Category Archives: NEWS

NEWS: 120 young people from Edinburgh create multi-artform production during Covid

Strange Town, one of Scotland’s leading theatre companies for young people, is delighted to announce that their large scale multi-artform project – theatre, movement, spoken word, film, sound – ‘Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten’, will culminate in a live promenade performance and video installation event at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh, on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 June 2021.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions throughout the five-month project, Strange Town’s most ambitious production to date has involved more than 120 of Edinburgh’s young people (aged 8 -18), with support from the company’s emerging playwrights (aged 18-25) and directors; and guided and mentored by industry professionals.

Using the stimulus, ‘Can Young People Change the World?’, ‘Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten’ has been created by, and will be performed by, members of the eight Strange Town Youth Theatre Groups from across the city.  The members of Strange Town Youth Theatre responded to the stimulus with work addressing a range of topics including isolation, technology, identity, generational division, Black Lives Matter, climate change, ideal society/world, protest, kindness, having your voice heard and Covid-19.

In order to maximise the opportunities audiences will have to experience the live performance and video installation, the 60-minute promenade event will be presented to 20 socially distanced audience members three times a night in three separate spaces.  The whole audience will come together to experience a live performance from just six actors before being split into two separate groups to watch film and listen to audio material.

Additionally, a site specific eight-minute video will be projected on a wall next to the St. Andrew, Ukrainian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Pochaev, on Dalmeny Street, which will include a specially choreographed movement piece.  This will also be be a ticketed event for socially distanced audiences.

On 26 and 27 June there will be an opportunity to pay to view a film of the live event together with a variety of additional video, audio and written material developed by the groups.

Funded by Creative Scotland’s Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development Programme, through the National Lottery, ‘Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten’ has been developed flexibly in response to the ever-changing situation caused by the pandemic.

The eight groups have met for weekly online digital drama workshops and face-to-face creative sessions, where possible, to explore the question and to create, write, film and record material.  The groups have also worked together with members of the new Strange Town Young Writers Group who have both developed the work the groups have devised and written their own additional scenes. As well as theatre, choreography and movement has played a big part in the project.  70 young people from the company got involved in a professionally choreographed movement piece, reflecting on the stimulus.  This involved Zoom rehearsals and everybody recording their final performance on their mobile phones.

Rehearsals for the live performance are now underway with a drastically reduced number of actors working to strict guidelines, while video and sound design and editing is nearing completion

The Creative Scotland funding has also enabled Strange Town to employ a full technical team and additional production staff that include film editors, projection mappers, sound designers, a choreographer and production designer.

Steve Small, co-creative director of Strange Town and producer of ‘Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten’, said: “The Gen Z project is a testament to the hard work put in by everybody involved in the company. Despite the challenges and difficulties of the pandemic, watching the enthusiasm, skill and pride with which the production team has undertaken this task and having seen how the young people have adapted and risen to the challenge, as well as the range and quality of the work they’ve produced, it’s impossible not to feel massively encouraged. Despite the dark days of the lockdown restrictions, we hope better days are coming. People will always find a way to be creative.

“Thanks to the funding from Creative Scotland, Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten’s mix of indoor and outdoor and digital work means that everyone will be able to enjoy it wherever they are. We hope it will create some much-needed hope and enjoyment for 2021.”

NEWS: CAPITAL THEATRES WELCOMES AUDIENCES BACK TO THEIR VENUES FROM 29 JUNE 2021

Capital Theatres have confirmed they will open their doors from 29 June 2021 welcoming the first in-person audiences to their venues in 15 months. Audiences can enjoy a series of socially distanced performances over the summer alongside enhanced COVID safety measures, working towards a full programme of events from the autumn onwards.

Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres said:

“After closing our doors on 16 March and ‘going dark’ for longer than any of us would ever have imagined; we’re delighted to be able to welcome our audiences back into our theatres. We’ve worked closely with Scottish Government and the wider theatre industry to ensure that audiences can feel safe, comfortable and secure as they return to the joy of live performance. Our summer programme, using socially distanced seating plans, will build the confidence of audience, staff and artists alike as we look forward to a full programme of events this autumn, bringing you all the thrilling variety and entertainment which Capital Theatres is famous for.”

  • The Festival Theatre will open on 29 June with Blindness, a theatrical sound installation from the Donmar Warehouse with the voice of Juliet Stephenson. After sell-out runs in London and New York, an Edinburgh audience will experience this unique event on the Festival Theatre stage itself.

 

  • In July the Festival Theatre will play host to Zog; Caitlin Moran: More Than A Woman LIVE!; Silent Cinema: A Night of Laurel & Hardy; Rosie Kay: Absolute Solo II; all on socially distanced seating plans in line with the latest government guidance.

 

  • In August Scottish Opera will come to the Festival Theatre with Falstaff as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

 

  • The King’s Theatre will reopen with spy thriller A Splinter of Ice starring Oliver Ford Davies (Game of Thrones, Star Wars) as Graham Greene, Stephen Boxer (The Crown) as Kim Philby.

 

  • Both venues will be fully programmed from September 2021 onwards. Highlights include Grease, The Play That Goes Wrong, Dirty Dancing, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Six, Wise Children’s Wuthering Heights, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, National Theatre of Scotland’s Orphans and The Enemy,  Stewart Lee and The Cher Show. All on sale now. They’re also looking forward to the return of our much-loved Christmas shows; The King’s Panto Sleeping Beauty and Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

 

  • Enhanced COVID safety measures will be in place to ensure audiences feel welcomed, safe and comfortable at all times when visiting the venues.

 

  • Capital Theatres has both We’re Good to Go accreditation from Visit Scotland and See it Safely accreditation from Society of London Theatres and UK Theatre.

 

All shows listed are on sale at: www.capitaltheatres.com

NEWS: AWARD-WINNING CHOREOGRAPHER ROSIE KAY RETURNS TO THE STAGE AFTER SIX YEARS

A triple bill of solos, looking backwards and forwards at Kay’s personal experience as an older female in dance, will be performed at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh on Saturday 24 July.

21 years on from her first-ever solo show, Absolute Solo, which she performed in the 1999 Edinburgh Festival, and six years since last appearing on stage herself, Edinburgh-born Kay returns to performing with a triple bill of solos. Her new work, Adult Female Dancer, was created in the 2020 lockdown and explores the deep emotional connection between her life and dance. Now, as an older dancing female, she has something to say about the female body and the experience of being female and being on stage. Part autobiography, part socio-anthropological study, Kay uses ideas of performance, identity, sex, and gender to explore her new dancing spirit.

The triple bill also includes an archive film of the international award-winning Patisserie (1999) and Kay’s first public performance of Artemis Clown (originally commissioned by Eliot Smith Dance Company).

As part of making Adult Female Dancer, she completed a five-day ‘virtual’ residency at C-DaRE, (Centre for Dance Research at the University of Coventry), where she spent time thinking about her own life and her own body as the material. As well as looking at themes in her 1999 debut solo works, she revisited her 1998 university dissertation that explored female solo choreographers of the early 20th Century. Using these early influences, Kay has also been looking at core feminist texts and their relevance to today’s society. Partly autobiographical, part meditation on the need to dance, Kay uses ideas of performance, identity, sex, and gender to explore her new dancing spirit.

Rosie Kay said: “Going back on stage again, after a break of many years has been an extraordinary experience. I used lockdown as a chance to rediscover my body, adapt it to dancing again, and mined my own life to create a new solo that is part autobiography, part celebration of a life dedicated to dance. I don’t shy away from the big stuff; life, death, violence, pain, and childbirth all come up, but ultimately there is deep joy in a life given to art. I use the music of Bach, Morricone, and Patti Smith as well as my own voiceover to tell my story. I wanted to say something deeply personal about being a woman on stage, as well as have a universal message that anyone can connect to and enjoy. The whole triple bill weaves themes of sex, performance, identity and vulnerability. It is scary and exciting to be finally showing these works to the world!”

Rosie Kay stopped performing in 2015, after a career spanning over thirty years on stage and has been happy to be behind the scenes for the past five years choreographing her critically acclaimed works 5 SOLDIERS, 10 SOLDIERS, MK ULTRA, and Fantasia amongst others. However, she has felt the draw to perform again, which was reignited when she had to stand in for one of the 5 SOLDIERS dancers on the company’s tour of the USA in February 2020.

 

NEWS: Jane McCarry & Colin McCredie to star in new outdoor production of The Wind in the Willows

Take a jaunt down to the banks of the River Tummel and join Mr. Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger on their magical adventures in Pitlochry Festival Theatre must-see, family, summer stage production of Kenneth Grahame’s enduring story of friendship, courage, consequence, and bravery – The Wind in the Willows.

Adapted for the stage by Mark Powell and performed in the spectacular setting of the banks of the River Tummel, The Wind in the Willows, runs from 2 July – 12 September.

When Mole wakes up after a particularly long winter, the whole world has changed around her. The riverbank seems to be bursting with new faces, fads, and fears. Luckily for Mole, with new friends like Rat, Badger and Mr Toad motoring along for the ride through the Wild Wood, life will never be sleepy again!

Playwright Mark Powell said:

“It’s been a treat spending lockdown with Mole and her friends and working out how to celebrate their classic adventure in a contemporary way. Knowing that audiences are also coming out of hibernation to join the animals on an actual riverbank will give our Willows an extra special sense of celebration!” 

Directors Elizabeth Newman and Ben Occhipinti added.

 “We think it is safe to say The Wind in the Willows by the brilliant Scottish novelist Kenneth Grahame, is one of the most loved family stories ever to be told, and retold. The characters have captivated audiences in theatres, on our screens and through the radio for many, many decades. As soon as we started pondering making work outdoors, it felt like we almost had to do The Wind in the Willows. After all, our beautiful Theatre sits on a Riverbank. As soon as we decided to tell this story, we leapt to commission the wonderful Mark Powell to write the adaptation. Some of the finest work we have seen made for families has been led by Mark. His humour, his love of life, his love of people – little and big – shines in everything he writes. 

We also felt producing The Wind in the Willows would give us a brilliant opportunity to continue to connect with new and established audiences we reached during the festive period when we made The Magic of Christmas.  As we have said, people love the story and right now it feels vital that PFT creates work for people of all ages to come together and experience a fantastic tale that makes them laugh and offers them a truly joyful afternoon or evening on the Riverbank! 

Audiences can expect all their favourite characters, new music and songs, dancing and Mr Toad exclaiming gleefully ‘Poop! Poop!’ from his motorcar for everyone in Highland Perthshire to hear.”

The production’s exciting cast will feature Jane McCarry (Isa Drennan in Still Game, BBC Scotland, and Granny Murray in Me Too! CBBC) as Badger; Colin McCredie (Taggart, ITV and River City , BBC Scotland) as Toad; Alicia McKenzie (Quality Street, Northern Broadsides and Blonde Bombshells of 1943, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) as Mole; Ali Watt (A Christmas Carol, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) as Ratty; Richard Colvin (Sunshine on Leith, UK tour and A Christmas Carol, Octagon Theatre Bolton) as Weasel; Connor Going (Footloose, UK tour and The Choir of Men, US and Australia tour) as Otter and Kate Milner-Evans (Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre and Crazy for You, Jamie Wilson Productions) as Rabbit. All other roles will be played by the cast.

Co-directed by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman (Adventures with the Painted People and Faith Healer, Pitlochry Festival Theatre) and Associate Director, Ben Occhipinti (Blonde Bombshells of 1943 and Summer Holiday, Pitlochry Festival Theatre), The Wind in the Willows promises to be a real family treat this summer.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s determination to keep capacity safely reduced, and committed adherence to social-distances, reduces the potential for, and impact of, crowded spaces and any overwhelming busy-ness. The late, light nights of the Scottish summertime mean shows will never be in darkness and any chatter or loud sounds will be mitigated naturally by the outdoor acoustics. Anyone that feels the need to take some time out of a Riverside show can do so, and then return when they feel ready. The outdoor spacious setting in the Bandstand area allows the ability to move around more freely – and in the Amphitheatre at the interval, there is a beautiful setting to get some space if needed. Staff will always be on-hand wearing a name badge for any questions or help needed.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is keeping things flexible so audiences can be too. They will honour no-hassle refunds and exchanges for any reason (including the weather!) if it is requested at least 24 hours before the performance time. So, audiences can book for summer with the confidence that if plans change, their tickets and money can too!

Tickets for The Wind in the Willows are priced from £9-£19. To book and for further information visit  www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com or call 01796 484626.

 

NEWS: Bedknobs and Broomsticks cast announced

DIANNE PILKINGTON to lead the company as Miss Eglantine Price,

the role immortalised on film by Angela Lansbury

CHARLES BRUNTON to play Emelius Browne

New musical directed by award-winning theatre-makers

Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison

Scottish Premiere at King’s Theatre, Glasgow

For tickets and all information, see www.bedknobsonstage.com

Michael Harrison has announced the cast for Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which will make its world premiere as an exciting new stage musical this Summer on a major UK & Ireland Tour.

Performances begin at Newcastle Theatre Royal on Saturday 14 August 2021, a Scottish Premiere at the King’s Theatre Glasgow in November, with the UK Tour recently extended through to May 2022. The tour includes a 5-week Christmas season at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Dianne Pilkington will star as Miss Eglantine Price, the mysterious lady that the three orphaned Rawlins children are evacuated from wartime London to live with. Dianne’s West End credits include Les Miserables, Wicked, Mamma Mia and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.

Charles Brunton will play Emelius Browne. Charles starred in the iconic role of Miss Trunchbull in Matilda both in the West End and on Broadway. Other credits include Love Never Dies, Chess and Scrooge.

The rest of the company includes Mark Anderson, Jessica Aubrey, Georgie Buckland, Kayla Carter, Jonathan Cobb, Jacqui Dubois, Matthew Elliot-Campbell, Sam Lupton, Rob Madge, Vinnie Monachello, Nathaniel Morrison, Conor O’Hara, Sadie-Jean Shirley, Robin Simoes Da Silva, Emma Thornett and Susannah Van Den Berg.

The Rawlins children will be played by Dexter Barry, Izabella Bucknell, Haydn Court, Poppy Houghton, Evie Lightman and Aidan Oti.

Enter a world of magic and fantasy with Disney’s classic movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks. With the original songs by the legendary Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), including Portobello Road, The Age Of Not Believing, The Beautiful Briny and new music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill, Bedknobs and Broomsticks will be brought to life by award-winning theatre-makers Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison.

When the three orphaned Rawlins children are reluctantly evacuated from wartime London to live with the mysterious Eglantine Price, they have no idea what adventures lie ahead. Upon discovering Eglantine to be a trainee witch, they join forces to search for a secret spell that will defeat the enemy once and for all. Armed with an enchanted bedknob, a bewitched broomstick and a magical flying bed, they encounter surprising new friendships on their journey from Portobello Road to the depths of the beautiful briny sea.

NEWS: Booking for Fat Friends – The Musical at the King’s is now open

Following the success of its first outing, Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – The Musical, returns to theatres, starring West End and TV favourite, Lee Mead.  This hugely entertaining musical is based on the hit TV show Fat Friends, that starred James Corden and Ruth Jones. Created and directed by the brilliant award winning Kay Mellor, (In the ClubGirlfriendsBand of Gold), whose latest hit series of The Syndicate has just run on BBC ONE and with original music and songs by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical reunites our favourite foodie friends as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local slimming club, whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams.

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Mon 7 – Sat 12 Feb 2022

BOOK HERE

NEWS: Cast announcement for Chicago tour

David Ian in association with Barry and Fran Weissler have announced that West End and TV star Darren Day will play ‘Billy Flynn’ in the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of the international musical sensation CHICAGO opening at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow on Saturday 11 September 2021. Darren joins the previously announced Faye Brookes as ‘Roxie Hart’, Sinitta as ‘Mama Morton’, Divina De Campo as ‘Mary Sunshine’, Djalenga Scott as ‘Velma Kelly’ and Joel Montague as ‘Amos Hart’.

The cast will also include Ishmail Aaron, Michelle Andrews, Gabby Antrobus, Delycia Belgrave, Joel Benjamin, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Daniel Clift, Callum Fitzgerald, Emily Goodenough, Billie Hardy, Aaron Jenkins, Liam Marcellino, Theo Reece, Hollie Jane Stephens and Harrison Wilde.

Darren Day’s many West End credits include the title role in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium, Tony Parker in Copacabana at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and Danny Zuko in Grease at the Cambridge Theatre. His UK touring theatre credits include the leading roles of Kashoggi in We Will Rock You, Frank n Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Tick in Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical and Don in Summer Holiday. Darren’s numerous TV credits include Danny Houston in Hollyoaks, David Wilde in Doctors and Will Morgan in Stella. He was a contestant on the very first series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and a finalist on Celebrity Big Brother.

Faye Brookes (Roxie Hart) recently reached the final of this year’s series of ITV’s Dancing On Ice. She is best known for her role as Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street, for which she won a National Television Award. Her theatre credits include Princess Fiona in Shrek and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, both on national tour, Ann/Edna in That Day We Sang directed by Victoria Wood at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Liesl in The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Frenchy in Grease at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre. Faye’s other TV credits include Agnes Franklin in Our Girl and Helena in Atlantis, both for the BBC.

Sinitta (Mama Morton) is an international recording artist having released 15 hit pop records including So Macho, Toyboy and Cross My Broken Heart. No stranger to the stage, she has appeared in the West End productions of Cats, Little Shop of Horrors, Hair, Smokey Joe’s Café and as the female lead in Mutiny! Since the mid-00s Sinitta has remained in the spotlight becoming a mentor to young emerging talent as Simon Cowell’s right-hand woman on The X Factor.

Divina De Campo (Mary Sunshine) is a seasoned British drag queen and singer who was recently crowned runner up on the first Series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Known for her high soprano and four -octave range, Divina has been featured on ITV’s The Voice and the BBC’s All Together Now.

 Djalenga Scott’s (Velma Kelly) West End credits include Lily St Regis in Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London and Chicago at the Adelphi, Cambridge and Garrick Theatres. Her other credits include Anita in the national tour of West Side Story, Rizzo in Grease at Curve Leicester, Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show and Carmen in Fame, both on European tours, the US tour of Batman Live and Bombalurina in Cats at Kilworth House. Djalenga’s screen credits include Scarlett/Esme in Trapped for the BBC and Alexandra in the film I Give It A Year.

Joel Montague (Amos Hart) most recently appeared as Ogie in the West End production of Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre and Mendel in Falsettos at The Other Palace. His many other West End credits include School of Rock at the New London Theatre, Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre and Menier Chocolate Factory, Urinetown at the Apollo and St James Theatres and Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace. His UK touring credits include Fat Friends The Musical, Sister Act The Musical, and Eddie and Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show. He also played Gangster 2 in Kiss Me, Kate at the Sheffield Crucible and Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls at the Theatre Marigny in Paris.

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.

Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, CHICAGO’s sexy, sassy score includes the show-stopping songs “Razzle Dazzle”, “Cell Block Tango”, and “All That Jazz”.  Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, CHICAGO is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history.

Since it opened in New York in 1996, CHICAGO has played in 36 countries worldwide and has been performed in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese and Korean.  Worldwide it has been seen by an estimated 33 million people, grossed over $1.7 billion and played over 32,500 performances.

SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2021

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre-glasgow

NEWS: Grid Iron Theatre Co. confirms the long-awaited staging of Doppler for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh-based theatre company Grid Iron is pleased to confirm that its site-responsive outdoor adaptation of Erlend Loe’s best-selling book Doppler will take place as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021.

The play was originally scheduled to be presented at last year’s Fringe with the plans then pivoted to a digital sharing in light of the Covid-19 related restrictions. With only a few days of outdoor filming achieved due to Storm Francis, the Company had decided to instead produce a documentary film charting the story of the show and its production, Doppler – The Story so Far, which was released for free in March 2020 and watched by almost 10,000 people worldwide.

Grid Iron is also thrilled to reveal it is one of a group of 15 shows and five venues awarded first ever Fringe Artist and Venue Recovery Fund.

Judith Doherty, Chief Executive and Co-Artistic Director of Grid Iron Theatre Company said: “After this roller-coaster of a ride that was Doppler – from the seed being planted in Ben Harrison’s mind when he read the book almost 3 years ago and plans for a Festival 2020 run, through to a digital sharing and finally the documentary – we could not be more excited to announce our 2021 plans for a live, outdoor sharing of the play.

“We are so grateful to the Fringe for this grant because it will allow us to provide BSL interpreted performances as part of the run and other access materials to make sure that our audience, although small in number, can be wide in reach.”

Doppler is an adaptation of a satirical novel by a Norwegian writer Erlend Loe, translated to English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw. It focuses on Doppler, a man who, following the death of his father, decides to abandon his family and move to the forest on the outskirts of Oslo. He is determined to live a life as far removed from his previous as possible but struggles to maintain his isolation as his existence garners a lot of unwanted attention.

Produced and presented strictly following Scottish Government’s safety guidelines, Doppler will be staged outdoors and feature a small cast of four. Further information, including venue, dates and cast, will be announced in due course.

Grid Iron are an Edinburgh-based theatre company who, following their incorporation in 1995 and their first show Clearance at the Traverse, Edinburgh, swiftly gained a reputation for creating high-quality, high profile shows. The Company went on to specialise in presenting shows in unusual locations. They are a new writing company who work in challenging sites that lend themselves especially well to Grid Iron’s taut production style. Occasionally they create work for the stage or use theatre buildings in a site-specific, promenade manner.

In 1997 Grid Iron produced their first full-scale site-specific production, The Bloody Chamber, their adaptation of Angela Carter’s Bluebeard fairytale, which they presented in famously haunted underground vaults beneath Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile. It was the company’s first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and, by the opening night, the show had sold out for its entire three-week run. Awards: Herald Angel for Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Theatre and Total Theatre Nominations for Best Newcomers and Best Design.

www.gridiron.org.uk

 

NEWS: SIX OF THE BEST: SIX PRODUCTIONS FROM UNMISSABLE NEW THEATRE TALENT … TAKE A FRONT-ROW SEAT FOR POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCES FROM THE ROYAL CONSERVATOIRE OF SCOTLAND

Powerhouse performances, dynamic drama and bold and experimental new works … it’s curtain up on a new season of unmissable online theatre from the brightest new talent in Scotland.

Actors and performance-makers at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) bring energy and intensity to six new productions that kick off the summer season at the nation’s conservatoire, one of the world’s top three destinations for performing arts education.

Students from the School of Drama will take the joy of theatre into homes across the globe, giving audiences an opportunity to see this next generation of artists who are continuing to create exciting and vital new work throughout the Covid pandemic. It’s also a chance to watch graduating students take their final bow at RCS before they enter the professional world.

Two festivals and four dramas will stream on RCS at Home, the digital channel launched in response to the pandemic to spread joy, combat isolation and creatively connect the RCS community.

Propel Festival: 1 – 11 June, BA Contemporary Performance Practice

This digital festival of performance features live streams, artist talks and recorded pieces from all four-year groups. It includes:

  • Propel On-Site: documentation of a series of twelve site-responsive, practice-research explorations of performance writing made over six visits to Jupiter Artland by third-year students alongside three artworks made in alternative locations.
  • Artists talks including Art in Prisons (BSL interpreted) with Maria J. Monteiro, Jack MacMillan, Indra Wilson and Holly Worton who will discuss the concept of time in prisons, how families connect with incarcerated family members, imprisoned mothers, and the effect on their children and sexual and reproductive rights in prison.
  • Where the Heart Is by Rachel Mclean is a short audio piece that invites audiences to reimagine their sense of home. Rachel takes on the role of the narrator to guide between two locations: Henderson Street, where she grew up, and the place of the listener, to explore what home is and what home feels like.
  • Aliena/Or One That Can Move Freely is a choreographic adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It streamed live from RCS. Five performers embody a place between human and animal, attempting to expose both their individual and collective relationships to freedom. Director Althea Young, stage manager Coral Nelson and performers Claire Province, Dale Thrupp, Jessica Wagg, Romi Sarfaty and Hope Kennedy.

Bad Roads: 7 – 14 June, BA Acting

Third and final-year actors, who will graduate this summer, present Natal’ya Vorozhbit’s Bad Roads in an English language translation by Sasha Dugdale. It’s a play about life in war-torn Ukraine, focusing in particular on the war’s impact on women. In six scenes it explore loss, desire, fear and fighting. Warning: this play contains scenes of physical and sexual violence.

On the Verge Festival: 10 – 11 June, BA Acting

The culmination of second-year students’ exploration of new approaches to theatre-making and new writing, providing them with the tools and resilience that will see them throughout their careers as creative artists. Many projects in this festival were originally conceived as pieces of theatre and have been reimagined as experimental short films or audio plays with a visual element. Here, actors find their place both in front and behind the camera.

How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found: 14 – 21 June, BA Acting

Third and final-year actors present this tale of a young marketing executive who turns to pills, drink and finally a new identity in his search for meaning in life. Punctuated by visions of a pathologist who claims he is already dead, he sets out on a whirlwind journey through a harsh world where moments of kindness are rare and the meaning of existence is called into question.

Perkin Warbeck: A Masque of Anamnesis: 21 June – 5 July, MA/MFA Classical and Contemporary Text

In this history play about people who have lost all connection to their own history, febrile uncertainty reigns. Everything is in flux. Politics, love, fealty and even identity are destabilised. It explores what happens when a people cease to know who they are. The performance will see the camera dropped into the middle of the action, like an invisible character trying to make sense of the world in which they’ve found themselves. It has been filmed in long, continuous (and sometimes vertiginous) takes.

The Coat: 28 June – 12 July, BA Performance in British Sign Language and English

Written by Ramesh Meyyappan who directs the third and final-year students of this pioneering degree programme for theatre-makers who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. This visual theatre production was inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s short story The Overcoat and incorporates illusions and movement with BSL dialogue.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “We start our summer season with six new productions that demonstrate the creativity and determination to keep the arts thriving at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

“We’ve worked safely and carefully within all health and safety guidelines to offer on-campus ensemble opportunities, rehearsals and performances with students working in groups and bubbles.

“Our students are still here, still producing and performing with so much passion and energy in what has been a challenging year. We can’t wait for audiences around the world to see these incredible emerging artists whose resilience and commitment to their craft is truly inspiring.”

For more information and to book tickets, visit rcs.ac.uk/boxoffice.

Images – Robert McFadzean

NEWS: Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival unveils 2021 summer programme

Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival returns with an outdoor and online performance programme celebrating the people and creativity of Dumfries and Galloway from 16 – 25 July. 

Combining an outdoor travelling stage, pop up performances in unexpected locations and a digital programme packed with world class artists – Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival – based in South West of Scotland – returns in brand new form for over ten days this July. With 60 events blending music, theatre, dance, comedy and spoken word, the lineup has been specially curated with in person and at home entertainment in mind.

The 42nd programme – centred around the theme Hame’ll Dae Me – is a tribute to the burgeoning artists and world class performers of the region and a celebration of the diverse culture found across Dumfries and Galloway. Every event is made by, featuring or directly engaged with artists and audiences from the area.

The programme includes a live stand up set from comedian Mark Nelson, a new album showcase from Smith & McClennan, a celebration of European music from The Firelight Trio, and a sneak peek into the exciting world of emerging five piece band, The Lucky Doves.

Melanie Purdie, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival’s new strategic and creative director came into the role in March of this year. Inheriting some of the 2020 programme cancelled due to Covid-19, she is both welcoming back and presenting new artists through a unique programme specific to the times in which we’re living, giving the region a voice on a national and international platform.

“We are proud to welcome you to join us for a refreshed programme that places artists and audiences from the region first and foremost. We paused, we reflected and reimagined a Festival that sits at the heart of communities across the area. We have envisioned the future of the Festival and what we would like to see in our changed world. Hame’ll Dae Me celebrates and promotes world class artists from across Dumfries and Galloway and connects you with nationally renowned performing arts companies. We are bringing you a safe, secure, and engaging programme to experience locally, or from the comfort of your own home. Enjoy!”

The ten-day festival will be presented in three new strands this summer:

D&G Arts Festival at Hame

For the very first time the festival will extend its reach beyond the local area and into people’s homes across the country with a digital line-up made for online viewing. The programme includes:

A series of live performances streaming from Theatre Royal in Dumfries featuring award-winning Scottish singer Emily Smith and New Zealand born multi-instrumentalist Jamie McClennan aka Smith & McClennan who will showcase their album ‘Small Town Stories’ with an uplifting performance; emerging five piece Scottish band The Lucky Doves welcome audiences into their world – with a Pogues meets The Waterboys sound; The Firelight Trio’s Gavin Marwick, Ruth Morris and Phil Alexander play European folk music creating a rich tapestry of lively Swedish polskas, lilting French waltzes and klezmer; and multi award winning stand-up comedian, Mark Nelson will keep audiences laughing with his hilarious, intelligent and no-holds-barred live show.

The Scottish Ensemble presents BREATHE: Music and your Mind – a live online performance combining their trademark music for strings with reflections from an expert on how we can all use music in our daily lives to feel better; Paragon Music presents a selection of stunning new pieces created and performed by emerging artists on their inclusive Resonate programme; and Uninvited Guests and Fuel presents Love Letters at Home – a night of song dedications and the stories attached to them with declarations of love, past and present.

In theatre, following a successful virtual tour of Scotland last month, Helen Milne Productions’ Distance Remaining shares the story of three lost souls making a break for freedom, but its April 2020 and no journey is as simple as A to B; and Vanishing Point and Brite Theater present Deliverance – a show delivered straight to your door – this is a performance by you, about you.

Bare Boards and a passion presents Weavers of Grass – a multi-media performance with award winning poet Chrys Salt and acclaimed harper Wendy Stewart exploring the creative process, human frailty and ancient traditions; and Carolyn Yates presents Gaze – a creative response to photographer Kim Ayres’ nude portraits of women over 50, collaborating with actors Sheila Grier, Kirsty Miller and Linda Duncan McLaughlin, with dramaturg and director, Drew Taylor.

Talking Horse

In partnership with local theatre company, Townsend Theatre Productions, the Talking Horse is a completely mobile, outdoor venue that will tour through the heart of Dumfries and Galloway – including Annan on 17 JulyStranraer on 18 July, Dumfries on 24 July and Castle Douglas on 25 July – hosting artists from each community on its travelling stage. Each event day will present four live performances for audiences to enjoy with a varied line-up celebrating local artists including:

Two young trad musicians Rose Byers – an award winning singer and Catriona McGhie – who released her first album Oran to great acclaim – perform a one off show; Catriona will also perform alongside Jodie Rae – an emerging musician featuring as part of the Festival’s young commissions project.

Stalwarts of the trad music scene Claire Mann and Aaron Jones have worked with the finest musicians in the business appearing on over 100 recordings. They will perform an exclusive gig of their own critically acclaimed work; and Dumfries based musician and singer Bob Hollis, who rose to stardom fronting Ska band More From Jim, will perform an eclectic mix of song putting his vocal prowess on display.

Kate Kyle – shortlisted for the BBC Scotland Singer / Songwriter 2019 performs her strong, soulful country vocals and Sarah Law will follow with a relaxing set inspired by Caerlaverock Castle and the surrounding wildlife. Kate will also perform an exclusive solo show; and The Ramblin’ Hedgepigs trio – Nicola Black, Amanda and Blackie blend their sound of folk, Americana and a touch of jazz for a set of home brewed songs.

A musician shaped by the culture and people of the region Liam ‘Rusty’ Russell is one third of the band North Atlas. Liam will perform an exclusive solo performance followed by a performance from Chelsie Nash of her one-woman comedy show, blending spoken word and theatre; and Scotland’s Young Magician of the Year Brandon Barrett demonstrates his comedic mind reading with a show that will make you question if it’s a trick or if he’s controlling your thoughts.

Buskers & Fox and Hound in association with Annan Harbour present Lot 52 and Sea Shanties – a new play by Vivien Jones and directed by award winning director, Ken Gouge which follows the story of a family leaving Annan Harbour in 1775 to sail to Nova Scotia in search of a better life – a story of resilience and fortitude that resonates with modern-day mass emigration.  Townsend Theatre Productions present The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – an enduring and entertaining classic story of Edwardian painters and decorators by Robert Tressell, tells of their struggle for survival brought to life by actor Neil Gore.

Pop Up Performances

Local artists will pop-up across Dumfries and Galloway, appearing in many locations such as town centres, beautiful gardens, monuments, and art centres. Featuring OceanalloverCultured Mongrel and the young people from Stage iT, audiences can find 18 music, dance and theatre performances happening throughout the festival.  Locals can follow the festival on social media to find out where they can be spotted each day. They will also be livestreamed through Facebook and Instagram.

Stage iT is a  project run by young people, for young people as part of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival that returns in 2021. Working with young people aged 14 – 26, they are supported to take ownership of staging events in the region, curating their own programme and providing them with opportunities for training, mentorship and creating the foundations for a career within the performing arts industry. The Stage iT programme is overseen by the Young Promoters Group (YPG) with 11 events peppered throughout the live and digital programme.

Whether you’re in Dumfries and Galloway or exploring the programme from afar, there is something for everyone in this love letter to one of Scotland’s artistic hotspots.

Tickets are onsale now. For the full programme, visit dgartsfestival.org.uk.

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