A feast of the arts at the McLellan Festival

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This year the McLellan Arts Festival runs from Friday September 1 until Sunday September 10 and promised something for everyone.

It opens next Friday with Maura Dooley, the judge of this year’s poetry competition, leading an evening of her own readings and those of the winning poets in the annual McLellan poetry competition, as reported in the Banner last week. It promises to be an interesting and convivial evening in Corrie and Sannox Hall of inspirational words and the haunting music of Arran Dawn.

Scots Makar Jackie Kay is making a welcome return.

Then on Saturday September 2 grab your dancing shoes and come to the famous festival ceilidh in Whiting Bay Hall at 7.30pm. Dance to the Drambusters, be enthralled by Angus Adamson’s pipes, delighted by Tim Pomeroy’s music, energised by Bif from the Arran Jazz Cafe Band and be well fed at the buffet (BYOB).

More music to feed the soul will be available next Sunday in Corrie Church at 12am when opera students from the Royal Northern College of Music will perform beautiful sacred arias.

If radio drama, or any drama, is your thing then you will be interested in a talk by David Hunter in Brodick library the same afternoon at 2.30pm. David is an executive Producer of Radio Drama at the BBC and his illustrated talk is bound to be interesting to everyone who listens to Radio and those who might be interested in writing for radio.

Film is well represented in this year’s festival with presentations of three new films by young people from Arran or with an Arran connection. In addition, Arran Theatre and Arts Trust, in partnership with the Arran Heritage Museum, will be showing its latest compilation of archive film, never seen before, featuring Arran in the 1930s. Something for everyone showing in Corrie and Sannox Hall on Monday September 4 at 8pm.

Last year festival goers may remember an event called Arran Clamjamfry when John Sillars entertained us so magnificently with photographs and memoirs from his past. This year, another Arran treasure, Tim Pomeroy, will talk about seven images which have inspired him in what will be a fascinating evening of memoir, biography, with the music of Chopin and drama from the 17th Century. Intrigued? Of course! The event is on Tuesday September 5 at Altachorvie at 8pm

Never let it be said that the McLellan Arts Festival is parochial! This year, we are so happy to have the Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay, making a welcome return to the island. This time Jackie will be celebrating Burns and her Scottish heritage in verse and song, ably supported by local singers including Peter Alexander Wilson. Jackie has written a new piece on Burns which she  performed this year at the Edinburgh Festival. And now – on Arran! Reserve your ticket for this event at Altachorvie on Thursday September 7 at 8pm.

The McLellan Arts Festival would not be complete without the talented opera singers of the Arran summer school and they will be giving us another inspiring gala in the community theatre on Friday September 8 at 7.30pm.

More talent will be displayed on Saturday September 9 in Corrie and Sannox Hall at 8pm when theatre students from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire perform their own acclaimed work. Anyone who saw last year’s performances will know that this promises to be a real treat.

As always, the festival ends with a choral performance from the opera students in collaboration with the McLellan Festival Chorus on Sunday September 10 at 7.30pm in the community theatre. This year it is Beethoven’s Mass in C, a beautiful piece, accessible to all.

If you are interested in any of these events you can book online at arranevents.com, go to the Book and Card Centre for tickets from today (Saturday), or simply come to the door. Remember there is a all inclusive festival ticket available online or at the Book and Card Centre for £40. A real bargain!

For more information go to www.arrantheatreandarts.co.uk/festival 2017 or see advert in this week’s Banner.