Published on : Thursday, December 1, 2016
Electric Theatre Workshop are delighted to announce the return of Scotland’s (and the world’s) biggest Burns Night celebration, The Big Burns Supper, which is gearing up for its sixth and most ambitious festival to date.
After a barnstorming 2016 from the heart of Scotland and the place where its most infamous poet, Robert Burns, spent his final years; where whisky and poetry combines in perfect accord and the room shakes with celebration from the rafters to the floor, the new ten-day format festival in Dumfries runs from the 20 – 29 January and will entertain an anticipated 30,000 attendees, with the popularity of previous years seeing the festival being increased in length to ten days, with the addition of TheSunday Session on 29th January; a full day party featuring some of Scotland’s biggest stars.
Supported by Scotland’s Winter Festivals, this year’s festival promises a huge range of entertainment to suit all tastes, with Headliners including the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Charlie Landsborough, Lulu, King Cresote, Seth Lakeman, Nicola Benedetti, Hackney Colliery Band,Eddi Reader, Peatbog Faeries, Skerryvore and Dervish.
Making a triumphant return is Burns Night Live on Burns Night itself, Wednesday 25th January. This year, the much loved event will be hosted by double BBC2 Folk Award nominee, Emily Smith, and also event includes over 40 different artists from across Dumfries & Galloway in a unique show which is suitable for grownups and families alike. The event will also be broadcast online live through the festival website ensuring that it is as far-reaching a cultural event as possible.
The centrepiece of the Festival is, of course, the notorious Le Haggis, Scotland’s Sexiest Cabaretjam-packed with international artists, and featuring the hottest local talent like you’ve never seen them before. Le Haggis is one of the most cutting edge shows anywhere in Scotland. Set to a live contemporary traditional Scottish soundtrack and performed by some of the finest pop-folk troubadours around.
New for 2017, and key to the festival’s commitments to making cultural events accessible to all, isQueer Haggis, an LGBTQ special edition of Le Haggis which will run on Thursday 26th January. Queer Haggis, which will be a South of Scotland Winter Pride event, will include a host ofinternational queer artists alongside the Le Haggis company and promises to be the most alternative version of the show to date.
Another essential new element of this year’s festival is Transform Dumfries, a brand-newcommunity development project that will see eight neighbourhood hubs presenting 35different events, all as part of the overall Festival. . Each area has created its own community programme which is designed to encourage even more local participation at the Festival. The Transform Dumfries project created by a team of eight, especially appointed community leaders who have been working with festival organisers ahead of the Festival. They are exceptionally varied in content, including everything from a Ghost Tour of Lincluden Abby, to a Pensioners Choir in Lochside.
At the heart of Big Burns Supper is the ongoing desire and commitment to make sure cultural experience is ageless, with events for all generations. Washing Line Project, is a special heritage project involving over 300 older people who have contributed stories about their memories of the town. The free public art project will see over 120 pieces of clothing hanging across the town centre throughout the festival witheach piece of clothing represents a memory – a real chance to contrast Dumfries of old, to the present day
And at the other end of the generational scale, Bairns Day Oot is a special event for children, which has been created by parents in partnership with Peter Pan MoatBrae and the Theatre Royal. Taking place on Saturday 28th January, and open to all children under the age of nine, the three-hour event will see the Theatre Royal transform into a giant interactive playground.
Perhaps one of the most popular parts of the proceedings, The Carnival will make a return on Sunday 22nd January, Thousands of people will lined the streets of Dumfries for this spectacular carnival which takes place on the first Sunday of the Festival.And it’s not just a one night chance for locals to enjoy the parade; the Festival has been working with volunteers from eight to 80 up across the length and breadth of Dumfries, insuring people to get involved in creating floats, masks and lanterns to the highest professional standards. Irish Celtic legends Dervish will also play a special post Burns Night Carnival performance at the Easterbrook Hall on Sunday 22nd January.
Other highlights include:
An Interactive Haggis Hunt which will run for the duration of the Festival throughout the town centre and will see the audience looking for sixteen different Hamish the Haggis mascots which are hidden throughout the town.
Simply Dylan – John O’Connell’s personal exploration and celebration of the rich and diverse work of Bob Dylan. The show will include special guests who will be playing their favourite Dylan songs onSaturday 28th January.
Festival of Light project – a free event which will run throughout the Festival, from dusk until dawn, and help to animate parts of the town centre.The project is led by local film-maker John Wallace, artist Robbie Coleman and Producer David Smith.
Paul Foot – Described as a “rare exotic bird” of comedy (Daily Express), Paul first won the BBC New Comedy Award in 1997, and has since received a slew of other nominations he appears regularly on BBC Radio 4.Paul willappearat Theatre Royal on Tuesday 24th January
Quantum Magic – premiered last year at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Shows have received multiple five star reviews, which resulted in a Radio 4 commission and received multiple awards.Quantum Magic plays at the Theatre Royal on Monday 23rd January
Graham Main, Executive Producer of Big Burns Supper said:
“This year’s programme offers something for everybody, with shows and events for all tastes and ages.We have tried to create a space where lots of different people can come together. The festival also provides a great opportunity for those further beyond the borders of Scotland to engage with Scottish culture.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“The Big Burns Supper is a fantastic event and a fitting celebration of the country’s national Bard. Scotland’s history and heritage is what defines the country for many visitors – it’s an integral and iconic part of our national brand as well as a major contributor to our economy. Robert Burns’ place in Scottish heritage fascinates culturephiles from across the world and we hope events like the Big Burns Supper will inspire visitors to discover our past in 2017 as we celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”
Commenting on Transform Dumfries, Graham Main said:
“Transform Dumfries is about audiences being at the centre of the celebration in their own distinctive way. It’s all about getting people involved and inviting more people to come and celebrate.The idea that there are parties and events happening in every nook and cranny of Dumfries, helps to reenergise Dumfries as a cultural winter destination”
This festival gives partygoers the best chance in Scotland to enjoy a multitude of toasts of fine scotch and whisky, while taking in the beautiful wn of Dumfries – the perfect backdrop to the blockbuster that is Big Burns Supper, with its pubs, taverns and heart-warming character which will open its arms and hold your hand through every foot-stomping whisky-drinking rabble-rousing, verse of Auld Lang Syne, all done the Rabbie Burns’ way…