Meet The Torch Song Divas

Thursday June 18, 2015

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The torch song divas, Elaine C Smith and Christina Dunwoodie bring their newest show to the West End Festival where opera meets jazz for a witty take on classical operatic themes of love, loss and betrayal. The event is produced in collaboration with design director of Primavoce, Annette Gillies. Primavoce is a company spearheaded by artistic director Dunwoodie which uses music, opera, theatre, dance, visual arts and mixed media to bring opera classics to younger and more diverse audiences.

Christina began her career in opera as a singer, studying at the Opera School of the RSAMD in Barcelona. She has an international career as a soloist in opera (Scottish Opera and English National Opera in the UK), concert and oratorio and made her opera debut in Germany at the Eutiner Festspiele singing the role of Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello with the world famous Heldentenor, John Treleven.

Christina co-founded and was the Artistic Director of ‘Opera on a Shoestring’, which won awards for its productions of La Traviata. Many young singers sang their first major roles at Shoestring before going on to successful careers and this excitement attracted wonderful directors, designers and artists such as Terry Gilbert, Robert Love, Annette Gillies and John Taylor. Christina began directing with Edinburgh Grand Opera and a wealth of knowledge and experience in performance, stage craft, voice coaching, casting and directing allowed her to envisage radical new ways of making opera accessible to a wider and younger audience.

Christina “whose beautiful voice goes right to the heart” brings prestige and experience to this years’ festival in an exciting partnership with Elaine C Smtih.

Elaine Constance Smith is a Scottish actress and comedienne born in Glasgow and is best known for her role as Mary "Mary Doll" Nesbitt in the BBC sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt. She has appeared on numerous BBC dramas and is a star of the pantomime performing in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White & The Seven Dwarves to name but a few!

Elaine C Smith Torch Song Divas June 19 20

Touring Scotland with her stand-up comedy shows, ‘Elaine with Attitude’ and ‘Hormonally Driven’, the basis for the highly successful TV series ‘Elaine’ for BBC Scotland came about. Smith also displayed her musical talents in these shows leading her to commonly be known as ‘Scotland’s First Lady of Comedy’.

Other stage performances have seen Elaine tour with the UK stage version of the hit film Calendar Girls, in addition to playing Susan Boyle in in the musical stage show “I Dreamed a Dream”.

On the pairing of a comedienne with an opera star Smith commented, “We're a really unusual double act and we've come up with this idea which we're calling Torch Song Divas. The idea is that we tell how women have been represented in song."

The show blending two distinct yet spectacularly talented performers is something which will have to be seen – and heard - to be believed!

Tickets are still available for their event “Torch Song Divas” which is showing on the 19th and 20th of June in Websters Theatre.

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Kathakali Comes To Scotland

Tuesday June 16, 2015

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The West End Festival plays host to a rare opportunity presented by the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company to see the elaborate 3-Dimensional Chutti make-up process that transforms the faces of the Kathakali (Indian dance-drama) actors. This is an amazing 500 year old traditional technique applied by the first and only female Chutti artist in the world - Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar.

The display is followed by a bowl of delicious Indian curry with rice, prepared especially by one of the members of the Kathakali Company from Kerala, India

There is also the opportunity for an evening with Kathakali masters featuring chanting, songs, music and a rare opportunity to ask the artists questions. Kathakali means story–play and embraces drama, dance, music, visuals and ritual to create an exotic and visually powerful form of theatre.

Described as “spectacularly beautiful” by the Daily Telegraph, this rare gem of Indian theatre will be sure to add an exotic twist to your festival experience.

Tickets available for make-up demo, food and evening with Kathakali masters from The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre

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The Key: An Art Mystery

Monday June 15, 2015

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“As a consequence of a number of discussions, over the last two years, about art with Alasdair Gray, I decided to use my knowledge of art history, and my interest in playwriting, to compose a play that really looked at his paintings and to bring those meanings to life using the dramatic potential of theatre.

Alasdair Gray’s paintings on the surface are engaging designs, but they can also reveal hidden depths of ideas and feelings, ranging from intense pain to delightful pleasure: How could these attributes be communicated in a play?

The decision to use Oscar Wilde’s infamous literary character ‘Dorian Gray’ was initially inspired by the chance association of names, but as the play demanded someone who was an art expert, he claimed the job.

Dorian gets assistance from other characters because they have intimate knowledge of the art. In consequence, the writing and the painting are brought into a close relationship and exploited by the dramatic visual and literary qualities of theatre.

Lanark and Duncan Thaw are regenerated to help Dorian Gray find the key to the meaning of Alasdair Gray’s art. However Lanark has a new dilemma and she falls in love with the beauty of Dorian Gray. Duncan Thaw on the other hand is sceptical and tests Dorian’s claims about the role of art and the beautiful as transforming experience for the individual.

Assisted by a lily, a symbol of purity and beauty they travel into the Alasdair Gray mural painting ‘Glasgow: The Triumph of Death’ in search of the key, but events overtake them and their world is turned upside down. Will art triumph over death?”

-       Duncan Comrie, writer of The Key: An Art Mystery

 

Showing on the 16th and 17th of June at 2.30/7.30pm, tickets are available from Mighty Fine Theatre or available on the door at Websters Theatre. 

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Cracked Tiles

Friday June 12, 2015

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“I have been acting for several years and am also a professional magician. I decided to write this one man play after the death of my father. It's inspired by the relationship I had with my father which was fragmented somewhat by a battle with mental illness. It is a black comedy or a tragicomedy. There is much to chew on in the piece with regards to mental health and attitudes towards it however, there is also a lot of humour in the piece as it largely revolves around the family chip shop and highlights many of the quirks of a Scots-Italian upbringing.” – Lorenzo Novani

Last year saw the magician perform with “Mysitc” – street magic designed to not only amaze (which it did) but to evoke thought. One reviewer described the event as “a skilful weaving of poetry and prophecy” which means his return to this years’ festival is most anticipated!

 
Tickets for tonight’s show are available on the door at Siempre Bicycle Club for £6.

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Play me, I'm yours

Monday June 9, 2014

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The main installation is planned to coincide with the XX Commonwealth Games in July, though the West End Festival kicks off a summer of Streetpianos with a wee taster at the Gibson Street Gala . . . with more to follow. 

 

A decorated streetpiano is a rolling permission to have a wee breather from our busyness and pause in the midst of life to play . . . freely and listen to others too. We've named our pianos too!

 

If you want to see more of the internationally touring artwork by British artist Luke Jerram visit: www.streetpianos.com for some great videos from all over the world. You may even find some inspiration for your own outdoor performance!

 

Dogs & Pianos

 

Locations:

 

An Clachan Cafe will host a piano until the16th after Indian Truck Art inspired decoration in the Glasgow Mela.  

 

A bit further west is 'Nemo' at Riverside, who has been decorated by Robert Smillie Memorial Primary school. He will be making appearances out on the museum floor. 

 

Moving east of woodlands you can also play the first PMIY Glasgow Piano 'Calisia' in the foyer of the Royal Concert Hall and now 'Mac' at the Project Cafe on Renfrew St. ( beside Mandoors ) He was decorated in Garnethill Park on June 14th as part of GSofA degree show week. 

 

'NikNak' is currently in the Art Village in Shawlands Arcade after having a life in the Southside Festival Fringe office and 'Eric' is already quite at home in the foyer of Govanhill Baths. 

 

'Wee Mary' or 'Masala Queen' will also be out on the balcony at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for you to play during the Scottish International Piano competition, June 11th-22nd.

 

There will be much more during the Games including pianos at the Burrell Collection, GoMA, Scotland Street School and the main public stages as well as pop-up pianos around the city and outside the Wellington Street Church . . . if we can get one up the steps !

 

Share your videos & photos on the Glasgow Piano City Facebook page and visit www.glasgowpianocity.org for more info on our plans and details of how to support the project with a donation . . . a piano ( or a stool ) and if you would like to volunteer on the project. For all enquiries contact the Project Manager Tom Binns by email at: tom@glasgowpianocity.org or tel: 01418828825 / 07940224365 

 

Guest blog post by Tom Binns

 

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Scotland's Mardi Gras pleases thousands on Byres Road

Monday June 9, 2014

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Parade day has left all of us here in the mardi gras spirit!

Not only did the 500 plus performers and entertainers put on a great show, but we got some much anticipated sunshine to top the day off. 

Thousands of people took to the street and joined us watching and cheering as the parade passed.

Parade passing Oran Mor

This year’s parade theme, ‘Identity’, was interpreted by community groups and organisations from around Glasgow, in their costume designs which they made and wore for the vibrant parade procession.

The scene took over Byres Road and the surrounding streets and finished off on the steps of the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. 

Living statue outside Curlers

Before the parade began it was great to see so many people wandering up and down Byres Road and around the market in the Ashton Road car park – taking advantage of all the free entertainment and supporting local businesses by stopping for a bite to eat.

Even if the afternoon was a little damp...

BBQ at the butchers

And until next year, a massive thank you to everyone who came along, and to everyone involved! Check out lots of submitted images on our facebook and twitter.

Parade day

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Attention-seeking, flamboyant & decadent persons saught

Wednesday June 4, 2014

Scotland's largest 1920s themed cabaret and club night returns as part of the West End Festival to host an evening of music hall variety, cabaret acts, live band and 1920s nightclub. 

 

The ‘Bright Young Things’ was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London. They were frequently chased by the paparazzi who were fascinated by their outrageous behaviour, subsequently starting the modern cult of celebrity. They attended elaborate fancy dress parties, went on wild treasure hunts, drank heavily, and threw themselves into the nonstop pursuit of fun in the aftermath of World War I — all of which was enthusiastically covered by journalists, and documented by writers and poets alike.

 

 

Think glitzy flapper dresses, top hats and spats, expensive jewels, black or white tie, champagne and pearls. Dress to impress but please no jeans or trainers. We reserve the right to turn you away.

 

** CABARET SHOW / LIVE BAND **

 

The centerpiece of the evening's entertainment! You will be dazzled by bright lights, lavish surroundings and a beautiful stage which plays host to our fabulous show. Settle down at one of our candle-lit tables with a bottle of champagne and prepare for the show to begin! Enjoy a line-up of music hall variety, cabaret acts, burlesque performers, dancers, comedy, singers and more. After the show get your dancing shoes on, your Charleston moves at the ready and dance along to our live band.

 

 

SHOW STARRING:

 

Burlesque starlet & innovative performance artiste:

~ VICKY BUTTERFLY ~

 

Providing his unique blend of showtunes and filth, cabaret chanteaur:

~ TOM HARLOW ~

 

Decadent dance performances from:

~ THE ACADEMY OF BURLESQUE & CABARET ~

 

Hula Hoop Extraordinaire

~ SHONA HOOPLOVA ~ 

 

Vaudevillian cabaret duo and comperes for the evening:

~ THE CREATIVE MARTYRS ~

 

...with more to be announced!

 

ALSO STARRING:

 

Edinburgh 5 piece band reinventing classics of the prohibition speakeasies

~ THE GRAMOPHONE JASS BAND ~

 

 

Doors: 7:30pm (event runs until 2am)

Show/Live Band: 8:30pm-11:30pm

Nightclub: 11:30pm-2:00am

Tickets: £14 (full night) / £5 (nightclub only)

Table Reservations: Available to purchase online

Venue: Glasgow University Union (GUU)

Box Office: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/646624

**Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 18th April**

 

 

Physical Ticket Locations:

 

Vintage Shop: 'Just For You'

20% DISCOUNT ON YOUR OUTFIT

(RETURN THE OUTFIT LATER & RECEIVE HALF YOUR MONEY BACK)

Upper floor, Decourcy's Arcade, 21 Cresswell Lane, Glasgow, G12 8AA

(Mon/Wed/Thurs 12-5pm Fri 12-6pm Sat 10-6pm Sun 12-5pm)

 

Brown Paper Tickets Edinburgh:

4 Miller Row, Edinburgh, EH4 3BQ (Mon-Fri 9-5pm)

Phone Number: 0800 411 8881

 

 

www.facebook.com/TheGatsbyClub

http://twitter.com/TheGatsbyClub

www.thegatsbyclub.co.uk

 

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Final week before WEF 2014

Thursday May 29, 2014

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Organising a festival isn't easy you know! You have to have time, resources, contacts, ideas and a passion for the project. Our WEF team certainly has passion!

As the last week before the festival kicks off runs away before us, we're busy working on final arrangements for media, calling out for volunteers for the biggest date in our programme, parade day, and ensuring our participants, local businesses and of course you, the people who flock to the festival events, are fully up-to-speed with arrangements.

We were happy to see a waiting list start for stalls on parade day. Hopefully the sun will shine as it did last year!

We were doing a count and think we've got circa 500 people in the parade! More than last year and by the looks of the costumes and puppets, it's going to be every bit as colourful!

Be sure to keep an eye on the website for highlights and of course our Facebook and Twitter feeds for news and updates.

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_OLD Final week before WEF 2014

Thursday May 29, 2014

Main Image

Organising a festival isn't easy you know! You have to have time, resources, contacts, ideas and a passion for the project. Our WEF team certainly has passion!

As the last week before the festival kicks off runs away before us, we're busy working on final arrangements for media, calling out for volunteers for the biggest date in our programme, parade day, and ensuring our participants, local businesses and of course you, the people who flock to the festival events, are fully up-to-speed with arrangements.

We were happy to see a waiting list start for stalls on parade day. Hopefully the sun will shine as it did last year!

We were doing a count and think we've got circa 500 people in the parade! More than last year and by the looks of the costumes and puppets, it's going to be every bit as colourful!

Be sure to keep an eye on the website for highlights and of course our Facebook and Twitter feeds for news and updates.

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News - Glasgow’s biggest festival celebrates 18 years in Rio style

Sunday June 9, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SUNDAY, 9 JUNE 

 PRESS RELEASE

 

 Glasgow’s biggest festival celebrates 18 years in Rio style

 

 West End Festival Mardi Gras confirmed for 2014


Festival goers celebrated the West End Festival’s 18th birthday in style with over 600 people participating in Scotland’s Mardi Gras parade today, Sunday, 9 June, as part of the Festival’s month-long programme (31 May – 30 June).

Festival Sunday and the Mardi Gras parade attracts up to 80,000 revellers to the streets and this is the first time the Festival has had sufficient funding to close Byres Road for the Parade since 2008.

Following a public appeal the Festival secured £15,000 of funding towards the costs of its iconic Parade Day from Glasgow based daily deals and events service itison.com, ensuring its return this year.

Oli Norman, founder of itison, said:  “We’re really proud to help make the Parade return to Byres Road this year. Over 20,000 itison members in Glasgow have already said they’re coming today so we know it’s going to be a big day.  The weather is great and the itison team will be dancing their way down Byres Road with the rest of the Mardi Gras.  It’s such a fun day.”

The Festival programme includes over 400 events in some 80 venues across the west end of Glasgow, with events ranging from music and theatre, to walks, talks and community galas. The parade is the biggest highlight of the festival and it has today been announced that funding has been secured via Glasgow City Council for its return in 2014 and 2015, assisting the development of the parade in the wider communities of Glasgow.

Baillie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the Economy at Glasgow City Council, said: “The West End Festival parade is a well-established fixture of Glasgow’s cultural calendar, and an event that so many people look forward to every year.  I am delighted to say that the council is supporting the parade for three years as we appreciate the significant value, both economic and cultural, that the parade and festival brings to Glasgow and its visitors.  I am sure the parade will be as colourful and entertaining as always on Sunday.”

Liz Scobie, chairman of the West End Festival added her thoughts: “From local communities organising their own galas and our widely anticipated parade, to international musicians and the premier of World War Z, the west end is not only a very cultured area and community, but its location lends itself to significant events and is a fine showcase for visitors from outwith the city and abroad of what Glasgow has to offer.

“The parade has been a labour of love for festival director, Michael Dale, parade co-ordinator, Noel Bridgeman, and the Festival team, but it couldn’t have happened without the generous support of our funders, sponsors and volunteers. I’d like to thank each of them for making this spectacular event happen.”

The West End Festival is a celebration of culture, and one that has brought colour and entertainment to the streets of the west end since 1996.  It continues to be a key part of Glasgow’s events calendar, attracting visitors from across the city and beyond, as well as including internationally renowned musicians and artists such as Pavel Haas Quartet, Brass Jaw and the live screening of Munch 150.

 -ENDS-

Further information:

Laura Sutherland, Aura PR M: 07764 936 840 E: laura@aura-pr.com

Notes to editors:

    • Interviews available on request

 

    • Supporting imagery available on request

 

    • Generous funding is given from organisations such as Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council

 

    • Other sponsors and funders include IKEA Glasgow, G1, Hugh Fraser Foundation

 

    • More than 1 million visitors have attended the event from its start in 1996

 

    • The festival involves a mixture of new projects delivered by over 100  Glasgow-based organisations and arts groups and a programme of local and international artists, overseen by a small festival team. The West End Festival includes events, exhibitions, performances, talks, tours, workshops and screenings, and many are free of charge to allow accessibility

 

 

 

    • Scotland’s biggest free multi-cultural festival, the Glasgow Mela, will take place in Kelvingrove Park from 12 noon until 8pm on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June.  Bringing some of the biggest names in      urban, Bhangra and Bollywood music to Glasgow, the weekend promises vibrant tunes, dance, entertainment and live performances on three stages across the whole park.  For more information visit www.glasgowmela.com

 

    • More about itison.com: itison.com is officially Scotland’s #1 deals and events service with 500,000 members in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.  Founded in September 2010, it is one of  the UK’s fastest growing start-ups with more than 40 full time staff in 4 offices across Scotland.

 

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