STANZA POETRY FESTIVAL
St Andrews, Various Locations
9th till 12th March
Poetry perhaps has a gentle, romantic tint to you. Maybe it’s something you think only hipsters wearing self-crocheted scarves discuss over a cold press coffee. Not at StAnza! This year’s theme is ‘wild: forms of resistance’; poetry is on display in all its activist-weird-connecting-malleable ways. Join interactive workshops: Alice Tarbuck, with expertise in nature and witches, is your guide through the murky magical world of words; Zaffar Kunial delivers a masterclass to see poetry’s texture as he does; Marjorie Lotfi leads a creative writing workshop as a part of Open Book/Well-Versed. Hollie McNish and Anthony Anaxagorou perform together on Saturday and are both people whose poetry and performance somehow dig their fists into your chest deeper with every line, compelling the audience’s blood to pump together as one. There’s also an artist-led guided tour, film screenings, and exhibitions for you to encounter poetry beyond words. I could keep dropping names, but really there are so many wonderful solo and group performances and events, both online and in person, that we would run out of print space. Check out their website for more – and be quick, because some events are already sold out!
SCOTLAND VEGAN FESTIVAL
Paisley Lagoon Sports Centre
Over 80 varying vegan vendors for the venturesome: a place to try the vibrant and velvety. If you or your pals have not yet been convinced that vegan food is pure delicious, then here is the place to go. It’s not just food on offer either – everything from skincare to clothing and charities will be there for you to sample, buy, and get nosy about.
GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Various Locations, Glasgow
15th March till 2nd April
Comedians are like buses. Rusty or sparkling, crude or sophisticated, they all get you to where you need to go. Or not – some drop you off at strange places where the lights don’t work and the grass grows thick through the cracks, or take you to an unexpectedly lively bit you would never have discovered otherwise. Fern Brady, who is at the King’s Theatre on the 26th, treads the line between her honesty being darkly humorous and wonderfully relatable – and she has just released a braw book and all. Ardal O’Hanlon is beautifully silly, Phil Wang is weird squared, and Marjolein Robertson tricks you into learning whilst laughing. Alan Bissett is back with another hoose perty – a live DJ set follows his third in the Moira Monologues trilogy as Moira navigates lockdown and a thirst for Joe Wicks. There are many, many more acts – a perfect way to brighten your nights to go with the lightening of the days in spring.
ROYAL SCOTTISH NATIONAL OPERA
St Andrews, Various Locations
9th till 12th March
On 26th March, see a cappella performance of the highest order at the RSNO Chorus A Capella. A Festival of Brahms is visiting Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow across March and April, so come and celebrate this versatile Romantic composer ‘inspired by student drinking songs’ and simultaneously offering grand, melodic, and poetic symphonies. Plus, their next digital show, Tchaikovsky Five, is conducted by Elim Chan and is available online from 24th March till 30th of June.
MACROBERT ARTS CENTER SPRING SEASON
Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling
1st March till 31st May
There are a couple of A Play, a Pie and a Pint shows on at Macrobert in Spring – Welcome to Bannockburn is a new comedy-drama show written by the fabulous Lesley Hart. What happens when the runner of ‘Stirling’s finest, five-star historical tour’ has their child begrudgingly come and work for them and the tour receives a terrible review? There’s also The Great Replacement, written by Uma Nada-Rajah, in which another tense familial relationship is explored – this time about the protagonist’s desire for grandchildren with an ‘avowedly single’ daughter and ‘intergenerational politics and the absurdity and peculiarities of race’.
There’s also ballet (Too Close to the Sun, inspired by the Greek legend of Icarus and the weight of the climate crisis), musicals (The Stamping Ground, which promises to have you literally getting up out of your feet to stamp ‘em) and dance/music combos (A Wee Journey, created in collaboration with the performers to convey a globalised world full of international travel in which anyone could become a migrant at a moment’s notice). See more on their website!
DUNDEE REP SPRING SEASON
Dundee Rep, Dundee
March till May
Dundee’s own ‘Icebreaker Comedy’ group (Andy Bullick, Luis Alcada, Scott Redmond), who also do musical numbers and spoken word, have their Dundee Rep debut, and you don’t want to miss the hilarious, rage-fueled breakdown performance of Alcada’s spoken word. Check out this trio plus guests for this one-off event on the 14th April. Dougie MacLean will be there to capture your ears and hearts the following night. Dougie has streamed weekly from his Old Schoolhouse since the pandemic (reaching over 45 million viewers in a week) and his songs have been covered extensively – this is your chance to see him in the flesh of 3D real life. The Third Sister is a story of teenage sisters who are part of a twee touring family band set in the 1980s who covertly make their own punk band. Described as ‘in the style of TV’s ‘Inside Number 9’… a tale with a twist’. Look at what else is happening on the Dundee Rep website.
CAUGHT BETWEEN EXHIBITION
Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow
11th February till 23rd April
This is the third instalment from artist Colin Gray; the first was displayed in 1997 and the second in 2010, both taking around a decade to create. Caught Between is also autobiographical and is a dive into a family over lifetimes. Several have the back of someone as the focal image, with swirling hair and shiny pates, glorious and resplendent. Some images have ghostly layers of water, of smoke, of some undefinable element. All images stop-worthy.
February till 31st March
As always, every gig is free of charge to all! Auld White Label are playing on 15th March – and have described it so beautifully all I can do is quote them – ‘it’ll be an audio-visual shindig with some specially commissioned visual wizardry from our pal Kris Boyle’. Speak Easy Circus, an experimental indie/funk posse, are a little bit of everything – seriously, anything you think of, it’ll be in their set. DJs Anna Goldthorp and Holly Calder are hosting a late-night mad dance party with beats spanning all decades and genres to groove to. Concept album creator The Unperson will perform with Dissonance Network for a night of Noise Box, serving you things like ‘polyrhythm’, ‘modular’, ‘hardware sequencing’, and of course ‘bleeps and bloops’.
FESTIVAL OF BROADCASTING
Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
January till April
Celebrating 100 years of Scottish broadcasting, there is a plethora of free events, talks and workshops across these four months. There is a specific festival week between 28th March and 1st April that will include panel discussions on news broadcasting, Gaelic broadcasting and sports broadcasting, with voices from the industry old and new.
Scotland, Various Locations
9th till 29th March
Created and performed by Anna Porubcansky and presented by Company of Wolves, this show is a solo live art performance that has travelled all across the Highlands and islands. It conveys the loss of identity and emotions that come with motherhood and more. ‘Witness a woman unmask herself, layer after layer.’ As well as the performances, multiple venues will also host free Breath-Body-Voice workshops led by Anna. These are open to local community groups and offer a space for ‘participants to come back into themselves’.
March till April
Goldberg Variations: ternary patterns for insomnia, a collaboration between Scottish Ensemble and Swedish dance ensemble Andersson Dance, is stopping in at Tramway as part of their tour. This is a modern reinterpretation of the seminal work and adds a visual heartbeat layer of dance to the music. Join a free movement workshop from the London-based Freestylers on the 18th March – they will flow and move with the participants’ needs and desires. Experience Ijem nke Mmanwu m (The Journey of my Masquerade) exhibition – swirling sprawling ‘plasto-art’ which uses an increasingly obsolete Nigerian hair-plaiting technique called Threading (Ikpa Owu in Igbo).
Various locations, Edinburgh
13th till 15th April
Scotland’s music convention Wide Days is entering into teen-hood (13 years of music convening). And what is a 13th birthday (or any birthday, for that matter) without music? The first day includes live performances from SILVI and The Big Day, Friday’ll see Midnight Ambulance and Goodnight Louisa (both longlisted for SNACKSSY 2022), and the elusive Festival Takeover on the Friday with guest programmers, Canada’s own indie exporters, M For Montreal.
SAMA PAISLEY TAKE OVER
The Bungalow, Paisley
30th till 31st March
The Scottish Alternative Music Awards are taking over Paisley for two glorious days of music, panels and workshops, with appearances from SNACK favourites Linzi Clark, Carsick Charlie, Poster Paints, Rebecca Vasmant and more.
The Queen’s Hall
AMPLIFI is back for a second installment of gigs flaunting Scotland’s musical prowess. Curators Arusa Qureshi and Halina Rifai – both dedicated to making music a more inclusive place – have selected an unmissable lineup. On the 29th, relatable bops of R&B/pop queens 4TUNE, Nikhita’s soulful lyricism and storytelling, and Xavier LaCroix’s DIY silky bedroom pop will all mesh together to make one belter of an evening.
GOVAN MUSIC FESTIVAL
Various Locations, Govan
15th till 19th March
Govan music festival returns with a wholesome programme geared to tickle all pickles. Eight school choirs have joined together to perform the premiere of climate change song cycle, ‘Renew’, and who isn’t in need of a little renewal. Especially intriguing is Freed Up, a drug and alcohol free string quartet performance that features rappers Solareye, Empress and Freestyle Master. Plus Musicians in Exile and Ando Glasgow have teamed up with The Glasgow Barons Balkan brass and string selection to show everyone just how much Glasgow’s multiculturalism enriches the community.