies the performance with melodies that eventually inspire the young boy character to find peace and a sense of home in his new adopted country.

Sanjay explains: ‘The idea came from this year being the 75th anniversary of the Partition of India. Whilst Edinburgh in the West was celebrating the beginning of the Fringe festival and EIF, across the seas a country was being ripped apart. As a South Asian artist in Scotland, I feel this is a piece of history that is under-represented in the British education system. I wanted to share a fun experience for young audiences that brought the magic of Indian culture together with the over-arching theme of displacement. With it being the Year of Stories, I wanted to share stories of Partition in a place that glorifies historical artefacts but often doesn’t acknowledge the ways in which these were acquired.’

In developing the performance Sanjay discovered many stories of connection between India and Scotland that were new to him. He reflects: ‘I discovered a lot about the historical impact which India has had on Scotland, yet this is not widely shared.’

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

Key Facts


Time of Year:

Activity Type:

Material Items:

Financial Support:


Connect With Us