A range of local and international artists are set to perform at this year's Dundee Jazz Festival. The line up for the annual event has been announced, featuring a wide selection of musical genres and acts. As well as traditional jazz, blues rock, hip-hop and swing will also be on the cards at venues across the city centre. Highlights include double MOVO award winning saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch at The Reading Rooms and Dundonian Gordon McNeil at the Dundee Rep. Agnese Daverio, festival producer, said: "We are delighted to invite so many great international and local musicians to play in Dundee, from the likes of American Nikki Hill and Aaron Diehl to Dundonians Gordon McNeil and Vardo. "We’re also very excited about our new collaboration with the Reading Rooms, and our return to the Rep for the late jazz night session. The Gardyne Theatre remains our core venue with its great acoustics, comfortable seating and easy parking. This year we’re presenting more activities in the city centre with the aim to grow the festival further in the years to come. "We’re hoping to engage with a wide range of people from the local community, from older generations to younger music fans, hence our programme is very varied and presents a different flavour every night – from edgy sounds by rapper/saxophonist Soweto Kinch, to rootsy rock by Nikki Hill and classic jazz tunes from the swing era presented in the Story of Swing by the Scottish Swing Orchestra. "As jazz is a term that umbrellas over many different styles of music, we are presenting Jazz in the Ferry, an afternoon packed of great music, during which eight bands will be taking the stage across five venues, and where audiences can freely roam between sites with a rover ticket. "This event is also great for those who are not quite sure whether jazz is for them or not, as it gives them the opportunity to explore and sample different genres at once." The event takes place from November 16-20. Tickets are available online or through the city box office, with some bookings available through individual venues.
A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.
Dundee and Perth theatre companies have lived up to great expectations, after their joint production of the Dickens classic received three nominations for a prestigious award. Horsecross Arts, based at Perth Theatre and Concert Hall, and the Dundee Rep ensemble have been shortlisted for best director, best ensemble and best design for the show at this year's Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS). Horsecross received an extra nod for its production of Beauty and the Beast, whilst the Rep finished its haul with a place on the shortlist for Little Red and the Wolf. Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of Horsecross Arts, said: “We are absolutely delighted at our four CATS nominations. It is a fantastic endorsement of our commitment to taking theatre out and about while Perth Theatre is being restored and redeveloped. "Co-productions such as this will be a cornerstone of our strategy with Perth Theatre reopens in 2017, so we are equally excited at the three nominations for Great Expectations with Dundee Rep." Jemima Levick, who has been shortlisted for her work as director of Great Expectations, previously won a CATS award for the Rep's 2009 production of The Elephant Man. Becky Minto and Mike Robertson share the design nomination. All the other awards are for the production as a whole. Nick Parr, chief executive of the Rep said: “The whole company is delighted to have been nominated for four of the seven CATS awards this year. "Once again our city gets to make its mark on the national stage with the Rep being recognised in these national awards. We are looking forward to the award ceremony in Edinburgh when we can celebrate another fantastic year of Scottish theatre.” The CATS, which have been running for 14 years, celebrate achievements in Scottish theatre. The judging panel is made up of Scottish theatre critics across print, radio, TV and online platforms. Mark Fisher, co-convenor of CATS, said: "This has been another vintage year for theatre in Scotland with no fewer than 20 productions recognised in the shortlists. “That so many different productions have made the shortlists demonstrates tangibly the breadth of creative talent in Scottish theatre today.” The CATS will be held on the 12 June at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh.
The Mills Observatory will be converted into a dystopian future for a new piece of theatre created by Dundee youngsters. The observatory, which opened in 1935, will be transported to 2046 during the newly devised play. Audience members will follow the actors around the building as the futuristic story comes to life. Experiment 01: Abandoned, a tale designed specifically for the observatory, was created by 25 young people who have been working on it since August. They were joined by Glasgow-based composer Garry Cameron to create an original score to accompany the drama. Lisa Williamson, who is co-directing the play, said: “This has been an incredibly exciting process for us and the young people. The opportunity to create a piece of theatre for a place like Mills Observatory has challenged and inspired us as a group. "It has been clear from the start of the process how engaged the young people are with the world we live in today. Through debate, investigation and research the group have created a story that although set in the future feels very relevant today. "Only 25 people can be in each audience, and they're in very close proximity. It's almost a one-on-one experience. "We've had quite a few different visits to the observatory to get used to the space. "It's great at this point to think: 'Remember eight months ago when all we had was the observatory?'" The story is based in a world where the government experiments on citizens in the name of progress. All citizens must complete five social experiments throughout the course of their life, and the piece focuses on one group of young people who decide to take a stand against it. The performance is also celebrating 80 years of stargazing at the observatory. The story, script and songs have all been devised by the young cast, who will be providing their own live musical accompaniment during the performances. Christine Miller, learning and engagement leader for Leisure and Culture Dundee, said: "We are hugely delighted to about the venue being used for the project. I think it is a really nice example of how cultural organisations can work together with young people to offer opportunities to engage them with art forms and science." Audience members will be required to move around the observatory, including outside, and seating will only be available in some scenes. Outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear are recommended. Ticketholders will meet at Dundee Rep Theatre and will be taken to Mills Observatory by bus. The show runs at various times from the 23-25 June.
The curtain will rise for a youth production of a Shakespeare adaptation at the Gardyne Theatre tonight. The talented cast of Return to the Forbidden Planet held their dress rehearsal at the Gardyne Theatre last night in preparation for two evenings of performances. Dundee Schools Music Theatre’s latest production is based on the cult sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, in turn based on the Bard's Tempest, and fires out a series of 50s and 60s classics including Great Balls of Fire and Shake, Rattle and Roll. The performance features singers and dancers from the S1 and S2 group, who were last seen in 2015's sell-out Beauty and the Beast. Tickets are available from the Dundee City Council Box Office in the City Square or online. They cost £8 for adults and £6 for concessions. The performance starts at 7:30pm on both evenings.
Dundee museums and galleries are gearing up to open their vaults for this year’s Festival of Museums. The festival, now in its tenth year, will feature over 100 day and night events across Scotland from May 13 to 15, curated to offer unique, hands on experiences in the nation’s museums and galleries. Headlining Dundee’s programme is an event at the city’s Jute Museum, where visitors will decorate the mill for Queen Victoria’s birthday celebration ahead of a film and Victoria sponge. The Verdant Works museum is also offering a gin tasting session for adult participants. The Victorian Mill will provide a dramatic backdrop to the event, providing the history of the drink and an opportunity to sample a variety of alcohol. Joanne Orr, chief executive of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “Over the past decade, we have been able to fund and support museums across Angus and Dundee to take part and help to increase visitor numbers and sector expertise across the board. We’re delighted to return for our tenth year and are looking forward to the best festival yet.” McManus Art Gallery is also going back in time, with a 20s and 30s theme. Their free event will celebrate the era of of jazz, cinema and comic books, and feature a special screening of a short film highlighting life in Dundee in the 1930s. In addition to the Jute Museum and McManus, D’Arcy Thompson Zooology Museum is also taking part in the festival with a selection of fossil-themed events. For more information or to book a place for an event, visit www.festivalofmuseums.com
A mountaineer who first got hooked to the sport while fundraising for The ARCHIE Foundation has announced he is taking on Mount Kilimanjaro for the charity this autumn. James Millar will climb Africa's highest peak in September and plans to tackle every Munro in Skye as part of his training. The Dundonian has been climbing for less than a year but says he is looking forward to the challenge. He explained: "It's my work, Hillcrest's 50th anniversary this year and we are trying to raise £50,000 for charity. "One day I was in the office and they said 'Nobody is daft enough to climb a mountain or anything like that'. "I play rugby for Panmurefield and they said they would help me out. The rugby club paid the £500 deposit for the trip and I decided I'd definitely do it. "It's a bit daunting, but to be honest I think I'm more excited about it. I like pushing myself. My first mountain was on the 20th August last year, it was my girlfriend's mum's last Munro. "It was a fundraiser for ARCHIE and she is a paediatric nurse, so that's how I found about them. From there it's been a weekly thing for me, and I can't get enough of climbing." James, who is being sponsored by Panmure RFC, will take on every Munro in Skye in July in the space of a week to get ready for his trip. "I'm fairly fit anyway from the rugby, but I just need to keep going between now and September," he said. "I love being out in the middle of nowhere and there's nothing to bother you at all. It's still a challenge but you're only out for six or seven hours. "It's just great. There's not too many people that get to see how beautiful our country is." Regional head of fundraising for The ARCHIE Foundation, Emma White said: “We were delighted that James enjoyed his involvement in ARCHIE’s Mountain Challenge so much that climbing has become his sport, but Kilimanjaro is in a whole different league. "The money that James raises will go towards our Tayside Children’s Hospital appeal to help to build the much needed twin operating theatre children’s surgical suite. "This will make such a difference for local sick children and it is brilliant that James and others like him are doing so much to help. We are extremely grateful as every pound counts towards our £2million target. "We’re over hallway there and we really welcome everybody’s help, whether it is climbing mountains or baking cakes. As we always say, whatever you do, do something.” Donations can be made here.
Scotland’s most famous fictitious family will pay a visit to their home city as part of a new tour. The Broons, who have been featured in the Sunday Post for 80 years, are making their onstage debut for a nationwide series of performances later this year. Granpaw, Maw, Paw and the rest of the Glebe Street family will appear in theatres across Scotland, including Dundee’s Gardyne Theatre, between September and November. David Hutchinson, artistic director of Sell a Door Theatre Company, said: “Rob Drummond’s new stage play is going to be a theatrical experience to remember, paying homage to the decades of excellent comic writing. “We've been discussing bringing The Broons to the stage for a while, and have been waiting for the right playwright and timing. The Broons are more than just a cherished family, they are a national institution that have stood the test of time and have struck a chord with generation after generation inside and outside of Scotland."
Young people from across Tayside have taken to the skies with the RAF as part of a new air force initiative. A total of 35 youths, including pupils at Harris Academy, local air cadets and young people under the care of Barnardo's Scotland and Young Carers Scotland, got up close and personal with two RAF Puma helicopters and their crews. Two of the helicopters flew into Dundee Airport on Wednesday morning, where they were also greeted by eight students who are currently completing RAF Flying Scholarships with Tayside Aviation. During their short stay, six RAF personnel told the young people about their Pumas and showed them around. RAF Pumas are used as battlefield helicopters within the joint helicopter command and provide tactical troop and load movement by day or by night. The aircraft can carry up to 16 passengers or 12 fully-equipped troops, or up to two tonnes of freight carried either internally or as an under-slung load. The other major role is that of casualty or medical evacuation support, for which up to six stretchers can be fitted. Squadron leader Nobby Clark said the initiative was designed to raise awareness of different careers available to young people in Scotland. "This visit is part of the RAF in Scotland’s Flying Aces programme which aims to provide experience of flying to young people in Tayside regardless of their background or circumstances," he said. "The RAF in Scotland is working with partners in Tayside and Fife to help young people with an interest in aviation to investigate their potential for developing exciting and rewarding careers as pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, or in flight operations." In 2017 the Flying Aces programme intends to enable some 720 air cadets from Tayside and Fife to experience flying in a small aircraft, while also awarding ‘Flying Scholarships’, which enable selected cadets to undergo 12 hours of flying towards their Private Pilot’s Licence.
The secrets of Dundee's grisly past are to be brought to life in a creepy tour of the city's history. The McManus Collections Unit are hosting a night of tours in the run up to Halloween, showcasing a variety of gruesome items with connections to Dundee. Some of the objects include the death masks of Burke and Hare and mortsafes - devices used by families to prevent grave robbers from stealing the bodies of their deceased loved ones. The iron contraptions would be hired to be used for around six weeks when someone had been buried, then removed when the body had decayed and would no longer be of use to surgeons and medical students. McManus social history curator Carly Cooper said the tours were a fun way of showing off items from the city's extensive archives. She said: "We do many tours of the building, but this is an alternative tour in limited light with much more unusual items. "We talk about Dr Knox and Burke and Hare and other parts of Dundee and Scottish history. The public will be introduced to all these characters on the night." Other famous faces from the past expected to make an appearance include horror author Mary Shelley, who spent some time in the city, and her creation of Victor Frankenstein. Carly explained: "Mary Shelley links to Dundee, and in fact most of the tour has a link to Dundee. If the person doesn't have a direct link, the object will." One of the more gruesome items on show is a witches bridle, also known as a branks, which was used in the 16th century as a punishment for witchcraft, or gossiping. The metal mask trapped the wearer's tongue, causing severe pain if they tried to talk. This was part of a public humiliation punishment, designed to embarrass the criminal as much as possible. Actors from Dundee University's Joot theatre company will perform scenes during the half hour tours. The event is free, but booking is essential through the McManus Galleries on 01382 307200. Suitable for children aged 8+ with an accompanying adult, the tours last 30 minutes and begin every 20 minutes between 6pm and 8pm on Thursday 27 October.