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Capital Theatres re-emerging from the Darkness

Capital Theatres Re-opening Plans!

Capital Theatres who operate The Festival Theatre, The King’s Theatre and The Studio in Edinburgh have confirmed they will open there doors from 29 June 2021 welcoming the first in-person audiences to their venues in 15 months.

Audiences can look forward to series of socially distanced performances over the summer alongside enhanced COVID safety measures, working towards a full programme of events from the autumn onwards.

Speaking to Scotsgay Arts Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres said:

“After closing our doors on 16 March and ‘going dark’ for longer than any of us would ever have imagined; we’re delighted to be able to welcome our audiences back into our theatres. We’ve worked closely with Scottish Government and the wider theatre industry to ensure that audiences can feel safe, comfortable and secure as they return to the joy of live performance. Our summer programme, using socially distanced seating plans, will build the confidence of audience, staff and artists alike as we look forward to a full programme of events this autumn, bringing you all the thrilling variety and entertainment which Capital Theatres is famous for.”

The Donmar’s Production of Blindness

The Festival Theatre will open on 29 June with Blindness, a theatrical sound installation from the Donmar Warehouse with the voice of Juliet Stephenson. After critically acclaimed sell-out runs in London and New York, Edinburgh audiences will experience this unique event on the Festival Theatre stage itself.  In July the Festival Theatre will welcome  Zog; Caitlin Moran: More Than A Woman LIVE!; Silent Cinema: A Night of Laurel & Hardy; Rosie Kay: Absolute Solo II; all on socially distanced seating plans in line with the latest government guidance.  Looking to August Scottish Opera will return to the Festival Theatre with Falstaff as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

The Grand old Lady of Leven Street, The King’s Theatre will reopen with spy thriller A Splinter of Ice starring Oliver Ford Davies (Game of Thrones, Star Wars) as Graham Greene, Stephen Boxer (The Crown) as Kim Philby running from Tuesday 13th July. The kings will then return to its full capacity for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me On A Sunday starring Jodi Prenger running from Tuesday 14th September.

Both The Festival and The King’s will be fully programmed from September onwards. Highlights include Grease; The Play That Goes Wrong; Dirty Dancing; Bedknobs and Broomsticks; Six; Wise Children’s Wuthering Heights; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; National Theatre of Scotland’s Orphans and The Enemy; Stewart Lee and just announced The Cher Show.

The Magic of Panto will Return to the Kings!

Looking ahead to the end of the year, Capital Theatres have confirmed the return of the much-loved Christmas shows; The King’s Panto Sleeping Beauty there is no word on casting as yet but its expected Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Jordan Young will all return. The Festival theatre will welcome Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker as there festive treat.

Capital Theatres have yet to announce the programme for The Studio but hopefully it too will open its doors soon. After the longest dark period in history, it’s wonderful to see the biggest theatres in Edinburgh and indeed Scotland emerging with exciting plans and a programme that truly has something on offer for everyone.

For more information on all productions and to book tickets go to: www.capitaltheatres.com

Preview

Edinburgh International Festival 2021, Preview:

The International Festival returns:

Edinburgh International Festival, the world’s leading performing arts festival, pioneers the return of live performance in Scotland from 7th – 29th August with a diverse programme of UK and international artists. The return of live performance marks a significant turning point for Scotland’s cultural sector by providing a platform for artists to return to the stage after over a year. The Festival’s ambition is to pave the way for other organisations to rebuild their own live performance programmes and to re-establish Edinburgh as a global celebration of culture.  The 2021 programme features over 170 classical and contemporary music, theatre, opera, dance and spoken word performances, including 15 new commissions and premieres. Audience safety is central to the planning of the 2021 Festival, with measures including outdoor venues, social distancing, shorter performances with no intervals, audience members seated in bubbles and, in a first for the International Festival, online access to 21 free full-length performances.

specially constructed outdoor venues feature in this years festival

Venues being used for the 2021 Festival include especially constructed outdoor venues at Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Parabola’s Edinburgh Park development and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad, alongside carefully planned performances at the Festival Theatre, Traverse Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre and Dance Base.

Highlights of the programme include:

• Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Night Light – A free large-scale fire night-walk, created by French artist collective Compagnie Carabosse, that combines elaborate fire sculptures and live traditional Scottish music against the backdrop of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

• Two operas-in-concert featuring two of the world’s most celebrated sopranos. A new concert staging of Ariadne auf Naxos stars Dorothea Röschmann in the title role alongside David Butt Philip as Bacchus. Composer Errollyn Wallen continues the story of Dido and Aeneas in Dido’s Ghost, interweaving the music of Purcell’s original tragedy within her own new opera which stars South African soprano Golda Schultz.

• The world premiere of Medicine, Enda Walsh’s latest play featuring star of stage-and-screen Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Brooklyn, The Revenant, Star Wars VIII & IX, Harry Potter series), which examines society’s relation with mental health.

• Nicola Benedetti in residence across two weeks at the Festival, appearing with the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra, with a specially selected ensemble in Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and in a solo performance The Story of the Violin.

Alan Cumming returns for the 2021 Festival

• Alan Cumming returning to the Festival for the first UK performances of his new show Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age, an evening of story and song which celebrates ageing.  Alan returns to the festival following his sell out success with Alan Cumming sings sappy songs in 2016.

• A contemporary music line-up including London-based guitar bands black midi and Black Country, New Road; new jazz from Kokoroko, The Comet is Coming and Moses Boyd; iconic female voices including Laura Mvula, Nadine Shah and Kathryn Joseph; Anna Meredith’s return to the International Festival; West Lothian indie band The Snuts; and Damon Albarn performs tracks from his extensive back catalogue, including current project The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows. Visiting international artists include Fatoumata Diawara, Sona Jobarteh, Tune-Yards and Caribou.

• Scottish Opera returning to the International Festival with a new production of Falstaff by Glasgow-born director Sir David McVicar.

• Leading orchestras from across the UK including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko and featuring Isata Kannah-Mason, the London Symphony Orchestra led by Sir Simon Rattle, the Chineke! Orchestra with William Eddins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dalia Stasevska.

• Global figures in classical music lead and perform with Scottish orchestras, including two concerts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, one conducted by Valery Gergiev and featuring Daniil Trifonov and another led by Elim Chan with Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta. Marin Alsop conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a programme including Beethoven’s Fifth and Kazushi Ono leads the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

• Dance includes a new filmed version of Akram Khan’s Chotto Xenos, four dance films from international choreographers Omar Rajeh, Gregory Maqoma, Alice Ripoll and Janice Parker for Dancing in the Streets and Curious Seed’s Field – Something for the Future Now.

• Thomas Quasthoff featured in three performances across the Festival, appearing in Ariadne auf Naxos as the Major Domo, leading his jazz quartet for an intimate evening of vocal classics and hosting two public masterclasses with outstanding young singers.

• The Royal Lyceum Theatre plays host to live audiences for the first time in over year, with a programme including the National of Scotland’s Lament for Sheku Bayoh and rehearsed readings of Hindu Times by Jaimini Jethwa and You Bury Me by Ahlam.

A Grand Night for Singing

A Grand Night for Singing – a staged musical revue which showcases the iconic songs of classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Staged by musical theatre performer Kim Criswell and conducted by Wayne Marshall, the handpicked cast features Criswell alongside Danielle de Niese.

• The Old College Quad series of intimate recitals including performances from piano masters Elisabeth Leonskaja, Mariam Batsashvili, Ronald Brautigam and the much-loved Scottish pianist Malcolm Martineau celebrating the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth. Vocal recitals include Norwegian lyric soprano Mari Eriksmoen in her International Festival debut, Gerald Finley and Renée Fleming with chamber music from Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, Zehetmair Quartet and more.

In the Tradition – a programme of traditional Scottish music and interconnected folk traditions which features leading artists and ensembles such as Rura, Talisk, the Kinnaris Quintet, Karine Polwart and Siobhan Miller

As part of the International Festival’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, the 2021 programme includes audio described, captioned and British Sign Language interpreted performances, free tickets to classical music concerts for 200 young people and a free, large-scale opening event.

General booking for the 2021 International Festival opens on Friday 11 June.

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival said:

“The programme we are announcing today represents a carefully organised return to live performance. It is a collaborative effort between those who live in our city, our artists, the team at the festival, our donors and stakeholders and all who will be coming along to our performances.

“While so much has been written and said about the challenges of the past 15 months, it is now time to look to the future and to the brilliant musicians, actors, dancers and poets who are getting ready to perform Edinburgh this August.

“I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved in the Festival who has worked tirelessly in extraordinary circumstances and to thank our many partner organisations and stakeholders who have contributed to this programme. None of us can be certain of what the coming months will bring but we are committed to working together on returning to the joy of live performance.”

The 2021 festival promises a diverse plethora of artists across the programme drawing heavily on home grown talent. Following the cancellation of last year’s festival, it’s vital this year’s event re-establishes itself as the bench mark for the arts thus ensuring Scotland continues to lead the arts world. A programme of this calibre ensures we are now well on our way to achieving that.

So check the programme for yourself and get booking those tickets.

 The Edinburgh International Festival will run from the 7th – 29th August across the capital for full details and tickets (box office opens 11th June) go to: www.eif.co.uk

Mary Woodward Preview

Scottish Opera presents L’ELISIR D’AMORE

SCOTTISH OPERA INTOXICATES WITH DONIZETTI’S COMIC ELIXIR –  L’ELISIR D’AMORE

On Thursday 17 June Scottish Opera premieres a new film of Donizetti’s charming opera L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) in the latest Scottish Opera: On Screen

Donizetti was a highly significant figure in Italian opera in the 1830s, with this comic opera being one of the most frequently performed at the time. It continues to be hugely popular today. The story is a rom-com in which the poor and naive gardener Nemorino, besotted with the beautiful and wealthy Adina, struggles to overcome the difference in social class to express his love for her. When the eccentric travelling performer Dulcamara arrives in town, deceiving locals with his lure and wit, Nemorino falls for his charm, convinced he can win Adina’s heart with Dulcamara’s magic ‘elixir of love’.

Filmed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal on 22 May 2021, it will be available to watch on the Scottish Opera website from Thursday 17 June at 7pm in collaboration with Perth Festival. Before then, BBC Radio Scotland features audio excerpts from the performance as part of a special Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall, on Sunday 13 June.

Director Roxana Haines (Così fan tutte 2020, La bohème 2020) creates a setting in the Austen era, twenty years before the opera was written, decorating the Theatre Royal Glasgow as lavish estate grounds, ideal for the collision of the worlds of high regency England and working class.  

Packed full of humour and uplifting melodies, Roxana’s re-telling is the perfect summer romance to transport audiences to a different era, with extravagant period inspired costumes and intricate commedia dell’arte puppetry.

Director, Roxana Haines said: ‘Setting the narrative twenty years earlier means we can relocate it to Regency England; a time when social distancing was part of social etiquette, allowing us to embrace this as the norm in the film. This era, most familiar to us through Jane Austen’s novels, was laced with obsessions with social status and romance across class boundaries, all perfectly mirrored in Donizetti’s comedy.’

The cast includes guest principal Roland Wood (La bohème 2020, Tosca 2019) and three of the 2020/21 Scottish Opera Emerging Artists who also appeared in the 2020 film of Così fan tutteCatriona Hewitson as Adina, Shengzhi Ren as Nemorino and Arthur Bruce as Belcore. This is their final film together as Emerging Artists. Elena Garrido Madrona from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Alexander Gibson Opera School is Giannetta. Stuart Stratford conducts the cast along with a full-size Orchestra of Scottish Opera (physically distanced on the stage), as well as an impressive 18 strong chorus as upper class society.

Jonathan Haswell is Film Director, having previously worked on the Company’s Così fan tutte 2020 and Hansel and Gretel 2021. With the increasing demand for digital performances over the last year, Jonathan has worked with the Company to help bring opera into the homes of thousands through the Scottish Opera: On Screen collection.

An Audio Described version of the film will also be made available. This is the latest in Scottish Opera’s Audio Described opera films, all of which have proved extremely popular with viewers.

Available to watch via Scottish Opera’s website: www.scottishopera.org.uk/shows/lelisir-damore/.

Mary Woodward Preview

LIVE THEATRE, MUSIC, AND OPERA RETURN TO GLASGOW!!

LIVE THEATRE, MUSIC, AND OPERA RETURN TO GLASGOW!!

Live theatre, music and opera are back, with the announcement of an outdoor festival at Scottish Opera’s Production Studio car park at 40 Edington Street, Glasgow. 

Joined by Citizens Theatre and Scottish Ensemble in a specially created outdoor theatre, performances take place over four weeks from 3 July to 1 August.  Scottish Opera is thrilled to welcome audiences to once again enjoy stirring live entertainment, with the Company’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken and three concerts by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The Citizens Theatre presents a new production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and Scottish Ensemble partner with Social Bite to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Set in the same location as Scottish Opera’s five-star production of Puccini’s La bohème last September, this year the temporary outdoor venue has theatre-style seating for audiences of around 150, which will follow the latest guidelines from the Scottish Government. Tickets are on sale from June 8 on each company’s website.

Opening the festival on Saturday 3 July is Scottish Opera’s brand new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, directed and designed by world-renowned Scot Sir David McVicar. An exquisite seventeenth century stage design and period costumes set the scene for a stunning production of Verdi’s comic opera, in what promises to be an evening of comedy, pathos and entertainment. During the festival, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera perform three lunchtime concerts with playful repertoire, including Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 2 and a programme of hugely entertaining music for brass and wind by Crespo, Dvořàk and Stravinsky. The festival finale is Scottish Opera’s Young Company with a production of Kurt Weill’s bold and absurd comedy The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken.

The Citizens Theatre presents The Comedy of Errors – Shakespeares ritous tale of mistaken identity and reunited families. Directed by Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this stripped-back, lively and colourful production will be performed by a talented ensemble. With live music and physcial comedy, this farcical 90-minute show will provide a fun return to live theatre performance for audiences in Glasgow.

Performing in four concerts over two days, the 12-strong Scottish Ensemble will bring to life Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece, The Four Seasons. It may have been written in the 1700s, but this piece speaks to the volatility and ever-changing pace of the world today with a piercing, poignant precision. Scottish Ensemble celebrates new beginnings and the passing of time by partnering with Scottish charity and social enterprise Social Bite. Together, they present Sound Bites – a programme based on the notion that sharing food and listening to music with others are experiences at the heart of peoples’ lives as social beings. Sound Bites connects those two worlds with a themed picnic box available for audience members to enjoy during the concerts. 10% of ticket sales for Scottish Ensemble performances are being donated to Social Bite and its work helping to end homelessness.

Scottish Opera’s General Director Alex Reedijk said: ‘Live at No. 40 is a celebration of the performing arts industry and its resilience over what has been a trying and difficult year. We are delighted to have the opportunity to come together with Scottish Ensemble and Citizens Theatre to share our car park and mark what we hope will be the beginning of the return to live performance. Performing outside allows us the greatest chance to make safe shows and share with the most amount of people. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back for our selection of performances, to belly laugh, to weep, to be astounded and surprised, in what is sure to be a sensational return to live entertainment.’ 

Citizens Theatre’s Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, said: ‘We are delighted to be invited by Scottish Opera to join this celebratory return to live performance, safely reuniting artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of theatre, opera and classical music. We can’t wait to get back on stage and come together again as a community to enjoy a fun Shakespeare comedy in an atmospheric outdoor setting. It will be a joyous moment of reunion. While our building continues to be redeveloped, it’s a great opportunity to provide an alternative way to see a Citizens Theatre production this summer.’

Interim Chief Executive at Scottish Ensemble, William Norris, said: ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is so ever-fresh, so full of contrast, drama and energy that it seems tailor made for Scottish Ensemble’s first public performances in over a year – and we’re particularly thrilled to be performing it as part of a great example of cultural team-work, working alongside our friends at Scottish Opera and Citizens Theatre. As ever though we’re doing things just a little differently, and are so excited to be partnering with the homelessness charity Social Bite for these performances – not only will a portion of the proceeds of every ticket purchased go to support their vital work, but they have devised a mouth-watering picnic that will pair perfectly with Vivaldi’s deliciously good music.

We can’t wait to be back on stage and seeing our audiences face to face again as part of the brilliant Live at No.40festival – a celebration of some of the best of Glasgow’s cultural creativity.’

Live theatre, music and opera are back, with the announcement of an outdoor festival at Scottish Opera’s Production Studio car park at 40 Edington Street, Glasgow. 

Joined by Citizens Theatre and Scottish Ensemble in a specially created outdoor theatre, performances take place over four weeks from 3 July to 1 August.  Scottish Opera is thrilled to welcome audiences to once again enjoy stirring live entertainment, with the Company’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken and three concerts by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The Citizens Theatre presents a new production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and Scottish Ensemble partner with Social Bite to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Set in the same location as Scottish Opera’s five-star production of Puccini’s La bohème last September, this year the temporary outdoor venue has theatre-style seating for audiences of around 150, which will follow the latest guidelines from the Scottish Government. Tickets are on sale from June 8 on each company’s website.

Opening the festival on Saturday 3 July is Scottish Opera’s brand new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, directed and designed by world-renowned Scot Sir David McVicar. An exquisite seventeenth century stage design and period costumes set the scene for a stunning production of Verdi’s comic opera, in what promises to be an evening of comedy, pathos and entertainment. During the festival, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera perform three lunchtime concerts with playful repertoire, including Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 2 and a programme of hugely entertaining music for brass and wind by Crespo, Dvořàk and Stravinsky. The festival finale is Scottish Opera’s Young Company with a production of Kurt Weill’s bold and absurd comedy The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken.

The Citizens Theatre presents The Comedy of Errors – Shakespeares ritous tale of mistaken identity and reunited families. Directed by Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this stripped-back, lively and colourful production will be performed by a talented ensemble. With live music and physcial comedy, this farcical 90-minute show will provide a fun return to live theatre performance for audiences in Glasgow.

Performing in four concerts over two days, the 12-strong Scottish Ensemble will bring to life Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece, The Four Seasons. It may have been written in the 1700s, but this piece speaks to the volatility and ever-changing pace of the world today with a piercing, poignant precision. Scottish Ensemble celebrates new beginnings and the passing of time by partnering with Scottish charity and social enterprise Social Bite. Together, they present Sound Bites – a programme based on the notion that sharing food and listening to music with others are experiences at the heart of peoples’ lives as social beings. Sound Bites connects those two worlds with a themed picnic box available for audience members to enjoy during the concerts. 10% of ticket sales for Scottish Ensemble performances are being donated to Social Bite and its work helping to end homelessness.

Scottish Opera’s General Director Alex Reedijk said: ‘Live at No. 40 is a celebration of the performing arts industry and its resilience over what has been a trying and difficult year. We are delighted to have the opportunity to come together with Scottish Ensemble and Citizens Theatre to share our car park and mark what we hope will be the beginning of the return to live performance. Performing outside allows us the greatest chance to make safe shows and share with the most amount of people. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back for our selection of performances, to belly laugh, to weep, to be astounded and surprised, in what is sure to be a sensational return to live entertainment.’ 

Citizens Theatre’s Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, said: ‘We are delighted to be invited by Scottish Opera to join this celebratory return to live performance, safely reuniting artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of theatre, opera and classical music. We can’t wait to get back on stage and come together again as a community to enjoy a fun Shakespeare comedy in an atmospheric outdoor setting. It will be a joyous moment of reunion. While our building continues to be redeveloped, it’s a great opportunity to provide an alternative way to see a Citizens Theatre production this summer.’

Interim Chief Executive at Scottish Ensemble, William Norris, said: ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is so ever-fresh, so full of contrast, drama and energy that it seems tailor made for Scottish Ensemble’s first public performances in over a year – and we’re particularly thrilled to be performing it as part of a great example of cultural team-work, working alongside our friends at Scottish Opera and Citizens Theatre. As ever though we’re doing things just a little differently, and are so excited to be partnering with the homelessness charity Social Bite for these performances – not only will a portion of the proceeds of every ticket purchased go to support their vital work, but they have devised a mouth-watering picnic that will pair perfectly with Vivaldi’s deliciously good music.

We can’t wait to be back on stage and seeing our audiences face to face again as part of the brilliant Live at No.40festival – a celebration of some of the best of Glasgow’s cultural creativity.’

Preview by Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward Review

Scottish Ballet Dive

Scottish Ballet Dive

**** (four stars)

Sophie Laplane’s latest piece for Scottish Ballet is just over thirteen minutes long but it’s packed with so many layers of sound and movement  that I was reaching for the repeat button almost as soon as I’d watched the last image, desperate to recapture the constantly-changing, fleeting moments of motion and stillness that make up this extraordinary piece.

The piece started to the sound of a diver’s breathing, but I was almost instantly distracted from the ballet by the music – a piano arrangement of Schubert’s Ständchen, which I know and love so well that I was pulled deep into the music and almost had to fight myself to turn my attention back to the dancing.  

A frozen man, dressed in white, was lying on the floor: he slowly uncurled from his foetal position.  Frenetic music broke into the stillness as a woman dressed in blue, in a blue room, irrupted into his space.  She flailed her hair and body about, drank an espresso, and vanished.  Schubert’s tranquility returned.

Dive makes constant interplay between blue and white costumes and spaces; motion and stillness; calm and frenetic music, and silence and breathing.  Dancers breathe puffs of blue vapour into the air.  People appear and disappear in instants, singly or in groups, in isolation or as a heap of bodies.  At times they are frozen mid-movement: an alpaca calmly walks among them.  

The kaleidoscopic whirl of ideas can’t be grasped at a first viewing, and invites many repeats. It’s fascinating to have the camera so close to, and moving among, the dancers: I can only guess how hard it is to keep perfectly still while a camera drifts past one, only millimetres away.  And yet again Sophie Laplane asks her dancers to do things which appear impossible even while one is seeing the movement with one’s own eyes.

Dive is an astonishing production both choreographically and technologically.  It could not have been performed live: I for one am incredibly grateful for lockdown’s restrictions’ providing the catalyst to new forms of creativity.

Let us hope that next time Sophie Laplane creates a new work we’ll be able to watch it live on stage: until then, watch and marvel at Dive.

Scottish Ballet Dive, On line, available on website till 31 May 2021 Go to: https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/event/dive

Mary Woodward