So, believe or not, we’re in February already. January pretty much disappeared under a blanket of snow and ennui. But following bleak January comes springtime optimism – the days are getting brighter and the ice on the car window is now only half an inch thick (side note: this writer lives on a hill, in East Kilbride).
To keep you guys entertained, here’s this month’s digital focused What’s On Guide, all of which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own couch. Or the two rooms you get to walk between while on the phone, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Until next month, stay safe.
Paisley Book Festival
18th till 27th February
Originally launched in 2020 and quickly establishing itself as one of the countries premier literature festivals, Paisley Book Festival is back again for 2021. And, of course, in order to keep everyone safe, this year’s festival will be delivered digitally. This year, most events are free with some special paid events which will help support the festival into 2022.
Spanning ten days, the event features talks with some of the most interesting and promising voices from Scottish literature and beyond. Paisley’s very own bookish gathering has stretched its arms to embrace all kinds of artists, and as headliners go, you’re not going to go far wrong with Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart and Canadian-born co-founder and director of the Scottish BAME Writers Network, poet Alycia Pirmohamed.
Scottish Opera: Hansel and Gretel
This fun, inventive and often poignant new staging of Hansel and Gretel from Daisy Evans (The Telephone) features Kathleen Ferrier Award-winner Kitty Whately as Hansel and Rhian Lois (La bohème, 2020) as Gretel, alongside Nadine Benjamin, Phillip Rhodes, former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Charlie Drummond (Così fan tutte, 2020) and a small chorus. Conductor David Parry leads The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
Humperdinck’s lush and majestic score is one to revel in and has something for everyone – from the beautiful ‘Evening Prayer’ to enchanting folk-inspired melodies – perfect for audiences young and old.
Filmed in December 2020. All performers observe current physical distancing guidelines throughout the filming of this concert.
StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival
6th till 14th March
Throughout the pandemic, people have been turning to poetry for consolation and inspiration, emphasising the pivotal nature of the artform to our emotional lives. Maybe we’ve just become more aware of it, but it seems there are now more poetry events happening all over Scotland, than ever. StAnza have a packed programme for you, with events, installations and exhibitions across this year’s themes of ‘Make It New’, and ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’. Plus, there’s a translated language focus with ‘Beyond the Iron Curtain’. Most of the programme is pay-what-you-can, which is pretty sweet.
Glasgow Film Festival Online
24th February till 7th March
A gem in the Scottish film industry, Glasgow Film Festival 2021 is of course a digital-only affair this year. But fret not: there are still plenty of fabulous films on offer.
They include the world premiere of Creation Stories, the (mostly) true story of Alan McGee and Creation Records, and documentaries such as Killing Escobar, the story of the Glasgow-born SAS member tasked with assassinating Pablo Escobar in 1989. LIMBO, filmed on Uist, wryly tells the story of a refugee waiting to be granted asylum on a fictional Scottish Island.
There will be dozens of premieres showing throughout the two-week festival, and films from all around the world, including a focus on South Korea. The GFF will also feature live Q&As, industry workshops, and panel discussions.
Curious About: Our Planet
18th February till 20th February
The Glasgow Science Centre proves itself to be a godsend to parents and teachers everywhere by hosting a three-day digital science festival, beamed directly into your front room. ‘Curious About: Our Planet’ uncovers climate change’s impact on Earth, and how a focus on sustainability can benefit us all.
With live talks, innovative interactive events, art exhibitions and much more, there’s plenty on offer for everyone, whether you’re 8 or 80. Even better, events across the three days are free of charge and you can access them from the comfort of your own couch (best to book ahead though, as there’ll be plenty of interest).
Pat Douthwaite: On The Edge
4th February till 20th February
A great opportunity to discover the brilliance of renowned self-taught Glasgow born artist Pat Douthwaite. The Scottish Gallery is hosting a virtual exhibition celebrating the achievements of one of Britain’s most talented modern era artists. Themes include everything from myth to real life crime via superheroes, fantasy, and fashion. Challenging and engaging, even after her passing Douthwaite’s work continues to intrigue art lovers around the world.
Gallery Director Guy Peploe knew the artist well and is the recognised expert on her work, so you’ll be in good hands.
CYCLE 21 Charity Event
Till 28th February
Grab your bike and join in the cycling fun of Cycle 21, where you can get yourself fit, boost your mental health, and raise some money for charity in the process. Choose between the 6 mile, 21 mile, or – if you’re really pushing yourself – the 44 mile challenge. Complete your challenge on any chosen day during the month, and post your triumphant selfies using #FWNCYCLE21
You can take part by riding indoors, or outdoors in your local area. To take part, simply register via the Spring Events website. All riders are raising money for the Free Wheel North 2021 fundraising campaign, which aims to give people from all walks of life the chance to make cycling an essential part of their everyday life.
Fintry Amateur Dramatic Society: Roaches Coaches
Till 1st December
Something a little bit different: this comedy podcast is set in a fictional Scottish small town bus depot. Roaches Coaches is written and directed by Ian Kidd, and follows the ups and downs of Keith Roache’s ailing bus company and his lovable but slightly hapless band of employees. In spite of vandalism, terrorism, and all manner of shenanigans, the buses all manage to leave the depot, no matter what.
Sherlock Holmes & The Case of The Hung Parliament
Till 13th February
A fully immersive and interactive virtual experience from the Olivier-nominated Les Enfants Terribles. Join Sherlock Holmes on his quest to discover what happened the night three members of the Government were found hanged, all dead on their birthday, and all receiving a card complete with a mysterious quote.
With 75 minutes on the clock before the murderer strikes again, travel back to Victorian London and team up with Holmes to solve the case of ‘The Case of the Hung Parliament’. At home, you can uncover more than 100 clues, featuring live performances and immersive 360° technology. Then, interview suspects and search for hidden clues in a race against time. Players can team up remotely or work with those at home, accompanied by the most famous detective of them all.
Corstorphine Window Wanderland
Trail and online – 27th February & 28th February
The last entry in this month’s guide is slightly ambitious, because we’re including it under the assumption that by the end of February, we’ll be allowed to socialise in groups outside.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, Window Wanderland trails are community-led projects which encourage local residents and businesses to decorate their windows to create an outdoor art trail. They’re a great way to explore your local streets and community.
Previous trials run in other parts of the country (Strathbungo image below) have had musical performances in front rooms, amazing projections onto buildings, polka dot parties, disco balls, and intricate art installations. This is Corstorphine’s first event of this type, and is part of the wider Window Wanderland programme which was set up in Bristol in 2015.