Arts ex­trav­a­ganza


The 40th Dum­fries and Gal­loway Arts Fes­ti­val gets un­der way to­mor­row.

Scotland’s largest ru­ral per­form­ing arts fes­ti­val fea­tures a pro­gramme of 50 events across 34 re­gional venues and runs un­til June 2.

The 40th an­niver­sary pro­gramme will be launched by Cul­ture Sec­re­tary Fiona Hys­lop at the open­ing night civic re­cep­tion and pub­lic per­for­mance of Lost at Sea at the Easter­brook Hall in Dum­fries.

The play is a per­sonal trib­ute to Scot­tish fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties and writ­ten by Morna Young who ad­mits much of her pre­vi­ous work has been in­spired by the re­gion’s landscape and stun­ning coast­line.

The writer is pas­sion­ate about the re­gion and re­ports feel­ing very at home in Dum­fries and Gal­loway as it is an agri­cul­tural area sim­i­lar to her Mo­ray home.

Ms Hys­lop said: “Dum­fries and Gal­loway Arts Fes­ti­val takes high qual­ity per­for­mances to some of the most re­mote ar­eas of the coun­try and is a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of mak­ing arts ac­ces­si­ble to all and em­pow­er­ing com­mu­ni­ties to have a say in what they want to see.

“I am par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by the young pro­mot­ers group which pro­vides real skills de­vel­op­ment and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to the re­gion’s young peo­ple who want to work in the per­form­ing arts sec­tor.

“I look for­ward to see­ing what this ex­cit­ing show­case fes­ti­val has to of­fer in its 40th year and in the fu­ture.”

This year’s pro­gramme has been cu­rated by new direc­tor, Dani Rae, who has worked across the creative in­dus­tries for the last 15 years. An ex­pe­ri­enced cul­tural pro­ducer she joined from Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val Fringe So­ci­ety in 2018, re­turn­ing home to de­liver this spe­cial year’s pro­gramme.

Her picks in­clude side-split­ting stand-up with TV favourite co­me­dian Lucy Porter – who has just one Scot­tish date, at Locker­bie Town Hall, with her new show Pass it On on May 29.

There’s also the blood pump­ing, Ed­in­burgh Fringe sell-out, Elec­trolyte, a multi-award win­ning piece of gig-the­atre by Wild­card, com­ing to the Cor­ner House, An­nan, on May 30, Cas­tle Dou­glas Town Hall on May 31 and the Fitba Bar, Stran­raer, on June 1.

This Satur­day there is a Pic­nic at the Plain­stanes in Dum­fries, or­gan­ised by the fes­ti­val’s young pro­mot­ers group and of­fer­ing free live per­for­mances all af­ter­noon.

New­ton Ste­wart and Mof­fat wel­come the good doc­tor of folk Martin Carthy and his twice Mer­cury Prizenom­i­nated daugh­ter, El­iza Carthy, on Satur­day, May 25, and Mon­day, May 27.

The re­mark­able, hi­lar­i­ous and heart-lift­ing true story of Team Vik­ing, a comic ode of a promised “full Vik­ing burial” pre­sented by Tan­gram The­atre from May 27 to 29, of­fers a bril­liant com­bi­na­tion of sto­ry­telling, live mu­sic and com­edy and will be staged right across the re­gion in three lo­ca­tions; Gate­house of Fleet, Mof­fat and Lochans.

Dance lovers are in for a treat with a new production from Joan Cleville Dance, The North, sup­ported by the Ru­ral Tour­ing Dance Ini­tia­tive at The Bridge in Dum­fries on Wed­nes­day, May 29.

Scot­tish Opera is park­ing up its fan­tas­tic pop-up opera truck, re-cre­at­ing the fully ac­ces­si­ble Glas­gow The­atre Royal, to de­light fam­ily and friends with three short shows; A Lit­tle Bit of Magic Flute, A Lit­tle Bit of Iolan­the and Puffy McPuf­fer & the Crab­bit Canals, for an or­gan­ised schools per­for­mance in Gretna on May 30 and for pub­lic per­for­mances in Lo­gan Botanic Gar­den on May 31 and Craw­ick Mul­ti­verse near San­quhar on June 1.

West-end sell-out “footie” com­edy, The Red Lion, pre­sented by Rap­ture The­atre and star­ring Em­merdale and Brook­side ac­tor John McAr­dle will en­ter­tain au­di­ences with a bat­tle of wills and lots of laughs in Stran­raer Ryan Cen­tre on May 31 and the The­atre Royal, Dum­fries, on June 1.

Scot­tish En­sem­ble per­form two con­certs in­clud­ing Dance Mu­sic with guest direc­tor Malin Bro­man, leader of the Swedish Ra­dio Or­ches­tra and an award-win­ning vi­o­lin­ist, with the per­for­mance cel­e­brat­ing mu­sic de­signed to make us move on May 30 in The­atre Royal, Dum­fries.

Clos­ing the an­niver­sary pro­gramme will be Home and Hori­zon in Locker­bie Town Hall on June 2.

Cu­rated by Ali­son Burns, a suite of mu­sic, song and spo­ken word, in­spired by Dum­fries and Gal­loway will be per­formed by a se­lec­tion of the coun­try’s top mu­si­cians in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Scot­tish En­sem­ble, fea­tur­ing the re­gion’s ex­cep­tional home-grown tal­ent’ such as Emily Smith, Robyn Sta­ple­ton, Wendy Ste­wart, Aaron Jones, Clare Mann, Jamie McClen­nan and award-win­ning writer Tom Pow.

To see the full pro­gramme, visit www.dgarts­fes­ti­val.

Great show An­drew McTag­gart in A Lit­tle Bit of HMS Pi­nafore with Scot­tish Opera.

Open­ing show Lost at Sea will get fes­ti­val un­der way

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