This is a good year for the arts. 2019 is the 40th year of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival. During 24 May-2 June, there will be ten days of drama, music, dance, poetry and even a high-street takeover, all of which adds up to a wonderful showcase for the arts in Scotland. With so much demanding your attention where do you even start? Right here. Let our pick of the shows guide you to the hottest tickets. Book now.
Lost at Sea (above)
Prepare to be cast away with this world premiere and its all Scottish cast. ‘The untold war oh man versus the elements’ is a personal lyrical tribute by playwright Morna Young to the fishing communities of Northeast Scotland unearthing family secrets amid some epic weather. Be there for the opening leg of this world premiere tour.
Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Dumfries, 24 May
Martin and Eliza Carthy (below)
He has influenced artists from Bob Dylan to Paul Simon while she has revolutionised traditional folk. Be upstanding for folk royalty: twice Mercury Prize-nominated Eliza Carthy and her dad Martin team up to bring you a sensational and unique musical experience. They’ve been called ‘brave and anything but predictable’. Do everything you can to get a ticket for this immensely talented pair.
Moffat Town Hall, 25 May
McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart, 27 May
This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing
A contemporary fairytale about triplet sisters and friendship. After being abandoned by their father in a forest, the girls go their own way. But first they each make a resolution… What happened next?
Old Well Theatre, Moffat, 25 May
The always brilliant Fox and Hound Theatre Company return to Sanquhar with Davey Anderson’s short play – a true story – about a 15-year-old boy charged with attempted murder. How did he end up in a secure care unit? It’s down to him to find out…
A’ the Airts, Sanquhar, 25 May
Star of R&B, soul and gospel, Ruby Turner has performed with Culture Club, Mick Jagger and Jools Holland’s R&B Orchestra and has been compared to Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. Take a group of friends – this will be pure joy.
Buccleuch Centre, Langholm, 26 May
Lowlands Scots Poetry
Award-winning poets Stuart Paterson, Katy Ewing and Rab Wilson celebrate lowlands poetry in an intimate and friendly venue. Set to be a thought-provoking and entertaining afternoon. Book early.
A’ the Airts, Sanquhar, 26 May
Team Viking (above)
A comedy about a Viking burial? This moving ode to death and friendship was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe. Live music, storytelling and a real Viking helmut – what more could you want?
Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet, 27 May
Old Well Theatre, Moffat, 28 May
Lochans Community Hall, Stranraer, 29 May
Lucy Porter – Pass it on
What do we leave our children and what have we learnt from our ancestors? Lucy Porter, a regular on TV and radio, attempts to leave a better legacy – in perfect punchlines and witty anecdotes. Spread the word.
Lockerbie Town Hall, 29 May
Gig theatre at its very best from Wildcard. This award-winning show features six multi-instrumentalists, original music and poetry to tackle mental illness, grief, rave culture and the pull of the big city. If that’s not ambitious we don’t know what is. If you missed this at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, catch up now.
Corner House Hotel, Annan, 30 May
Town Hall, Castle Douglas, 31 May
Fitba Bar, Stranraer, 1 June
Secret History of Closeburn Castle
Grim deeds, colourful courtships and chilling death omens… the superb Mostly Ghostly team are out and about in one of the oldest continuously inhabited castles. Go for the chills and the thrills. You’ll love every spine-tingling minute of it.
Closeburn Castle, Thornhill, 31 May
Catherine Bohart Immaculate
She’s a bisexual, OCD daughter of an Irish Catholic deacon who charmed the critics at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe with her confident comedy debut. See for yourself as Catherine brings her show to this wonderful new venue, the birthplace of Peter Pan.
Moat Brae House, Dumfries, 31 May
Book your tickets here where you’ll also find details of the full programme.
Photograph (Electrolyte): The Other Richard, courtesy of Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival