This summer, after two uniquely challenging years, the festivals are set to return to their former glory and – as you would expect from ‘The Festival Newspaper’ – we’re planning to bring you as much of the magic as we possibly can via our hugely experienced team of specialist writers. You can find out more about our reviewers below.
The Edinburgh Art Festival begins tomorrow, on 28 July, and we'll be running in-depth reviews of all the major exhibitions from Duncan Macmillan and Susan Mansfield. On 30 July, we’ll be publishing our 12-page preview of the Edinburgh International Festival, in which we offer big reads on some of the most exciting (and spectacular) shows in the EIF’s 75th anniversary programme.
In Scotland on Sunday on 31 July, we’ll be running the first of our 8-page Festival guides, and then from 6 August, as the Edinburgh International and the Fringe get under way, we’ll be relaunching our daily 20-page Festival magazine in The Scotsman, packed with interviews, features reviews.
Our theatre critic Joyce McMillan will once again be leading her Fringe First Awards judging team on the hunt for the best new writing on the Fringe, and our arts correspondent Brian Ferguson will be seeking out the news stories that matter.
From 12 August, our film critic Alistair Harkness will be writing a daily Edinburgh International Film Festival diary, as well as reviewing all the big films, and from 13 August we’ll also have daily reports from the Book Festival from David Robinson and Susan Mansfield.
Of course, no matter how comprehensive our coverage, it's no substitute for the real thing, so please sign up to our arts newsletter at www.scotsman.com/newsletter for details of our festival ticket offers. The first of these begins tomorrow, when, in partnership with edfest.com, we’ll be giving away 20,000 tickets to selected shows.
We’re also offering a new range of digital subscription options this year. You can choose between a day pass to scotsman.com for £1, a month pass for £5, or alternatively, you can get 50 per cent off an annual subscription. For details, visit www.scotsman.com/subscriptions/summer-sale
Have a great Festival!
Roger Cox, arts editor, The Scotsman & Scotland on Sunday
Kelly Apter is an arts journalist based in Edinburgh. She has been The Scotsman's dance critic since 2000, and also writes for The List magazine, is a regular guest on BBC Radio Scotland's Review show, and is a mentor for emerging dance writers at Aerowaves' Spring Forward festival.
Kate Copstick first reviewed for The Scotsman in 1999. Since then she has written on comedy and the arts for everyone from the Observer to the Erotic Review. She has sat on judging panels for So You Think You’re Funny, The (then) Perrier Award and was part of the inaugural panel of judges on the Malcolm Hardee Award.
Mark Fisher is a is a theatre critic, editor, feature writer and freelance journalist based in Edinburgh. He has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s, contributing theatre reviews, interviews, arts features and travel articles to newspapers and magazines in Scotland and all over the world. His books include The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide and How to Write About Theatre.
Rory Ford is a freelance arts and lifestyle journalist who since 1990 has covered Edinburgh’s festivals for The Scotsman, the Edinburgh News and the List as a reviewer, editor and news reporter. He also featured in Jon Ronson’s “Critical Condition”, a Channel 4 documentary about the 1997 Perrier Awards.
Jim Gilchrist is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer, for many years a staff features and arts writer and columnist with The Scotsman, to which he still contributes a regular folk and jazz music column as well as reviews. He wrote the Scottish section of Celtic Music (ed. Kenny Mathieson), and co-edited, with Dr Stuart Eydmann, Dolina: An Island Girl’s Journey, the memoir of Gaelic singer, actress and broadcaster Dolina Maclennan.
Alistair Harkness is a freelance film critic, feature writer, Q&A host, lecturer and broadcaster based in Glasgow. He got his start working the red carpet beat for Empire and began writing about film for The Scotsman in 2002, becoming its main critic in 2005. He can frequently be heard talking about film on BBC Radio and has hosted live Q&As with filmmakers, actors and artists for organisations such as BAFTA, Glasgow Film and Sonica.
Katie Hawthorne is a freelance writer and researcher, living in Edinburgh. She writes about music and performance for publications including the Guardian, CRACK, Dazed Digital, The Skinny, Fest and the Observer. Katie won the Fringe Society's Allen Wright Award for feature writing in 2019. This year she completed a PhD in European Theatre, specialising in performance and digital technologies.
David Hepburn is a lifestyle journalist writing for The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News. He has attended the various Edinburgh festivals for the last 30 years and has previously reviewed for a number of publications including Fringe Report and Fest Magazine.
David Kettle has more than 25 years’ experience in music and arts journalism, including ten years at BBC Music Magazine, two years as editor at London’s South Bank Centre and four years at The Strad magazine. He writes music criticism for The Scotsman and The Daily Telegraph, edits educational resources for Music Teacher magazine, and was programme editor for Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Duncan Macmillan is Professor Emeritus of the History of Scottish Art at the University of Edinburgh and former curator of Edinburgh's Talbot Rice Gallery. He writes art criticism for The Scotsman, and is author of Painting in Scotland: the Golden Age, Scottish Art 1460-1990 and Scottish Art in the 20th Century.
Carol Main is director of Live Music Now Scotland and Live Music Now International Development (UK) as well as a freelance music journalist. She served almost 20 years as a board director of Edinburgh Festival Fringe and received a Herald Archangel at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival. Carol was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to music. In April 2021, she was appointed as a member of the board of Creative Scotland.
Susan Mansfield is a freelance arts writer, Scotsman art and theatre critic and a member of The Scotsman's Fringe First Awards team. She is also a published poet, winner of the Jack Clemo Poetry Prize 2018, and author, along with Alastair Moffat, of The Great Tapestry of Scotland: The Making of a Masterpiece.
Joyce McMillan is The Scotsman’s chief theatre critic and also writes a political and social commentary column for the paper. She has been a political and arts columnist, theatre critic and broadcaster for more than 30 years, living in Edinburgh and working for various Scottish and London-based newspapers.
Fergus Morgan is an Edinburgh-based freelance arts journalist and critic, specialising in theatre. His work has appeared in The Stage, The Independent, TimeOut, WhatsOnStage, Vice, Exeunt Magazine and elsewhere, and he also publishes The Crush Bar, a popular Substack newsletter dedicated to emerging theatre artists.
Susan Nickalls is music critic, a writer, editor, broadcaster and film producer based in Edinburgh. She recently graduated with an MA in Creative Writing, and is working on her first novel.
David Pollock is an arts writer based in Edinburgh. He has written about theatre for the Stage, The Scotsman, the Independent, the List, the i, the Financial Times and others.
Jay Richardson is a Glasgow-based freelance comedy and arts journalist, with 20 years experience covering the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the Scotsman. He also writes for British Comedy Guide, Chortle and several national newspapers and magazines and has been published in the US, Canada, Ireland and Australia.
David Robinson is a freelance writer and editor, based in Edinburgh. He was Books Editor of The Scotsman and from 2000-2015, and has been a newspaper journalist all his working life. A collection of his essays and interviews titled In Cold Ink: On the Writers’ Tracks was published in 2011.
Fiona Shepherd is a music and arts journalist, based in Glasgow. She is the chief rock and pop critic of The Scotsman, and also writes for Scotland On Sunday, The List and Edinburgh Festivals magazine. She is co-founder and co-director of Glasgow Music City Tours and Edinburgh Music Tours, which offer guided music-themed walking tours exploring the rich musical history of both cities.
Claire Smith is a freelance journalist. She has been involved with the Fringe for many years, has been a judge for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and the Malcolm Hardee Awards and is a champion of the wild, the eccentric and the downright odd.
Sally Stott is a freelance writer. She has covered the Edinburgh Festival for the Scotsman for the past 15 years, read and written scripts for the BBC, and won and been shortlisted for various awards as a theatre reviewer, comedy writer and travel journalist. She also helps architects, artists and academics to develop and edit their writing.
Ben Walters has been reviewing cabaret at the Fringe for the Scotsman since 2014. He previously edited Time Out London’s cabaret section and has covered cabaret and LGBTQ+ performance culture for various national and international publications. He holds a PhD in queer fun.
Ken Walton has been The Scotsman's classical music critic for more than 20 years. He has also taught music at the University of Glasgow, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Hutcheson's Grammar School in Glasgow.