Monday, 1 September 2014

The Glasgow School XX Calendar for September

If Glasgow's theatre communities can be bounded by the geographical limits of the city, there is also an annual calendar of events that has become reasonably stable over the past five years. Despite the emergence and disappearance of festivals (Radiance shone briefly in the mid-2000s, The National Review of Live Art was wound up after thirty years in 2010), a relatively settled programme has developed.

After the hurly-burly of the Edinburgh Fringe, Arches Live!  is the traditional start to the autumn seasons. Ranging from a week to a month's worth of performances, installations and exhibitions - sometimes including a 'take over' of the restaurant by a selected artist - the festival is curated by Jackie Wylie and features a host of mainly local and emerging artists.

2013 programme
Art/Action/Other #1 (discussion event)
Rachel Frances Sharpe: Smoke
Unboxed: Break the Silence
Leo Glaister: Ultraviolet Catastrophe
Calum MacAskill: Every Pound’s A Prisoner!
Greg Sinclair: I Do, Do I
Peter Lannon/Emma Nutland: Punching Woman Coming At You Punchman
V/DA: Behave
Enormous Yes: Bonny Boys Are Few
Ian Johnston/Gary Gardiner/Adrian Howells: He’s The Greatest Dancer
Rosana Cade: Sister
Louise Ahl: NICE Opening Ceremony
Arches Commons breakfast discussion: Am I An Artist?
Visting Company: Panorama
Katy Baird and Jonathan May: At Least We Tried
Unboxed: I’m Still Gay And You’re Still Dying
Shafted!? Theatrical Dissidents: Shafted!?

Since The Arches offers a season ticket, and most events have short runs, Arches Live! is close to a music festival in structure. It encourages works in progress (the versions of Sister and I Do, Do I would later be expanded for the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe) and young artists, making their first works outside of academia (Peter Lannon is a recent graduate of the RCS). It has a DIY atmosphere, with multiple events on the same night, and discussions are part of the overall programme.

September marks the beginning of the seasons for the producing house theatres  - The Tron and The Citizens - and the Tramway, which mixes touring productions and festivals. 

September 2014 also sees the arrival of Arika's Episode 6: Make a Way Out of No Way. Although the company are based in Edinburgh, and were previously preoccupied with festivals of experimental music, Arika has become increasingly concerned with work across the entire spectrum of performance. Their Episodes combine theatre, live art, music, lectures and discussions around a particular theme. Episode 6 looks at 'queer black art,' following earlier Episodes that took the New York Ballroom scene as a cue for a wide-ranging exploration of dance and queer subculture.

As for The Citizens and The Tron: the respective kick-offs to their autumn seasons might give some clues towards their unique identities. 

The Citizens has two whopping great shows - Headlong's 1984 and artistic director Dominic Hill's Hamlet. Hill's thoughts on his Hamlet give further clues. “Hamlet’s grief, loss of trust, the complexity of his family relationships and how he negotiates the abrupt changes to his world around him are challenges that contemporary audiences can relate to. Brian Ferguson is a thoughtful and sensitive actor, whom I really wanted for this production, which will focus on Hamlet’s internal struggles and the domestic drama between two families. Shakespeare at the Citz is always a special event, and I'm looking forward to presenting a production that adds to that rich history.” 

The emphasis on a contemporary reading of a classic - the centrality of the actor (Brian Ferguson, who is becoming a major Scottish player - the sense of an occasion and the legacy of previous performances.

The Tron, meanwhile, waits a while before its big opening - a Chekhov via Scotland - and has a selection of short runs of proven plays (Full Tilt, which wowed Oran Mor, The Carousel, a Traverse Fringe Festival entry, a few comedians and gigs, plus Alan Bissett's political pantomime. 

(As a bonus, here's a one-off in Edinburgh for September 2014. Does this give context to the stability of the Glasgow month? Or do I just like the picture?
credit:Mark Hamilton

The Assembly Hall, Edinburgh on 17 September 2014, midday to midnight

A live twelve-hour celebration of Scottish music and spoken word, read, sung and performed by its people, between midday and midnight.

Featuring invited artists, actors, politicians, journalists, sportspeople, singers and scientists.

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