The Hit List
The big events in Scotland over the next seven days ... and why you’d be crazy to miss them
• Festival Soundfestival Oct 24 to Nov 4 Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Soundfestival, a festival showcasing the best in new classical music in Scotland and beyond, returns to venues in the north-east this week.
Running from October 24 to November 4, the festival features 40 concerts in 19 venues across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
The festival will feature new music from prominent composers such as Oscar Strasnoy, Sally Beamish, Diana Burrell and John de Simone, as well as performances from some of the most cutting-edge contemporary ensembles from around the world including Icebreaker, Ensemble Klang, 2e2m and Red Note.
Soundfestival will also feature concerts marking the centenary of the 1918 Armistice and the first public performances by two recently-formed Aberdeen new music ensembles. Related exhibitions, workshops, family-friendly events and late night sessions will also complement the central live performances.
The main strands this year are a showcase of the viola, the second in the festival’s “endangered instruments” series (following the bassoon last year), and work by female composers such as violist Sally Beamish who performs in the premiere of her new work for six violas.
• Family Quest For Oz
Until Oct 28, Drummohr House Grounds
Inspired by the works of Wizard Of Oz creator Frank Baum, Quest For Oz is an “augmented reality adventure game” which sees the grounds of Drummohr House, an 18th-century mansion near Musselburgh, transformed into an illuminated Land of Oz.
It’s suitable for families, children and inquisitive game fans of all ages; adventurers are set the challenge of finding bricks the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion have hidden following the destruction of the yellow brick road during a battle between the Witches of the East and the West.
Theatre-makers Vision Mechanics, who created Quest For Oz, are now based in the mansion’s former stables after being required to leave their Leith workshop to make way for the developers, a fate now common to many artists and creative businesses in the area.
Now they will base many of their productions in the Drummohr House grounds, which during Quest For Oz will be illuminated with installations such as a 10-metre projection of a monkey made up of the painted faces of thousands of pupils from East Lothian schools.
Using a mixture of live performance, puppetry, light shows and interactive tech, visitors will be able to meet characters such as Glinda the Good in her Bubble Garden and seller of lotions and potions Doc Wonder.
Adventurers can also test their skills in the Mind Maze or get lost in the Carnival of Dreams with the help of Vision Mechanics’ own app developed with puppeteer and designer Colin Purves.
The app’s roots came from an image often associated with the Wizard of Oz.
“My idea was that the magic was all around you, but you had to access it through going behind the curtain,” says Symon Macintyre, artistic director of Vision Mechanics. “Here the app is the curtain that allows you to see into this other world.” He adds: “I don’t want kids to be in front of screens being inactive,” says Macintyre. “But there’s no way that I can defeat that screen. Instead, my idea was to take that screen and use it so you can run around the outdoors.”
• Film Opening of Everyman Cinema Oct 26, Princes Square, Glasgow
Boutique cinema operator Everyman Cinemas are to open their first picture house in Scotland this week in Princes Square, the elegant and airy shopping centre off Glasgow’s Buchanan Street named Scotland’s Favourite Building by the Royal Institute for Architects in Scotland in 2016.
Already with 22 venues in England, Everyman have signed a 30 year lease on the unit, which will house three intimate auditoriums, seating 95, 74 and 36 cinema-goers respectively.
Everyman Glasgow opens its doors on October 26 for guests who have a choice to see either Ryan Gosling star as Neil Armstrong in First Man or Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges and Jon Hamm star in Bad Times At The El Royale, “a rundown hotel with a dark past”.
Also featuring will be Dexter Fletcher’s long-awaited Queen celebration Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury (pictured, below right).
“We genuinely can’t wait to open for business in Princes Square,” says Everyman chief executive Crispin Lilly. “We think there’s a great community in Glasgow and an audience that will really enjoy spending the evening with us.We aim to make every guest’s visit special no matter what they choose to watch, and make them fall in love with a night at the cinema.”
• Theatre Manpower, October 24 Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
First performed to a stunned audience the day Trump was elected back in November 2016, Manpower will this month be presented by Borders-based performance duo and theatre makers Two Destination Language. It’s their take on the changing roles for men during four decades of Britain’s industrial decline since the 1970s.
The piece is centred on a large wooden structure that is built live on stage by Alister Lownie, while Bulgarian artist Katherina Radeva begins to tell the story of her perception of the British working class and how traditional roles and expectations of men are in flux.
Originally intended as a playful work about men and masculinity, it was reworked by the pair following the vote to leave the EU in June 2016.
“That playful piece was beginning to feel quite drowned out by a sea of bullying male voices on the political landscape both here and in America,” says Lownie. “They were laying claim to the idea of ‘taking back control’, which is quite a traditionally male, hierarchical view of how a society might be built.”
The majority of Manpower’s words are spoken by Radeva, whose on-stage character has split audiences.
“She is a bit of a Thatcherite figure,” Lownie says. “A faultline can appear in the audience between people thinking the piece is satirising those views, or supporting them. That’s what we’re trying to do, create a little bit of space to talk about those differences.”
Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe earlier this year with Fallen Fruit, a play about Bulgaria in the 1980s and 1990s, Manpower tours to Greenock on October 24 before being performed at Glasgow’s Platform on Oct 25 and Eastgate Theatre in Peebles on November 28.
Lownie adds: “It’s not about what side you’re on, it’s about beginning to find ways of talking to one another across those divides, about sparking conversations which might not have happened otherwise.”
Running every evening from Saturday October 27 through to November 11 is GlasGLOW, a new sound and light experience taking place in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period and beyond. Inspired by Disney and Steven Spielberg’s adventure movies of the 1980s, GlasGLOW promises a realm where dragons live and magic awaits. Its finale “has to be seen to be believed”, according to organisers – the itison deals site, which is based in the city.
“What we have in store is completely epic and we can’t wait to share this spectacular world of fantasy, magical encounters and stunning sound and light,” says Oli Norman of itison,who lives close by the city’s gardens.
Violist Sally Beamish is one of the 50 female composers whose work is set to feature at Soundfestival in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Above left: Red Note Ensemble perform at Soundfestival in Aberdeen. Above: take a look behind the curtain in adventure game Quest For Oz