Distillers to sponsor new multi-arts Burns festival

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Isle of Arran Distillers are to sponsor a new multi-arts festival celebrating the life and work of Robert Burns next year.

The inaugural Burns Unbroke festival will be held at the Summerhall in Edinburgh in January 2018. As the maker of the only official Burns single malt at its distillery in Lochranza, it is fitting that the distillers will be the headline sponsor alongside Creative Scotland and Scotland.org. They are also planning exciting events to celebrate the Bard including whisky masterclasses.

Running for six weeks from Thursday January 25, 2018, the programme will celebrate the plethora of artistic and performing talent in Scotland, and beyond, through the prism offered by new interpretations of the life and work of Robert Burns.

Distillers managing director Euan Mitchell said: ‘As the producer of the official Burns malt, it was a no-brainer for us to get involved in a festival that shares our passion for the poet.

‘As a distillery, we may take a very traditional approach to production – with an eye to the proud heritage of Scotch – but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t eager to experiment and introduce new people to the spirit.

‘With Burns Unbroke, we’re really excited to be helping bring the Bard to a contemporary audience and give up-and-coming Scottish artists a much deserved platform.’

The inspiration for the Burns Unbroke title comes from the epigraph printed at the beginning of Burns’s first poetry collection, the Kilmarnock edition, published in 1786 which begins: ‘The simple Bard, unbroke by rules of art’.

The festival‘s innovative visual arts programme features over 30 visual artists and there will be newly commissioned work by four Scottish based artists. In addition, the programme of events includes an alternative Burns night, spoken word performances, children’s performances and a tailor made programme of music.

Sheilagh Tennant, Burns Unbroke director, said: ‘Burns Unbroke provides the opportunity, for the first time, to bring together such an impressive range of visual and performance artists under one banner.’

Burns Unbroke runs at Summerhall from Thursday January 25 to Saturday March 10, 2018, with the majority of performance events focused around the weekend of January 26-28. The exhibitions will be open to the public, Tuesdays to Sundays, throughout the six weeks and entry is free.