Wednesday 8 September 2021

Push The Boat Out, Scotland’s second poetry festival

 Push The Boat Out, Scotland’s second poetry festival, launches inaugural programme on 8 September in Edinburgh

Push The Boat Out (PTBO) Scotland’s newest and most boundary-bending poetry festival, launches its inaugural programme today, Wednesday 8 September in Edinburgh.

Taking place from the 15 – 17 October 2021 within the creative hub of Summerhall, Push The Boat Out will be the second poetry festival ever to be held in Scotland and its aims to do what it says on the tin, by challenging perceptions of what poetry is and how it can be enjoyed.  

Named after the poem “At Eighty” by the first Glasgow poet laureate Edwin Morgan, PTBO is inspired by the vibrancy and range of contemporary poetry, hip hop and spoken word coming out of Scotland, the UK and indeed the world. The aim of the festival is to not only give poetry a new platform, but to create an environment where all variations of this vital artform are encouraged to grow, evolve and even collide

Taking place within the creative spaces of Summerhall in Edinburgh, the PTBO programme will seep into every nook and cranny of this established arts venue through multiple means, including film, imagery, song, music, dance, singing, debate and other forms of poetry performance.

Underpinning the festival are four key themes; social justice and representationhealing and recoveryclimate crisis and ecopoetics; and virtual and other realities. Audiences can expect first-class performances from around 60 poets, emerging and established, including the newly appointed Scots Makar Kathleen Jamie.

Other key programme highlights include performances by Scottish hip hop legend Solareye /  Dave Hook of Stanley Odd, celebrated Caribbean poet Lorna Goodison, and the author the first-ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award, Andrew McMillan. Joining them on the many and varied Summerhall ‘stages’ are Roseanne Watt, Hannah Lavery, Nova Scotia the Truth, Harry Josephine Giles, Ray Antrobus, Clare Pollard, Caroline Bird, Salena Godden and many more.

Another key element to the PTBO programme is the Poetry Mile initiative which, through a dedicated web app, allows users to experience Edinburgh differently, filtered through the eyes and ears of some of the country’s finest poets. Featuring over 50 specifically commissioned poems from over 25 poets, all locations featured are within a square mile of Summerhall. The app generates bespoke walking tours depending on the type of experience the user requests to have.

The brainchild of director Jenny Niven, former head of literature at Creative Scotland, and co-founder Kevin Williamson, writer, publisher and founder of the Edinburgh arts events collective Neu! Reekie!, PTBO is convinced of the need for poetry more now than ever before, particularly as we emerge from lengthy lockdowns and seek new ways to express ourselves.

Jenny Niven, co-founder of Push The Boat Out, said: “We are so excited to be launching our inaugural Push The Boat Out programme after what has been a difficult year for everyone, not least those working within the arts.

That said, poetry is all about using language in new ways, to express new experiences, so if ever there was a time to explore this vital and vibrant art form, it is now.

We feel incredibly lucky to be hosting our inaugural festival in a city so full of talent, at a time when there is so much to say, and off the back of a summer festival season that saw performance take over more city spaces than ever before.

With performers and artists spanning the full spectrum of this spectacular artform, from classical verse to hip hop, we can’t wait for audiences to come along and enjoy.”

Tuesday 7 September 2021






Bill Kenwright, The Classic Thriller Theatre Company and Theatre Royal, Glasgow are pleased to welcome the creepy comedy thriller The Cat and the Canary next week as part of a UK tour.


The stage adaptation of John Willard’s screenplay of the same name, The Cat and the Canary is the third show to be staged at Theatre Royal since it reopened on Sunday 5 September.


Starring silver screen and Bond-girl legend Britt Ekland, the chilling play is set 20 years after the death of Mr West as his descendants gather to learn who will inherit his vast wealth and the hidden family jewels. Within moments, the heritage hunters turn into prey. Walls crack open, shadows loom, and dark secrets are revealed.


Britt is perhaps best known for The Man with The Golden Gun with Roger Moore, The Wicker Man with Christopher Lee, and Get Carter with Michael Caine. She stars alongside singer-songw
riter, actor and former member of the internationally successful 00’s boy band Blue, Antony Costa, and Tracy Shaw, best known for her long-running role as Maxine Peacock in Coronation Street. They are joined by West End leading lady Marti Webb, whose credits include Evita and Tell Me on A SundayGary Webster, who played Gary Costello in Family Affairs and Ray Daley opposite George Cole in ITV’s Minder; Classic Thriller Theatre Company veteran Ben Nealon, who played Lt. Forsythe in the drama series Soldier Soldier, and Eric Carte, who played Geoff Roberts in two series of Bouquet of Barbed Wire. The cast is completed by Priyasasha KumariMartin Carroll, Jack Taylor and Clara Darcy.


The Cat and The Canary is director Roy Marsden’s fifth Classic Thriller Theatre Company production. Other credits include the West End premieres of Agatha Christie’s A Daughter’s a Daughter at the Trafalgar Studios and Noël Coward’s Volcano at the Vaudeville Theatre. As an actor, he is well-known to television audiences as Inspector Dalgliesh in the long-running P.D. James series.


Adaptor Carl Grose was, until recently, co-artistic director of Kneehigh Theatre. His numerous plays and adaptations include book and lyrics for The Grinning Man, which Tom Morris directed at the Trafalgar Studios in 2017.


Designer takis’s diverse international credits include In the Heights, Gifford’s Circus and the Royal Opera.


Lighting Designer Chris Davey’s work includes Witness for the Prosecution at London’s County Hall and Touching the Void at the Duke of York’s Theatre.


Dan Samson is resident Sound Designer for The Classic Thriller Theatre Company. West End credits include Heathers at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Evita at the Dominion Theatre.

Monday 30 August 2021

The Enemy (NTS)

 The National Theatre of Scotland presents 

The Enemy

by Kieran Hurley after Henrik Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ 

Directed by Finn den Hertog, video design Lewis den Hertog, sound design Matt Padden, original set design Rosanna Vize, composer Kathryn Joseph, lighting designer Katharine Williams, set and costume designer Jen McGinley, co-movement directors Vicki Manderson and Robbie Gordon, assistant director Leonie Rae Gasson


Cast: Hannah Donaldson, Billy Mack, Neil McKinven, Taqi Nazeer, Gabriel Quigley and Eléna Redmond 


Touring to Greenock, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness and Perth in October and November 2021 

Opening performance at Dundee Rep on Wednesday 13 October 2021 

Henrik Ibsen’s iconic play An Enemy of the People is given a contemporary Scottish re-imagining in

this brand-new stage adaptation from the award-winning team of playwright Kieran Hurley and director Finn den Hertog.  

In a once-proud Scottish industrial town, a massive redevelopment project promises to bring money, jobs, and new prospects to its forgotten population. However, when Kirsten Stockmann discovers a dangerous secret, she knows she must bring the truth to light - no matter the cost. 

This urgent, provocative new production feels increasingly relevant in 2021. Set during a public health crisis, The Enemy scrutinises corruption and power amidst a changing media landscape and explores what it means to hold power to account in a post-truth political world.  

Members of the original cast are reunited following the production’s delayed premiere. In this radical reworking of the classic drama the roles of Dr Stockman and his brother are played by women. The Stockmann sisters are played by Hannah Donaldson and Gabriel Quigley and are joined by a leading Scottish ensemble of actors: Billy Mack, Neil McKinven, Taqi Nazeer and Eléna Redmond.  


Featuring a brooding original soundtrack from award-winning composer Kathryn Joseph and startling live video, The Enemy is a uniquely contemporary and Scottish take on Ibsen’s timeless work. This tour marks the first time that a version of Ibsen’s classic play has been staged in Scotland for over forty years. 

National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to be returning to Scotland’s live stages in autumn 2021, with the Company’s first national tour since venues were closed due to COVID-19 in 2020. The production will now tour to venues across Scotland in October and November 2021 including the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, Dundee Rep Theatre, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness and Perth Theatre.  The production was in rehearsal when the pandemic halted its original tour in Spring 2020.

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director of National Theatre of Scotland says:

“We are more than thrilled to be returning to live audiences and communities across Scotland this autumn with an exciting new adaption of Ibsen’s The Enemy, adapted by the brilliant theatre-making team of writer Kieran Hurley and director Finn den Hertog. It seems entirely fitting that our first post lockdown tour is the show that was in rehearsal when COVID-19 closed Scottish theatres for over 18 months. I am both joyful and relieved that the Company is back on the road taking theatre across Scotland, connecting with theatres and audiences again and sharing the unique experience of live performance that we have missed for so long.”

Kieran Hurley says:

“It is a real joy to be able to bring The Enemy to audiences at last, after this long hiatus. When we went into lockdown in March last year we were literally on the verge of going into rehearsals, and things have been so uncertain that there was never a guarantee we'd be back in this place. So it feels like a triumph of everyone's determination and hard work to even be here at all, bringing a new production to live audiences which is what it's all about. What's really fascinating to me though is how the pandemic has at times mirrored the world of the play, casting its conversation about a society in the grip of a public health crisis in a whole new light. What we thought was an adaption focused on quite current themes of fake news, distrust of experts, and the treacherous whirlwind of public opinion in an age of social media has now taken on a whole new contemporary relevance that we could never have predicted in a million years. It's been genuinely surreal, and testament I suppose to the enduring relevance of Ibsen's original. It's been a long uncertain wait but maybe, in all of this, the play has somehow found its moment.”

Kieran Hurley is an award-winning writer, performer, and theatre maker based in Glasgow. His recent work has included the stage hits MouthpieceSquare Go, and Heads Up, as well as the Scottish BAFTA-winning film Beats, based on his acclaimed stage play of the same name. His previous project with the National Theatre of Scotland, Rantin, was presented in collaboration with The Arches, and toured Scotland in 2014.  

Finn den Hertog is an award-winning director and actor who has worked with theatre companies across the UK including The Traverse, The Young Vic and The National Theatre. Previous work with National Theatre of Scotland includes The Auteurs Project in 2014, as well as appearing in Abi Morgan’s play 27 in 2012. In 2018 he directed the award-winning production of Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair’s play Square Go for Francesca Moody Productions. 

Join the conversation: #TheEnemy 

Touring to Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock (Preview 9 October), Dundee Rep (Preview 12 October & 13 -16 October); Kings Theatre, Edinburgh (20 - 23 October); Eden Court, Inverness (27 - 30 October); Perth Theatre (3 - 6 November) 

Full tour dates, booking info and social distancing guidance:

Listing Information

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Sat 9 Oct, 7.30pm (Preview)

Tickets: £8 - £10

Dundee Rep

Tue 12 (Preview) – Sat 16 Oct, 7.30pm. Sat 16 Oct, 2.30pm

Tickets: £10 - £25

Access: 15 Oct 7.30pm - BSL,16 Oct, 2.30pm - AD, CAP

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

Wed 20 – Sat 23 Oct, 7.30pm. Sat 23 Oct, 2.30pm

Tickets: £15 - £33.50

Access: 21 Oct, 7.30pm – CAP, 23 Oct, 2.30pm - AD, BSL

Eden Court, Inverness

Wed 27 – Sat 30 Oct, 7.30pm

Tickets: £10 - £25

Access: 29 Oct, 7.30pm – CAP, 30 Oct, 7.30pm - AD, BSL

Perth Theatre

Wed 3 – Sat 6 Nov, 7.30pm. Sat 6 Nov, 2.30pm

Tickets: £11 - £27

Access: 5 Nov, 7.30pm - AD, CAP, 6 Nov, 2.30pm – BSL

Age Guidance, 16+

Theatre for a Fiver - £5 ticket deals and discount codes for 16 - 26 year olds. Full info here

The Edinburgh Playhouse is set to reopen its doors to a full capacity audience.

 It’s time.


It is with great excitement that the Edinburgh Playhouse, the UK’s largest all seated theatre, announces its eagerly awaited reopening date after more than 500 days of closure due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement [on Tuesday 3rd August], removing all legal restrictions for venues and the capacity dispensation granted by the Edinburgh City Council [on Thursday 19th August], the Edinburgh Playhouse will open its doors on Sunday 5th September 2021 with two sold out performances.

Colin Marr, Theatre Director at the Edinburgh Playhouse said “I am absolutely thrilled to be able to reopen our theatre doors after more than 500 days of closure.  It has been a very difficult time for everyone and to be given the go ahead to reopen this iconic venue, is an incredible feeling.  I can’t wait to welcome back my full team, our wonderful audience members and the incredible gigs, comedians and musicals that we’ve all missed so much this last year and a half.”

The Playhouse will open on Sunday 5th September with two sold out performances of the smash hit podcast Shagged, Married, Annoyed with Chris & Rosie Ramsey.  

This will be followed by the award-winning Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5, which opens with our Gala performance on Tuesday 14th September.  Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Chicago the Musical, Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited and Gary Mullen & The Works performing One Night of Queen, Riverdance – 25th Anniversary Tour and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast are just some of the highlights to look forward to in the coming weeks.  

The 3059 capacity venue was in the middle of a 25 week record-breaking run of Disney’s The Lion King, when it closed its doors on Monday 16th March 2020 following Government guidance aimed to limit the spread of Covid-19, before a mandatory closure notice was given by the Scottish and UK Governments on Monday 23rd March 2020 as part of a nationwide lockdown.  

Upon reopening on Sunday 5th September, the Playhouse will have been closed 536 days.  

The Edinburgh Playhouse is part of Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), a leading live entertainment company with venues across the globe.




Ambassador Theatre Group has a comprehensive framework of control measures that Theatre Operators follow to ensure all venues comply with the requirements set out by UK and Scottish Governments and Health Authorities to be Covid-Secure, thus ensuring the safety of staff, production companies, third parties and audiences.

Once audiences have purchased tickets, they will be contacted just ahead of their visit to confirm the details of what they can expect, so that they can be confident that venues will be operating in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines (including mandatory face coverings in Scotland, eTickets, the option of refreshments delivered to seats, contactless payments and hand sanitiser stations).

In addition to Scottish Government and sector guidance (and in line with Ambassador Theatre Group venues UK-wide) we are also asking audiences for proof of Covid status (over the age of 18, full vaccination or negative test within 48 hours) and have introduced additional safety measures at the Edinburgh Playhouse including staggered arrival times and designated entry points.



Ambassador Theatre Group venues are now operating a contactless ticketing system. eTickets are now the primary and default delivery method for all bookings and are sent to customers within two weeks of their selected performance’s date. The design allows ATG to detail door entry points, staggered entry times and any Covid safety guidelines as appropriate. Audiences simply show the eTicket on their mobile device, or bring along a print out. This change is a necessary step in increasing safety and hygiene and improving the overall booking experience in ATG’s venues.



SUN 5 SEP: 3pm & 8pm: Shagged, Married, Annoyed Podcast with Chris & Rosie Ramsey

TUE 14 - SAT 18 SEP: 9 to 5 the Musical

SUN 19 SEP: One Night of Queen - Performed by Gary Mullen & The Works

MON 20 SEP: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

SAT 25 SEP: Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited - Seconds Out & More

MON 27 SEP - SAT 2 OCT: Chicago the Musical

TUE 5 & 6 OCT: Riverdance – 25th Anniversary Tour

TUE 12 OCT – SAT 16 OCT – Blood Brothers

THUR 21 OCT – SAT 27 NOV – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

THE MALTINGS THEATRE ST ALBANS: 2021 autumn programme

September 7th – November 27th


The Maltings Theatre, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary under the Artistic Directorship of Adam Nichols and his company OVO, opens its 2021 autumn season on September 7th with a rousing programme of drama, comedy, opera, live music and song. 

Strong female leads power OVO’s own productions:  Vinegar Tom, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Hedda Gabler while Dyad Productions opens the autumn season on September 7th with the one-woman show, A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN, based on Virginia Woolf’s classic 1928 and performed by the actor, writer, producer Rebecca Vaughan.


September 21st-24th sees Charles Court Opera present Gilbert & Sullivan’s evergreen comic opera THE MIKADO. 

Fake News
September 30th-October 2nd
 journalist turned writer/performer Osman Baig (photo left: Tristram Kenton) stages his dazzling, critically acclaimed, one-man show, FAKE NEWS. 

October 12th-23rd OVO presents a re-mixed, musical version of Christopher Hampton’s classic social drama LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES and from October 28th to November 6th award-winning director Matthew Parker presents OVO’s production of Caryl Churchill’s searing drama, VINEGAR TOM


Closing the autumn season is OVO’s new production of Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama HEDDA GABLER which runs from November 16th-27th, directed by OVO’s Associate Director Janet Podd.


Adam Nichols, OVO Artistic Director says: “We’re so excited about this autumn’s programme with its wide variety of productions and emphasis on strong female protaganists.  I’m extremely proud to be presenting Osman Baig’s outstanding one-man show, Fake News, hot on the heels of its run at the Bridge Theatre in London and A Room of One’s Own whose run we had to cancel last year due to the pandemic. 


“I’ll be directing Les Liaisons Dangereuses and I’m delighted Charles Court Opera continue their association with us by bringing their very funny production of The Mikado to The Maltings stage.  Matthew Parker will bring Caryl Churchill’s blistering Vinegar Tom to life and I can’t wait to see what Janet Podd does with Hedda Gabler, one of my favourite dramas.


“We recently completed seven weeks of drama, music, opera, and comedy at The Roman Theatre Open Air Festival where we more than doubled our audience from last year.  We then took our Roman Theatre production of The Winter’s Tale to the fabulous Minack Theatre in Cornwall for ten days in July.


“We continued to manage rules and regulations during the first part of this year with the presentation of theatrical treasures in Hertfordshire, Cornwall and online.  And now we’re looking forward to welcoming capacity audiences to the Maltings Theatre from September 7th onwards for our exciting autumn season.”