THE HIT LIST
• Festival Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Oct 19 to Oct 31, Edinburgh and across Scotland
Running from Thursday October 18 – with an opening event in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle – to October 31, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival aims to encourage people to rediscover the magic of storytelling, and to nurture the relevance of the tradition in communities across the country.
With 66 events in Edinburgh and a local campaign supporting 100 events from Orkney to Dumfries and Galloway, Bute to Fife, the festival will feature the talents of 96 storytellers from Scotland along with 18 global guests from Ireland, France, Wales, Iceland, India, Belgium, Jordan and Sierra Leone.
With the support of the Scottish Government’s Festival Expo Fund, this year’s festival appreciates the shared Celtic heritage between Scotland and Ireland as Brexit threatens the stability of the hard-won peace process.
Highlights include Heather Yule’s tribute to the late, great storyteller Stanley Robertson and Nicola Wright and Lea Taylor’s history of the Scottish suffragette movement (both Oct 21, Scottish Storytelling Centre) and storyteller Amanda Edmiston’s event on Florence Marian McNeill, a folklorist, suffragette and campaigner for Scottish independence (Oct 26, National Library of Scotland).
Among the festival’s Irish visitors are The Armagh Rhymers, Eddie Lenihan, singer-songwriter, actress and storyteller Helena Byrne and Dara Vallely, the SISF’s featured artist.
“We’re laying stronger, deeper foundations for the Storytelling Festival this year, and looking to future growth,” says Donald Smith, SISF director. “We’re also standing alongside Ireland in a time of threat to everything that people there have achieved since the Troubles.”
Currently on show at Dundee Contemporary Arts until November 25 is Black Flag, the first solo exhibition in Scotland by Santiago Sierra, a Spanish artist influenced by the conceptual art movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
The exhibition details and documents how Sierra planted the black flag – the symbol of the anarchist movement– at the two most extreme points on the planet, the North and South Poles.
On October 18, the DCA will host a talk titled The White Flag Of Antarctica, to coincide with the exhibition.
Presented by Dr Claire Warrior, senior exhibitions curator at Royal Museums Greenwich, the talk will explore the act of planting flags at certain moments in history, and particularly how we use these emblems in relation to polar exploration.
• Event Ghost Hunting Dundonald Castle
Oct 20, Oct 25 and Oct 31
Home to Scots King Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce, Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire is rich in folklore and mystery. As we approach Halloween, it hosts a series of spooky goings-on, with a “ghost hunt and paranormal investigation” on October 20, while the castle’s guides tell strange stories from the site’s 2000-year past on October 25. On October 31, there’s a party for children based around the world of author Roald Dahl.
• Music Mr McFall’s Chamber
Oct 19, City Halls, Glasgow Oct 20, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Ever fresh and ever relevant, Mr McFall’s Chamber kick off At Home In A Foreign Land this week, their new season of live music programmes inspired by the theme of migration.
While next month composer/pianist Simon Smith and violinist Benjamin Marquise Gilmore will join them for concerts focusing on chamber music from Poland, this week the ensemble performs music from Mexico, a programme inspired by the country’s rich history of emigration and immigration, especially from Spain during the Franco era.
A programme for strings, piano, percussion and voice, Music from Mexico features popular songs by the likes of Agustin Lara and Maria Grever sung by Scottish tenor Jamie MacDougall.
Alongside violinists Cyril Garac and leader Robert McFall, the line-up at Glasgow’s City Halls (Oct19) and Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall (Oct 20) also includes exceptional cellist Su-a Lee, Peruvian pianist Claudio Constantini, as well as French violinist, Cyril Garac.
As well as the vocal works, the programme will include instrumental works by Arturo Marquez, Javier Alvarez, Pedro Belisario Perez and Demetrio Ortiz.
• Art Edwin G Lucas: An Individual Eye
Until Feb 10, City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Featuring more than 60 artworks drawn from public and private collections is Edwin G Lucas: An Individual Eye, the first ever major exhibition to focus on an artist ignored by and unknown to the art establishment until earlier this decade.
Born in Leith in 1911, Lucas was largely self-taught but during the 1940s he produced bold, Surrealist works unlike anything else seen among the Scottish art of that time.
This exhibition traces his development as an artist from early watercolours painted as a youth through his Surrealist period and on to his uncompromising final works, produced in the 1980s. Those were painted after Lucas had to put his artwork on hold for many years to raise his young sons,
It was one of the artist’s sons, Alan, who contacted a curator at the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art at the beginning of this decade to tell them about his father’s work, the bulk of which was being stored in a lock-up. Most of the work had not been seen in 60 years.
“Lucas was, in fact, one of the most original painters of his era – a unique talent that deserves to be recognised,” says Helen Scott, curator of fine art at the City Art Centre.
Royal residence: Dundonald Castle
Scottish tenor Jamie MacDougall, left, performs with Mr McFall’s Chamber in Glasgow and Edinburgh
The work of Scottish modernist painter Edwin G Lucas was overlooked during his lifetime