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Arts / Musician and storyteller unite to explore whaling heritage

Jan Bee Brown (left) and Renzo Spiteri.

SHETLAND-based creatives Renzo Spiteri and Jan Bee Brown will “transform the tale of the whale” through a new series of community storytelling events this month.

Titled Leviathan, this new immersive journey bears witness to 200 years of stories and songs of Shetland’s former whaling industry, reinterpreting things through story and music.

Through a series of inclusive and intergenerational community workshops and performances, Leviathan traces this transition to today’s eco tourism by sharing the stories and songs of the women and the men that have shaped Shetland’s whaling tales.

Percussionist Renzo Spiteri is a creative musician with a performance career spanning more than 30 years, performing in international festivals and venues.

Jan Bee Brown is a collaborative artist, storyteller and shanty-woman who specialises in creating bespoke, inclusive performances through stories and song.

Leviathan will be touring five community venues in Shetland between 14 and 29 October, gathering and sharing local stories and “creatively interrogating the tales and songs that have shaped Shetland’s whaling heritage”.

In addition to evening performances, the events in Bigton, North Roe and Mid Yell will also feature community workshops consisting of story and music making, and during which folk are invited to share local stories of whaling heritage.

Dementia friendly performances will be held at Scalloway Public Hall and Hoswick Visitor Centre.

All events are open to participants of all abilities and ages, and entry is free as part of this year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival, supporting Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

Booking through, by email ( or phone (07455225440) is recommended.

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