A performing arts festival is singing the praises of a Dumfries trust fund after a £23,700 grant will help extend its programme to benefit younger festival goers.
As well as bringing the best in performing art to communities across Dumfries and Galloway, the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival is always looking for new ways in which to attract younger audiences and involve young people in its programme.
The grant from the Holywood Trust has enabled the festival to expand its programme for younger audiences across the region by providing skills workshops and masterclasses;; underwriting events planned by organisations involved with young people; putting on events that will appeal to younger audiences; and by offering half-price tickets for the under 26s.
Programme director Peter Renwick said: “The Holywood Trust has been a staunch supporter of the arts festival for a number of years and this generous grant will allow us to reach out further to attract younger audiences as well as nurture and support young performing artists in a number of ways.
“Young people have always been integral to our festival goals and this generous funding has allowed us to add a whole extra layer to the programme.”
“The grant has not only allowed us to secure a wide and varied range of acts for younger people, like the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Mimika Theatre, Des Clarke, Hardeep Singh Kholi and Stanley Odd, but it has also helped us to support events programmed by organisations who work with young people as well as develop a programme of workshops and masterclasses so that young people in our area get to learn from world class performing artists visiting our area.” A number of organisations will be working with young people promoting arts events supported by the festival.
Young people in Wigtown will host a concert at the town’s primary school by singer Lorna Reid, one of Scotland’s leading jazz singers, and organised by the Wigtown Book Festival; Music Beats will hold music industry workshops and gigs in Dumfries and Sanquhar; the Oasis Youth Centre bring young rapper Reece Robertson to their stage; Stranraer Music Town will present history-making duo Raintown to its local football club, supported by young Stranraer-based Artist Michaela Tennant; and Horse and Bamboo Theatre bring their visually stunning play to Loch Arthur’s Cresset Hall.
The festival will also host a number of engagement programmes in the form of workshops and educational sessions taking visiting artists to young people. These include masterclasses with the Scottish Ensemble; workshops with the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band; Stanley Odd rapping workshop; meet the artist sessions with local theatre groups; Robyn Stapleton workshop in Scottish songs; and how to master the art of performance photography with Castle Douglas photographer Kim Ayres.
Holywood Trust director Karen Ward Boyd added: “The trust is delighted to be supporting the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival once again in the programming of work for younger audiences in 2015. The festival has developed a fresh approach to help encourage and provide opportunities for young people across the region to engage with a range of high quality arts events and we hope as many young people as possible benefit from this.”