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. org.uk
Great show Andrew McTaggart in A Little Bit of HMS Pinafore with Scottish Opera.
Opening show Lost at Sea will get festival under way