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Seminary grant follows hit Hinterland show

Vlad cigarThere has been an interesting development following Hinterland, the multi-media event, which took place at St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, just outside Helensburgh.

It’s been announced that arts group NVA have received a £3.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional support pledged by Creative Scotland, to turn this former training centre for catholic priests into a permanent arts venue.

Andy McMillan and Isi Dmetzstein’s masterpiece stands in secluded woodlands with panoramic views of the Clyde below.  As Hinterland proved, this is a unique space in which to stage art. 

The news that it is to become a permanent arts centre is one of the most welcome developments to Scotland’s creative industries for several years.




Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh  Wednesday 23rd March to Sunday 9th April 7.30pm

Possibly one of the most imaginative and thought-provoking pieces of theatre to have been produced in Scotland so far this year, telling the tale of a little-known brutal episode from our nation’s history.  I Am Thomas tells the story of Thomas Aikenhead,, the last heretic hanged in Scotland for that historic crime., and it is a surprisingly uplifting account of his demise. When set in the broad sweep of history, what is most remarkable about Aikenhead’s execution is how comparatively recently it took place.  Thomas Aikenhead (ironically a student of divinity) was convicted on hearsay evidence, having been overheard in a drunken pub conversation questioning the existence of God.  What is most remarkable about the story from the pre-Enlightenment era, is that within fifty years Scots philosopher David Hume would be publishing globally-acclaimed book, expressing exactly the same ideas. Set in the eighteenth century, this production by ground-breaking theatre company Told By An Idiot will strip away all the contradictions of religious fundamentalism in a surprisingly light style.  As a musical comedy about a public execution, it is unique.


Dundee Rep   Until Saturday 9th April  Times Vary

For those of you looking for excursions to entertain the family, there can be few theatre shows more suitable than this re-working of the traditional fairy story, in inimitable style of Dundee Rep’s resident ensemble.


Scottish Storytelling Centre, High Street, Edinburgh  Thursday 31st March 8pm

One of the surprise hits of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Written by comedian Keir McAllister, who also plays one of the main roles, The Last Laugh is superficially a play  about comedy.  However, the underlying themes  of this joyous hour-long romp are more to do with honesty and personal integrity.


Eden Court, Inverness   Until 2nd April   times vary

The National Theatre of Scotland’s critically-acclaimed The James Plays was one of the theatrical highlights of last year.  Audiences in the Highlands have the opportunity to see the series before NTS embarks on a World Tour.



The Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow  Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd April 8.30pm

East London geezer Jeff Innocent is quite simply one of the finest purveyors of the craft of stand-up comedy currently working in the UK.  With his imposing physique, shaved head and broad cockney accent, Innocent has the sound and appearance of a nightclub bouncer. His comedy, however, is surprisingly sensitive, self-revealing and intellectually challenging.


Breakneck Comedy, The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen   Saturday 9th April 8.30

Foster Comedy Award nominee Seymour Mace heads up a very strong bill at Aberdeen’s premier comedy club.  Mace’s surreal Geordie wit is always entertaining, and he remains one of the most concisely creative stand-ups in the country.



Inverleith House, Modern Art Gallery and Talbot Rice Gallery.  Until 8th May

On tour from the Hayward Gallery in London’s South Bank, British Art Show 8 comes to Edinburgh until the spring at three venues in the city.  Catch it at Inverleith House, which is in the Royal Botanic Gardens, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and at The Talbot-Rice Gallery in the University.



Pitlochry Festival Theatre  Friday 1st April 7.30pm

If you fancy a break in the Highlands, where better than Pitlochry where you can round off a day walking in the hills by taking in a show at the stunning Festival Theatre.  Scots folk-rock fusion band Skerryvore bring their unique musical stylings to the venue in the first weekend in April.

Vladimir McTavish will be performing at Yes Bar, Drury Street, Glasgow on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April, at 8pm and 10pm each night.

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