Category Archives: NEWS

WHAT’S ON FEBRUARY: Glasgow based A Little Company present A Love Letter to Theatre

Glasgow based theatre company A Little Company have been online fundraising for the last few months, which is raising money for Acting For Others and future A Little Company productions. Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities.

Made up mostly of professional actors/musicians/singers they hope, in the post-Covid world, to create work opportunities for others like themselves.

They have enlisted the help of some friends who have had to continue working throughout this pandemic: a biomedical scientist, a primary teacher and a customer assistant, to name a few.

The concert is called A Love Letter to Theatre and is essentially a compilation of some of their favourite musical theatre songs. It streams from February 14th until the 21st.

Join them as they celebrate an industry brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to dedicate a concert to the industry we love so dearly.

With songs from Disney, Company, Chess and more.

LINK: A Little Company Presents: A Love Letter to Theatre Tickets, Sun 14 Feb 2021 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

NEWS: New Old Friends present: Crimes of a Country Garden 2nd story in the award-winning audio comedy murder mystery series

New Old Friends have created a second original story to build on the success of their award-winning debut; Crimes of a Country Garden. Crimes Against Christmas, originally intended as a standalone ‘gift’ to their followers proved such a success, the company have once again teamed up with long-time collaborator Fred Riding to create an audio comedy murder mystery. It will be released through their rebranded podcast channel; Comedy Whodunnits – for your ears.

The touring theatre company lost two national tours and at least one Christmas show in 2020; they responded by creating a festive comedy audio drama released in daily instalments throughout advent. It was a way of guaranteeing the delivery of ‘comedy nonsense’ to their audience that Covid couldn’t derail. The result, Crimes Against Christmas, proved hugely popular with over 36,000 downloads, claiming the number two spot in the iTunes fiction chart throughout December, being featured on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and even winning an OnComm award. Not bad for a first attempt at audio comedy.

Unlike Crimes Against Christmas, the new show, Crimes of a Country Garden, is not an adaptation of an existing stage play. Rather, it has been written especially for the medium and builds upon the skills and experienced gained with the first series. This means there are more audio-specific gags written into the piece, but it doesn’t stray too far from the popular format of the company’s ‘Crimes…’ series; namely a classic murder mystery tale peopled with hilarious characters delivering witty wordplay in silly voices.

Crimes of a Country Garden still owes a debt to the oeuvre of Agatha Christie but is perhaps closer to P.G. Wodehouse in tone. We follow Penny Pink in her quest to become a detective (not easy as a woman in the 1930s) as she takes a job as assistant to established sleuth Perry Pink (no relation) and proves her worth. On this case the P. Pink Detective Agency are hired by the Earl of Longmeadow to investigate the murder of his beloved rosebushes, but no sooner is Penny on the scene than the gardener turns up dead and the mystery begins.

The six-episode podcast will be released at 00:00am each Thursday morning and be accessible on most podcasting platforms (including Apple, Spotify and Google) as well as YouTube with scrolling text for d/Deaf audiences.

Co-artistic director and performer Heather Westwell said: “Last year was pretty awful for everyone, especially touring theatre, but we were determined to put out something fun and true to our style as a company. We were overwhelmed by the support and love that Crimes Against Christmas received and when we had to push our (already rescheduled) spring tour back from February to April at the earliest we quickly decided to create something new to hopefully lift the spirits of our audience in this latest lockdown.”

Co-artistic director and performer Feargus Woods Dunlop said: “Crimes Against Christmas took quite a convoluted route to audio form; it was a play which I spent the first lockdown turning into a novel, which I then adapted again into the audio drama we presented. It was a great challenge for me as a writer and we’re thrilled with the result, but for Crimes of a Country Garden we knew what magic Fred could create with his sound and music and wanted to make better use of that. It was brilliant to be working on a script expressly for this medium.”

New Old Friends are an award-winning theatre company dedicated to creating original comedy theatre, founded in 2008 and run by husband-and-wife team Feargus Woods Dunlop and Heather Westwell. In 2017 and 2018 the company were awarded the Creative Bath Award for writing. Previous shows include five instalments of the hugely popular Crimes… series of comedy thrillers, including 2019’s spring hit Crimes on the Nile. In summer 2019, their adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’ The Falcon’s Malteser enjoyed a six-week run at London’s Vaults Theatre. It was selected as a ‘Critic’s Choice’ for ‘Best Family Shows’ by the Guardian. Their latest show for families, Swiss Family Robinson (Top 40 Christmas shows 2019, inews) premiered at The Core at Corby Cube Christmas 2019.

Episode duration: Approximately 25mins | Suitable for ages 12 and up

Listings information

4th February – 11th March 2021

A new episode weekly at 00:00am Thursday

Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/comedy-whodunnits-for-your-ears/id1540599662

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/6CidzIxXBonFB6qs1Djjxs

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjdrPlBTdCQ

Anchor FM and all other platforms https://anchor.fm/crimesagainstchristmas

NEWS: Scottish Ensemble launches the latest in its Musical Book Club series

Scottish Ensemble (SE) today reveal Sally Beamish as the latest classical music star to grace its Musical Book Club guest list.

Taking place on Wednesday 24 February at 7.30pm, Sally will be joined in conversation by SE violinist Cheryl Crockett with audiences tuning in at home via Zoom.

Sally, one of the UK’s foremost living composers, is an active violist and pianist, and a regular collaborator with Scottish Ensemble – the group having commissioned and premiered many significant works. In this special discussion event, she will explore her compositional process and influences through a selection of her own works and the works that inspired them. SE violinist Cheryl Crockett, who has played in many of the premieres, will bring the performer’s perspective.

Aimed at bringing people together to discuss powerful works of music and recapture some of the post-concert spirit that would, in more normal times, be enjoyed over post-concert drinks, each Musical Book Club attendee will receive a playlist containing recordings to be discussed on the night, along with some questions and thoughts from Sally, a week before the event.

Jenny Jamison, Chief Executive of Scottish Ensemble, said: “We are thrilled to have Sally as our guest for the eighth Scottish Ensemble Musical Book Club. These events are a great way for music lovers from around the world and from a range of backgrounds to engage with each other, the ensemble and some of the UK’s most prominent musicians, while enjoying some stunning pieces of music. We all miss talking directly with people who share our interests just now, and this format allows people to do that in as intimate a setting as digital life can allow.”

Next up in the Musical Book Club calendar is BBC writer and broadcaster Tom Service and Scottish Ensemble cellist Naomi Pavri who will be discussing the legendary Hungarian composer György Kurtág on Wednesday 10 March at 7.30pm.

Of Kurtág Tom Service says: “Kurtág’s fragments are about musical and, above all, expressive intensification: maximising the effect and impact of every note, every gesture.”

The second in this newly announced Musical Book Club lineup will also take place online via Zoom and will position György Kurtág’s as one of the most unique compositional voices of the 20th century.

And finally, on Wednesday 14 April SE Artistic Director Jonathan Morton will be joined by none other than Colin Currie, a solo and chamber artist at the very peak of his powers.

Championing new music at the highest level, he is hailed as being “at the summit of percussion performance today” (Gramophone). Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers and conductors and he performs with the world’s leading orchestras.

Together, Colin and Jonathan will reflect on music written by some of the composers with whom Colin has had long professional relationships – like Steve Reich and Sir James MacMillan – as well as composers he has premiered works for more recently – Helen Grime and Andy Akiho.

NEWS: ‘The Gaiety Theatre continues to support fresh talent with the New Scottish Companies Programme

In November 2020, The Gaiety, Ayr launched its first Artist Development Programme, a new Scottish Companies Programme led by Creative Engagement Directors, Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse with mentorship from established practitioners, designed to support the development of emerging theatre companies. The programme aims to nurture new voices and diversify the talent pool that the theatre works with.

They welcome; Clare and Lesley, Disabled Dance Artists, Clarty Burd Theatre Company, Poetic Justice Productions CIC, Siren Theatre Company and The Audio Story Company to the Artist Development Programme.

Jack Nurse, Creative Engagement Director said:

“We are delighted to welcome the New Scottish Companies to The Gaiety. We are thrilled with the exciting mix of disciplines, perspectives, forms and experiences that make up the programme.”

The Companies comprise:

Clare and Lesley, Disabled Dance Artists

David Thomas Adam Photography

Clare and Lesley, Disabled Dance Artists are recent graduates from The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance.  They enjoy creating interactive works to teach life-skills through a multi-sensory approach. Aiming to simply make people smile through their movement and friendship, they value the importance of disabled voices within Dance, wanting to use their own experiences to educate other Artists and inspire young disabled people.

Clarty Burd Theatre Company 
Clarty Burd Theatre Company are an all-female company based in Edinburgh and led by Laila Noble and Emilie Robson. Winners of the Bright Spark Award 2018 and runners up of Theatre Uncut’s 2019 Political Playwriting Award; they are Clarty, Arty Burds with plenty to say and bird puns aplenty! Clarty Burd specialise in bold, dynamic, agitprop theatre with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek.

Poetic Justice Productions CIC

Poetic Justice Productions are an Ayrshire-based company led by Helen Aitken, Steven Duffy and Neil Smith with aims to increase access to the Arts for children and adults across Ayrshire. Poetic Justice Productions work with local people to develop work that is inspired by the history within their communities.

Siren Theatre Company

Siren Theatre are a Glasgow-based company creating genre-defying rallying cries turning traditional theatre on its head. It’s four founding members; Emma Lynne Harley, Lucy Harrower, Lauren Mitchell and Imogen Stirling are live performance artists from varied and eclectic backgrounds. Siren Theatre Company aims to harness their collective skills in poetry, storytelling and music in order to create unique audience experiences.

The Audio Story Company

The Audio Story Company are passionate storytellers who use immersive audio to create unique experiences for kids and big kids alike. We’d love to tell you that this company started as some magical brainwave, or a piece of genius thought… but we can’t. Like all great stories, we found ourselves in the middle of it without really knowing how we got there. This story, however, is based on love and necessity. The love for our nieces, and the necessity of Lockdown. Remember Lockdown? With our nieces being home-schooled, we wanted to give them an activity which didn’t involve looking at a screen. The very first Audio Story was born.

For more information about The Gaiety’s new initiative, and other current projects and shows please visit The Gaiety website at www.thegaiety.co.uk

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA PRESENTS A FILMED PERFORMANCE OF HUMPERDINCK’S HANSEL AND GRETEL

Scottish Opera premieres Humperdinck’s enchanting Hansel and Gretel in the latest Scottish Opera: On Screen, filmed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal on 19 December. The whole family can immerse themselves in this modern adaptation of the classic fairy tale from Wednesday 10 February at 6pm, via the Scottish Opera website. Before then, BBC Radio Scotland will feature audio excerpts from the performance as part of Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall, on 7 February.

Sung in English, with staging by Daisy Evans, this vivid and joyful reimagining of Humperdinck’s opera tells the heart-warming story of two children and their journey from an impoverished home, into the mystery and danger of the woods. Brought to life by Daisy’s unique staging, with a Christmas-crazed witch and a shopping trolley full of sugary sweets and garish goodies, Hansel and Gretel seem a long way from their simple family life. Packed full of charm and sparkle this production is an ideal anytime treat for children and adults alike, sure to lift spirits and transport audiences from behind the screen to a world of hope and wonder. Although Hansel and Gretel is an opera traditionally associated with Christmas, Daisy’s new production celebrates the opera’s joy and hope that are just as powerful and relevant whatever the season.

David Parry conducts a cast including Kathleen Ferrier Award-winner Kitty Whately as Hansel, Rhian Lois (La bohème 2020) as Gretel, ENO Harewood Artist Nadine Benjamin as Mother and The Witch, Phillip Rhodes as Father and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Charlie Drummond (Così fan tutte, 2020) as The Sandman and The Dew Fairy, in a translation by David Pountney and with a reduced orchestration by Derek Clark. Humperdinck’s chorus of gingerbread children is performed by a chorus of four adults.

Daisy Evans said: ‘This show is fun for all the family, bright colours, big energy and plenty of glitter! With the current pandemic, everybody has had a difficult Christmas, so I wanted it to be about finding joy where we can, and about families celebrating together. And I also want it to encourage people to come back to the theatre, and to bring their children with them – to make them want to be part of this experience, and to invest in it as part of our culture.’

Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark said: ‘Despite a prolific composing career, Humperdinck’s reputation rests solely on this one opera. The combination of a straightforward fairy tale with a musical language which owes a heavy debt to Wagner may seem an unlikely one, but in Hansel and Gretel, the mixture of simple tunes, like the famous Dance duet, thrilling orchestral passages such as the Witch’s Ride and the Dream pantomime, and the tender emotion of the children’s Evening Prayer produces a masterpiece which has kept its popularity for well over a century.’

Available to watch via Scottish Opera’s website www.scottishopera.org.uk. Scottish Opera has also produced an Audio Described version of the film, also available to watch via the Company’s website. This is the latest in Scottish Opera’s Audio Described opera films, all of which have proved extremely popular with viewers.

Find out more about Daisy Evans staging of Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera in an exclusive interview: www.scottishopera.org.uk/news/an-exclusive-interview-with-daisy-evans-staging-hansel-gretel/

IMAGE: James Glossop

NEWS: Scottish Ballet presents Coppélia World premiere at Edinburgh International Festival in 2022, before touring

A deliciously dark comedy of mischief and mistaken identity, reinvented for the digital age.

What happens when you fall in love with a machine?
How can we compete with the perfection of the unreal?
What if the technology we create and, obsess over, takes on a life of its own?
What does it mean to be human in a world of artificial intelligence.

Scottish Ballet will test the boundaries of dance, theatre and film in this distinctive new adaptation of the classic ballet, blending location and real-time filming with projection and live performance.

This innovative new production will be choreographed and directed by UK-based duo Jess & Morgs. Building on their previous films for Scottish Ballet (Tremble, The Secret Theatre), Jess & Morgs will explore our relationship with reality through their playful use of the camera, creating a unique experience for a live theatre audience.

The original Delibes score will have a new arrangement, performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.

Coppélia has been commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival and will have its world premiere in 2022, followed by a national tour.

 

NEWS: TRAVERSE THEATRE KICKS OFF 2021 WITH FIRST STAGES FESTIVAL – ITS BIGGEST CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT EVENT

The Traverse is excited to kick off its 2021 programming with its biggest ever series of creative development activity with its First Stages Festival.

First Stages Festival is a celebration of the Traverse’s commitment to nurturing and supporting new voices, and expanding the skills of new and experienced creatives with the ambition of producing ever more transportive and meaningful experiences for audiences. This year’s First Stages Festival offers a wide range of interactive workshops, Q&As, readings and creative prompts for first time writers to seasoned theatremakers.

Every event in the programme will be open for anyone in the world to participate in.

Highlights include live focused workshops with writers Ella Hickson (on how to tackle big ideas), Hannah Lavery (on writing from autobiography), Nessah Muthy (on writing for a digital landscape), Simon Stephens (on generating material and developing characters), Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse (on creating work in and for a community), and a special Q&A session with Enda Walsh during which participants will be able to ask the internationally acclaimed theatremaker their most pressing questions.

Crocodile Fever writer Meghan Tyler will be presenting an on-demand and free-of-charge four- part workshop for first-time writers, ANYONE CAN WRITE A PLAY, and each weekday a creative prompt will be released to shake up ways of creative thinking and ignite exciting new ideas.

Rounding off the Festival will be a showcase of 3 livestreamed readings from writers who submitted their work to the Traverse’s 2019 Open Submissions initiative, and who have been working with the Traverse’s Literary Associate, Eleanor White, over the past year to develop their scripts. The writers are Dipo Baruwa-EttiSerafina CusackMichael John O’NeillEmilie Robson and Isla van Tricht, with the readings directed by the Traverse’s Co-Artistic Director, Gareth Nicholls, and Co-Artistic Director Designate, Debbie Hannon. Each reading will be followed by a Q&A with the writers, hosted by acclaimed playwrights including Douglas Maxwell, through which audiences can contribute to the future development of the pieces.

A limited number of £1 tickets will be available for all ticketed events, available to those in receipt of government benefits and allowances.

Traverse Theatre Literary Associate, Eleanor White, says:

“I am thrilled that the Traverse is beginning the year with First Stages Festival – a celebration of creative development and dynamic new voices. Supporting writers in developing their craft is one of the Traverse’s fundamental commitments, and we’ve continued this work in earnest over the past year. This programme of workshops, Q&As and readings is designed to generate conversations about creative writing and new ways of thinking about theatre – where established artists, aspiring creatives, and audience members can come together, get involved, expand their creative horizons and plot a course forward together.  We’re particularly delighted to be share with the world readings from five form-pushing, thought-provoking plays currently in development – and to invite the input of our audiences into the future of these pieces, an exchange that’s vital to the theatrical process.”

The full First Stages Festival programme can be found at traverse.co.uk/whats-on/first-stages-festival

All events currently available in Traverse 3 can be browsed at traverse.co.uk/whats-on/traverse-festival

LISTINGS INFORMATION

First Stages Festival
Mon 1 – Sun 28 Feb
Various dates and times
Tickets: traverse.co.uk/whats-on/first-stages-festival

A limited number of £1 tickets will be available for all ticketed events, available to those in receipt of government benefits and allowances.

Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, Edinburgh, EH1 2ED  I  traverse.co.uk

NEWS: Perth Theatre follows up panto success with Will Pickvance’s First Piano On The Moon

Following the global success of Perth Theatre’s LIVE online panto, they are now working with Will Pickvance to premiere the LIVE online version of his hit show First Piano On The Moon!

Half-man half-piano, Will combines storytelling and musical madness in this rollercoaster show about Mozart, music and the mooooon.

This is the story of a boy who daydreams of playing in front of a big live audience. When his dream comes true he should be excited, but he worries that maybe the whole world will discover the truth – he can’t really play the piano, he can only mess around and make people laugh.

Mozart’s music is mingled and mangled in this rambunctious show which features an unlikely birthday invitation, a frantic chase through Salzburg, and the appearance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself. What can Will glean from the Master?

Age guidance: 7+

 

The performances will be filmed and broadcast live via Zoom from Will’s studio for schools and public audiences at the end of February.

WHAT’S ON FEBRUARY: New digital play, An Isolated Incident starts this week

Actor and playwright Kenny Boyle’s newest work starts this week.

An Isolated Incident is a new play presented digitally in six parts. Through six interconnected monologues, each delivered by up and coming or well established actors from the world of Scottish theatre, An Isolated Incident explores how people deal with isolation and the removal of our comforts and coping mechanisms. The play explores the mental health repercussions of fear and loneliness, the impact on the very young and on the elderly of being cut off from social interaction, and the terrible emotional cost for those with no one to reach out to. It also explores the various techniques–be those exercise, TV, or escaping into an inner fantasy world –that we use to help us adapt to this new normal. Each monologue has a strong focus on mental health and mental wellbeing. Each also has an unwavering dedication to the importance of speaking out, reaching out and destroying stigma. Most crucially each revolves around an incident of human kindness and connection and contains that most valuable of things: hope.

The play will be available to watch online for free starting from the 4th of February 2021, here: https://www.facebook.com/KennyBoyleOfficial.

Kenny Boyle said: “2020 and the start of 2021 have been different for everyone, but it they have been unanimously hard. We truly believe that this shared worldwide hardship has given us all more empathy. If we manage to reach even one person who’s struggling with the mental health implications of loneliness and make them feel less alone then we feel as though we’ll have achieved something immeasurable.

This is only possible thanks to the support of Creative Scotland and we are delighted that they have afforded us this opportunity to tell these stories and to do something that, in some small way, makes people feel less isolated, and more connected.

As is the case with most theatre during this unusual time An Isolated Incident is filmed entirely on iPhones, edited on a free software on a home PC’s that valiantly do their best to rise to the challenge of video editing, and the performances are all captured remotely from actors hiding under blankets to improve audio quality. At its heart, it’s a lockdown iPhone project… but we hope it’s a really good iPhone lockdown project.

We are proud to be collaborating with Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline to raise awareness of domestic abuse during lockdown – particularly in the episode named “werewolf”

With permission, we provide the details of SAMH on all of the episodes so that anyone affected by the mental health issues we discuss knows there is somewhere to turn. SAMH have no direct involvement with the project other than permitting us to signpost them.”

Episode 1 is written and performed by Kenny Boyle an actor and playwright from the Isle of Lewis. Kenny trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is a recipient of Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland’s New Playwrights’ award 2021. Kenny plays the lead role of Rob in feature film Lost at Christmas.  

Episode 2 is performed by Karen Bartke an actress and voiceover artist based in Glasgow. On screen she is best known as Officer Karen in the BAFTA winning mockumentary Scot Squad, audio credits include Alien: River of Pain and Sandman for Audible UK. She’s the winner of the BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Debut Performance in 2016 (My Name Is, dir. Philip Osment), and winner of the Norman Beaton Fellowship 2016

Episode 3 is performed by Natalie Clark a Glasgow based actress who most recently completed a tour of Scotland with Rapture Theatre in The Browning Version. TV credits include Still Game and Royal History’s Biggest Fibs for the BBC. Feature film credits include Love Bite, Lost at Christmas, and the upcoming film The Last Bus.

Episode 4 is performed by Gillian Massey a Glasgow based actor with a diverse background in both live and on-screen performances. She made her Edinburgh Fringe debut in the three-hander comedy Irrelevant, which was shortlisted for the Scottish Arts Club Theatre Award, and returned to the Fringe in the one-woman play The Lament of Dorothy Wordsworth, which also ran at Glasgow’s West End Festival. More recently, she has appeared in online shows for Short Attention Span Theatre and The Gaiety Theatre.

Episode 5 is performed by John Michael-Love who featured in Series 1 of popular TV Show Outlander, and recently featured in Police Scotland’s 2020 campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of online grooming. His stage roles include Polonius in Bard in the Botanics’ 2014 production of ‘Hamlet’ and Jack Jarvis in Sonic Boom Theatre Company’s 2012/2013 reboot of the original ‘Still Game’ stage show.”


Episode 6 is performed by the entire ensemble working remotely across Scotland from the Outer Hebrides to the Borders and in between.

NEWS: Maw Goose will Strut Her Stuff in 2021 at Macrobert

After careful consideration and in light of the ongoing restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 lockdown, Macrobert Arts Centre has delayed this year’s panto, Maw Goose, until 2021.

Julie Ellen (Macrobert’s Artistic Director) said:

‘We have been exploring all the options around our annual panto and this has been a hugely difficult decision to make.  We are looking forward to seeing Maw Goose ‘strut her stuff’ in 2021. Good Panto takes time and planning, it is a year-round commitment for all of us – Macrobert staff, the creative team, the cast and the members of our young cast – and at this stage we just can’t balance delivering a fantastic panto experience for our audience with making sure we keep everyone safe, both of which are key priorities for us all.’

The annual panto is the organisation’s biggest annual investment in terms of both time and money and like creative organisations across the UK Macrobert Arts Centre has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Their priority is being here for everyone in the future as a key part of the cultural community in Stirling, Forth Valley and further afield, delaying Maw Goose will not only help with those plans, but ensure audiences get the all-singing, all-dancing panto extravaganza promised by a Macrobert Panto.

Julie continued:

‘It’s a difficult time for the arts community as a whole, but without welcoming our audiences into the building for the full range of creative experiences we offer, it is a big challenge for us financially. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our audiences, partners and other supporters, on so many levels, but we need to make plans to help ensure Macrobert’s future and we look forward to sharing Maw Goose with everyone next year when we can properly do it justice.‘

The Macrobert Team will be in touch with all bookers to transfer tickets or to discuss alternative options.

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