Award-win­ning poet is high­light at fes­ti­val line-up

The Arran Banner - - News -

The McLel­lan Arts Fes­ti­val 2016 is al­ready in full swing and fes­ti­val-go­ers can now look for­ward to the next batch of ex­cit­ing events. These be­gin tonight (Fri­day) with Ri­cardo Curbelo’s ben­e­fit per­for­mance for the Mu­sic So­ci­ety in the com­mu­nity the­atre where he will take the au­di­ence on a colour­ful and en­er­getic jour­ney through dif­fer­ent Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries on harp, cu­a­tro, mara­cas and vo­cals.

Then on Satur­day (Au­gust 20), Ar­ran pays its homage to the bard’s 400 birth­day an­niver­sary two short­ened Shake­speare plays per­formed in the com­mu­nity the­atre. A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream, a tale of mixed up lovers, wicked spir­its and comic bungling am­a­teur thes­pi­ans and The Tem­pest, Shake­speare’s last play, a tale of ban­ish­ment, magic, power and coloni­sa­tion.

For any­one into writ­ing, whether as a reader or a prac­ti­tioner, the ab­so­lute high­light this year has to be the visit by David Con­stan­tine. A multi-award win­ning poet, trans­la­tor, nov­el­ist and short-story writer, his visit is a ma­jor coup for the fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers. David worked for 30 years as a univer­sity teacher of Ger­man lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture. As well as 10 col­lec­tions of po­ems he has writ­ten two nov­els and four vol­umes of short sto­ries and ear­lier this year he at­tracted head­lines when Char­lotte Ram­pling won an Os­car nom­i­na­tion for her per­for­mance in the film 45 Years, based on his story An­other Coun­try. You can see the film, also star­ring Tom Courte­nay, at a spe­cial show­ing in Corrie Hall on Mon­day Au­gust 29 which will be in­tro­duced by David.

An­other side of Con­stan­tine’s ca­reer has been as an edi­tor and trans­la­tor. With his wife He­len he edited the journal ‘Mod­ern Poetry in Trans­la­tion’ for many years and he and He­len will lead a panel dis­cus­sion with four lo­cal pro­fes­sional trans­la­tors at Brod­ick Li­brary on the af­ter­noon of Sun­day Au­gust 28.

David’s main rea­son for re­turn­ing to Ar­ran is to present the £1,000 prize for this year’s McLel­lan poetry com­pe­ti­tion, which this year at­tracted en­tries from 20 dif­fer­ent coun­tries across all five con­ti­nents. In fact, the win­ner will be trav­el­ling all the way from Seat­tle to re­ceive the prize on Fri­day Au­gust 27 at the Lit­tle Rock Cafe, Brod­ick. The evening will fea­ture David read­ing from his own work, read­ings from the win­ning po­ets, and mu­sic from harp and whis­tle duo Ar­ran Dawn.

Also on Satur­day, in Whit­ing Bay Hall, is the su­per siz­zling fa­mous Fes­ti­val Ceilidh with danc­ing, mu­sic and sup­per. In­cluded in the line up will be com­pere Stu­art Gough, singer Tim Pomeroy, piper An­gus Adam­son, Jazz Cafe Band, duo Biff and Tom who make up The Bucha­neers and not for­get­ting the foot stomp­ing Dram­busters.

While fans of sa­cred mu­sic will thrill to the won­der­ful singing of the tal­ented stu­dents from the Royal North­ern Col­lege of Mu­sic at a spe­cial ser­vice in Corrie Church on Sun­day Au­gust 28 at noon. More of this spec­tac­u­lar ta­lent will be on show at the ever pop­u­lar Opera Gala on Fri­day Septem­ber 2 in the com­mu­nity the­atre, Lam­lash and on the evening of Sun­day Septem­ber 4 when the stu­dents will join with our own McLel­lan Fes­ti­val cho­rus to sing the beau­ti­ful Pe­tite Messe Solenelle by Rossini.

A fas­ci­nat­ing event for all those who love Ar­ran and good mu­sic will take place on Wed­nes­day Au­gust 31 when Ar­ran man and en­ter­tain­ing racon­teur John Sil­lars will talk about his mem­o­ries at An Ar­ran Clam­jam­fry at Al­ta­chorvie. This will be in­ter­spersed with fab­u­lous mu­sic from Ed­in­burgh duo, Var­i­ous Moons com­pris­ing Colin Donati, poet, song­writer and gui­tarist and jazz in­flu­enced clas­sic cel­list, Robin Ma­son. Var­i­ous Moons have ap­peared at var­i­ous Scot­tish fes­ti­vals and lit­er­ary events, in­clud­ing at the Byre Fes­ti­val in St An­drews, Steve Ket­t­ley’s Click Clack Club, Ed­in­burgh, and at the An­struther Three Har­bours Fes­ti­val as well as ap­pear­ing at this year’s Celtic Con­nec­tions Fes­ti­val.

The fes­ti­val aims each year to help young peo­ple de­velop their skills and this year, as well as the opera stu­dents, a group of tal­ented drama stu­dents from the Royal Con­ser­va­toire of Scot­land will bring to Corrie Hall on Satur­day Septem­ber 3 a phys­i­cal the­atre per­for­mance based on Water­ship Down called Project Down, a short film made for chil­dren by Katharine O’Don­nelly and two short plays de­vised and de­vel­oped for the fes­ti­val.

This year’s pro­gramme has some­thing for ev­ery­one with tick­ets avail­able on­line at ar­ran­events.com and at the Book and Card Cen­tre, Brod­ick. Tick­ets will be avail­able at the door for all per­for­mances for those mak­ing a snap de­ci­sion, and do re­mem­ber the bar­gain fes­ti­val sea­son ticket for £40, giv­ing you ac­cess to all per­for­mances ex­cept the poetry work­shop. Chil­dren and young peo­ple at school are free at all events.

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