{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/kelly-macdonald-and-john-hannah-to-star-in-new-tv-thriller-set-in-edinburgh-1-4710470","id":"1.4710470","articleHeadline": "Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah to star in new TV thriller set in Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521707998246 ,"articleLead": "

Trainspotting and Boardwalk Empire star Kelly Macdonald is to star in a new Edinburgh-set TV thriller about a mother accused of revealing the identity of her son’s schoolboy killer and conspiring to have him murdered.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710469.1521708096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kelly Macdonald will play a mother who has been campaigning to reveal the new identity and whereabouts of her son's schoolboy killer in 'The Victim.'"} ,"articleBody": "

John Hannah, the Scots actor who shot to fame in Four Weddings and a Funeral, will play a haunted detective investigating an unprovoked attack on a family man who is branded a notorious child murderer online in “The Victim.”

Said to be “played out through the lens” of a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, writer Rob Williams’ legal drama is expected to throw up a series of moral dilemmas and a “constantly surprising and twisting perspective on who is really the victim.”

Macdonald, who was an unknown when she was cast in Trainspotting, went on to star in films like Gosford Park, No Country For Old Men and Brave.

In The Victim, which will be screened across the UK on BBC One, she will playing Anna Dean, the Edinburgh-based mother of a nine-year-old boy who was murdered 15 years previously by a 13-year-old boy. Her character has been leading a campaigner for his murderer to be named and identified.

Rising Scots star James Harkness, whose previous roles include Star Wars epic Rogue One and the recent big-screen version of Macbeth, will be playing Craig Myers, a man living in Greenock with his family, who viewers will be kept in the dark about on whether is a victim of mistaken identity, or a dangerous killer.

The series opens on the first day of the High Court trial, and will also flash back over the events of the previous five months.

STV Productions are making the four-part series, which is expected to be filmed across Scotland, for BBC One.

Elizabeth Kilgarriff, the BBC’s senior commissioning editor for England and Scotland, said: “Bold, original and constantly surprising, The Victim showcases perfectly our ambition for Scottish drama.

“Set in Edinburgh and Greenock, against the backdrop of the Scottish legal system, Rob’s brilliant scripts will be brought to life by an extraordinary cast that features the wonderful Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah, whilst introducing James Harkness and other exciting rising Scottish stars to the BBC One audience.”

Hannah said: “It is great to be back filming in Scotland especially as Rob has delivered an exquisitely-drawn character.

“On first appearance he seems pretty straightforward but I’m pleased to report that audiences will soon find out that this is far from the case”.

Harkness said: “The character of Craig gives me a fantastic opportunity to play someone faced with incredible circumstances.

“Rob’s writing takes Craig to lots of different places in his life. I feel very lucky to be telling this story.”

Williams said: “It’s incredibly exciting for me to see the story being brought to life by such a talented cast and crew. I’m really grateful – and fortunate – to be working with people who care about the material as much as I do.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710469.1521708096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710469.1521708096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kelly Macdonald will play a mother who has been campaigning to reveal the new identity and whereabouts of her son's schoolboy killer in 'The Victim.'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kelly Macdonald will play a mother who has been campaigning to reveal the new identity and whereabouts of her son's schoolboy killer in 'The Victim.'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710469.1521708096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/rise-and-fall-of-forgotten-scottish-indie-band-to-inspire-new-fringe-show-1-4709843","id":"1.4709843","articleHeadline": "Rise and fall of forgotten Scottish indie band to inspire new Fringe show","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521654184798 ,"articleLead": "She was the teenage singer in an unknown band who landed one of the biggest record deals in Scottish music history - only for their dreams to turn to dust when they were ditched by their label and landed £40,000 in debt.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710094.1521654185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cora Bissett's Fringe will chart her journey from being a teenager singer in an indie-rock band to motherhood."} ,"articleBody": "

Now 25 years on from indie-rock outfit Darlingheart’s tours with Blur, Radiohead and The Cranberries, Cora Bissett is to turn the daily diaries she kept into a major new stage show.

Bissett, who hit the big-time with her bandmates when she was just 17, will step back into the role of band leader when she lifts the lid on Darlingheart’s story for the first time at the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The “rollercoaster journey” which will unfold on stage will see Bissett reflect on the words and actions of her teenage self, as well as explore what advice she will be giving her own two-year-old daughter, Naia.

Bissett, who left the music business behind to pursue an acting career, has gone on to become one of Scotland’s leading theatre-makers.

She has previously directed the stage musical Glasgow Girls, about the schoolgirl campaign against the treatment of asylum seekers in the city, and Full Tilt, which charted the life of rock icon Janis Joplin.

Bissett said the show, What Girls Are Made Of, was prompted by the death of her father, and the discovery of a scrapbook he had kept on Darlingheart, along with her teenage diaries.

Bissett, who is originally from Glenrothes, said: “It’s really weird. It’s almost like Darlingheart have been erased off the planet.

“But this all happened exactly 25 years ago. The internet didn’t even exist. There is hardly anything about us online.

“I was cleaning out the family home after my dad passed away and found a box with a bit of paper taped to the box with 'Cora’s clippings' written on it.

“I also kept a diary religiously from the age of 11 until I was 35. I was obsessive about it. Pretty much every day of my life was written down.

“When I read back on that period between the age of 17 and 20 I can hear in the words of a schoolgirl going into a big record deal and coming out the other end a very different person.

“There was a bit of a seed planted at the time. I didn’t really think it was a show, but it prompted me to revisit that place in my life.

“I became pregnant not long after my dad died. I was having a lot of new experiences with my baby girl. I was thinking a lot about what I wanted her to learn, what I will offer her, what are the big lessons I feel I could pass on to her, and what have I done in my life that is useful for her to learn from.

“At some point these two things started to conflate and I became really interested in that period of time when I went from schoolgirl to young woman.

“I just felt there was a story to be told about how you form yourself as a woman, what decisisons you take to become the woman you want to be, and how you navigate that path for your own little girl.”

The Fringe show will recall how Bissett was propelled into the limelight after answering an advert in the Fife Free Press newspaper for a singer for a band influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Pixies, R.E.M, and Throwing Muses.

Recorded at Abracadabra Studios, in Kirkcaldy, the band's first ever demo, of their songs Smarthead, Queen Bee and Short Stories, was enough to secure them radio play and a manager.

Six weeks later record companies were scrambling to snap up the band at a gig at the then Negotiants basement bar in Edinburgh.

Darlingheart signed for Phonogram, who released their debut album, Serendipity, but it failed to take off as well as expected, not helped by a damning review in the NME. After the band were dropped by their label they discovered they had fallen victim to an unscrupulous manager.

Bissett, who has shared the script with her former band members and won their backing for the show, added: “It was probably less than two years from the point where we were signed to getting signed to releasing the album and going on tour with all these big bands, and then getting dropped.

“I was just out of school - I had only ever had a part-time job. Suddenly we were going into an amazing recording studio, we were getting put in up these hotels, we were hanging out with all these bands and everyone is buying you drinks.

“It was incredible, but we were a bit of an odd bunch. The two guys in the band, Clark and Cameron, were a lot old than me and Cathryn. We never really entirely bonded as a band.

“I knew I was half-formed at the time. I didn’t know what I had to say to the world yet. When we were getting reviews saying that our lyrics were a bit teenage-angsty I was thinking: ‘I know, I know.’

“It was a bit of a mixture of living the dream and thinking: ‘****, what are we doing here?’ It was a bit of a mixed bag. When things started to go wrong, then went wrong quite quickly.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710094.1521654185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710094.1521654185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cora Bissett's Fringe will chart her journey from being a teenager singer in an indie-rock band to motherhood.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cora Bissett's Fringe will chart her journey from being a teenager singer in an indie-rock band to motherhood.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710094.1521654185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/still-game-s-greg-hemphill-creates-new-ghost-hunting-drama-for-bbc-scotland-1-4710204","id":"1.4710204","articleHeadline": "Still Game's Greg Hemphill creates new ghost-hunting drama for BBC Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521652162618 ,"articleLead": "Scotland’s answer to the Ghostbusters are set to arrive on the nation’s TV screens next month - and are expected to get much more than they bargained for.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710203.1521652163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Hemphill's new comedy horror Long Night at Blackstone will be screened by BBC Scotland on Easter Monday."} ,"articleBody": "

Still Game star Greg Hemphill has written and directed a new BBC Scotland drama following the exploits of a band of Scottish psychic investigators.

Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh has the lead role as Faye Bowers, the host of Ghost Haunt Live, a TV show which tricks viewers into thinking they have seen paranormal activity.

The comedy horror Long Night at Blackstone, which will be screened by BBC Scotland on Easter Monday, sees her team arrive at Blackstone, a dilapidated mansion owned by an eccentric laird, played by Taggart star John Michie.

Michie and McIntosh, whose previous screen roles have included My Name Is Joe, Scot Squad and River City, is joined by Gregory’s Girl star John Gordon Sinclair and Balamory favourite Julie Wilson Nimmo.

Nimmo, Sinclair, McIntosh and Michie all starred in a previous spine-tingling drama Hemphill wrote and directed for BBC Scotland, West Skerra Light, which went out on Halloween.

Other members of the Ghost Haunt Live crew are played Natali McLeary, Michael Abubakar and Lorna Craig, while a “very special mystery guest” is said to made a chilling appearance in the programme.

A spokeswoman for BBC Scotland said: “Faye Bowers is the host of Ghost Haunt Live, a low rent paranormal activity show she fronts with psychic sidekick Pat Tomorrow.

“A master of trickery and pretence, Faye is desperate to be taken seriously as a journalist, so when she discovers the show is about to be axed, she’s determined to go out with a bang.”

Although filming starts normally enough, it soon becomes apparent that all is not right and a ‘Long Night at Blackstone’ beckons for Faye and her crew.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710203.1521652163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710203.1521652163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Greg Hemphill's new comedy horror Long Night at Blackstone will be screened by BBC Scotland on Easter Monday.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Hemphill's new comedy horror Long Night at Blackstone will be screened by BBC Scotland on Easter Monday.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710203.1521652163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-darlingheart-s-dreams-were-the-dreams-of-many-1-4710333","id":"1.4710333","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Darlingheart’s dreams were the dreams of many","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521698400000 ,"articleLead": "

How many bands have experienced the extraordinary thrill of hitting upon that first great tune, playing it over and over, genuinely believing it would take them to the big time?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710332.1521659466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darlingheart in their heyday"} ,"articleBody": "

Darlingheart got far closer than most – touring with Radiohead, Blur and The Cranberries – but their first album sold poorly, leaving the Kirkcaldy group with little but broken dreams and debt.

Lead singer Cora Bissett’s discovery of newspaper clippings about the band kept by her late father and her extensive diaries have helped her turn the experience into a play, What Girls Are Made Of, that will debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

For anyone who has ever dreamed the life – rather than lived the dream – or cut loose on an electric guitar in a dank rehearsal room or garage, or rocked out in front of the bathroom mirror, only to fall by the wayside, distracted by a sensible career or life or dissuaded by a genuine lack of talent, it could be a cathartic experience.

For Darlingheart must surely be the greatest of them all. The best of those countless nearly bands.

READ MORE: Rise and fall of forgotten Scottish indie band to inspire new Fringe show

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710332.1521659466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710332.1521659466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Darlingheart in their heyday","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darlingheart in their heyday","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710332.1521659466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/closure-threatened-scottish-youth-theatre-bailed-out-by-scottish-government-1-4709039","id":"1.4709039","articleHeadline": "Closure-threatened Scottish Youth Theatre bailed out by Scottish Government","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521629599523 ,"articleLead": "Scottish Youth Theatre chiefs have vowed to turn it into a “thriving national theatre company” after winning direct government funding despite being rejected by arts quango Creative Scotland.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709038.1521550663!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artistic director Jacky Hardacre said the rescue deal for Scottish Youth Theatre would ensure young people had their own "thriving national theatre company.""} ,"articleBody": "

The £150,000 emergency grant has halted the planned closure of the 41-year-old company in the summer and is expected to lead to an overhaul of how SYT operates in future.

It has been told to develop new partnerships around the country after securing the backing of the government, which has been match-funded from the private sector.

The bail-out, the second from the government in four years, emerged less than two weeks after it declared it had “no other realistic option but to cease trading” after again failing to win the backing of Creative Scotland for its plans.

The Glasgow-based company has vowed to “engage with experts from across the cultural and business sectors to build a model that is accessible and sustainable.”

The government’s support stops well short of giving the company the same status as the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet.

However Jacky Hardacre, the chief executive of SYT, said the future of the company had been secured by the deal, which was brokered following an intervention from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has been leading the government’s efforts to promote 2018 as the “Year of Young People.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scottish Youth Theatre has supported many young actors and other theatre professionals to find their voice and launch their careers. There was widespread concern about the announcement that the theatre was facing closure due to its financial position.

“This funding from partners will allow the theatre to maintain its work and complete the ongoing positive changes to their business. It will also give time for further dialogue about a longer-term funding strategy. I have encouraged them to continue exploring all options available to secure a more permanent funding solution.

“I have also discussed with them their continuing ambitions to improve the reach, depth and quality of its work across Scotland, and how this funding will help them towards that goal.”

Ms Hardacre said: “Our focus is firmly on ensuring the nation’s young people have their own thriving national theatre company to engage with, be inspired by and to aspire to be a part of.

“This solution would not be possible without the support from Baillie Gifford and a number of private sector organisations and individuals. Furthermore, the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary have shown a great willingness to explore every option for Scottish Youth Theatre and we’re very grateful for their time and efforts and their clear commitment to youth arts in Scotland."

The bail-out for SYT is a major embarrassment for Creative Scotland, which had defended its decision not to fund the company, saying it had lost out in a “competitive process” for regular funding with other youth arts organisations across Scotland.

It has already been forced to reprieve a number of theatre companies working with children and disabled performers following an earlier government intervention.

News of SYT’s impending closure, announced on 7 March, more than a month after Creative Scotland’s climb down to reinstate funding to five companies, sparked an outcry from leading actors and an intervention from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who told MSPs “all options” would be explored to try to keep the company running.

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: “We always welcome new funding from the Scottish Government for culture.
“We are also continuing our discussions with Scottish Youth Theatre regarding potential ways in which we can support their work in the future.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709038.1521550663!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709038.1521550663!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Artistic director Jacky Hardacre said the rescue deal for Scottish Youth Theatre would ensure young people had their own "thriving national theatre company."","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artistic director Jacky Hardacre said the rescue deal for Scottish Youth Theatre would ensure young people had their own "thriving national theatre company."","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709038.1521550663!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-preview-a-family-s-liberal-values-are-tested-by-a-charming-nazi-in-winter-solstice-1-4709682","id":"1.4709682","articleHeadline": "Theatre preview: A family’s liberal values are tested by a charming Nazi in Winter Solstice","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521625160000 ,"articleLead": "

A family gathers for Christmas, somewhere in Germany. They are a well-to-do liberal family, academic, enlightened, with a house full of books about the lessons of German history; but they are taken by surprise when the mother-in-law of the central character, Albert, arrives for the holidays bringing a new man-friend whom she has met on a train.Rudolph seems a charming fellow, elderly, distinguished, good at telling stories and playing the piano; but soon, from hints here and there, it begins to become clear that he is a Nazi, a man politely dedicated to a fiercely racist and backward-looking idea of the nation, and to an idea of community that is both intensely exclusive, and potentially murderous.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709681.1521625157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Beames as Rudolph and Marian McLoughlin as Corinna in the Actors Touring Company & Orange Tree Theatre production of Roland Schimmelpfennig's Winter Solstice, coming to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh from 21 - 24 March"} ,"articleBody": "

This is the scenario around which German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig builds his 2014 play Winter Solstice, the latest international success in a playwriting career which Schimmelpfennig, now 50, says has been becoming “more and more political” as he grows older. The acclaimed British premiere production of Winter Solstice is set to arrive in Edinburgh next week as part of a UK tour; and its theme is the one foreshadowed in British poet Michael Rosen’s famous verse about how fascism – that bogeyman of history – does not arrive in Nazi fancy dress, like a parade of monsters, but with a friendly face, promising to restore your pride, give you a job, clean up the neighbourhood, and put an end to corruption. Over a harsh and often hilarious two hours, Schimmelpfennig seeks to show how every member of his imagined family except Albert, the host, falls for Rudolph’s charm, and fails to see the danger he presents; and how even Albert is finally too polite, and too full of decent liberal self-doubt, to stand up to the man, and throw him out.

“There’s was always plenty of theatre going on in Göttingen, where I grew up,” says Schimmelpfennig, who now lives in Berlin, “and I always just loved it. I didn’t know whether it would be realistic to make a living in theatre, although I knew I wanted to do something with words; so at first I became a journalist. But that didn’t work; so I went to study theatre, in Munich, and began to write plays.”

At first, Schimmelpfennig trained to be a director, a trade he still plies occasionally; and he has also worked as a dramaturg, preparing other people’s texts for the stage. In the last 15 years, though, he has emerged one of the most acclaimed German playwrights of his generation; and although his earlier plays dwelt on more personal themes, he says that he increasingly feels a need to try to “hold a mirror up to society.” His play Golden Dragon, set in a restaurant kitchen staffed by illegal migrant workers, was seen at the Traverse during the Edinburgh Festival of 2011.

“Back around 2013, I really wanted to write a play about the growing influence of the far right in Europe,” says Schimmelpfennig, “although of course this was before the new far-right party the AfD really emerged in German politics, before Trump, and before Brexit, with all that that could mean. Plays often take strange ways of coming to life; and I had this old idea about Christmas in Auschwitz, and what it would be like to see someone like Eichmann celebrating in that place, that gradually grew and changed in my mind until it became this play, set at Christmas, in a middle-class German family today.”

Schimmelpfennig’s central concern, he says, is to ask why we in the West are often so hesitant to defend our democratic liberal values; yet he also feels there is no simple answer to the question, and that each character has a different weakness in the face of Rudolph’s charm offensive. He is clear, though, that he does not want to leave audiences feeling hopelessly depressed about the failures of the liberal West; and ATC’s associate director Alice Malin, who has directed this touring production based on Ramin Gray’s original 2017 staging, feels that the play’s impact is anything but downbeat.

“It is a bit Brechtian,” she says, of a play that involves characters speaking their own stage directions, and is set, in this production, in what looks like a rehearsal room. “But it’s also, in some ways, very like Alan Ayckbourn – sharp, funny middle-class comedy, with very relatable characters. Before we started work on this production, the cast and I did a lot of reading around the way people perceived Nazism in the 1930s – we read Hannah Arendt’s book about the banality of evil, Albert Speer’s autobiography, that kind of thing.

“But then you just dive into this fairly riotous comedy about a divided family, in which all the characters are an allegory for different broken parts of a nation state. It’s a very difficult play for actors to learn – its time-frame is always jump-cutting, it leaps around from narrative to dialogue to action. But once they get it, it’s a joy. And I think the real point is perhaps for audiences to identify with this central character, Albert, and to see where he fails; to realise that if you’re going to oppose this kind of ideology, then action and positivity are the way to do it.”

Schimmelpfennig agrees that the effect of the play should be invigorating rather than disempowering. “People should be amused, entertained and provoked by this play,” he says, “and I certainly don’t want to depress them. I see theatre as a sensuous and playful place, so I don’t write agitprop, I don’t want to instruct people. But you can try to give some kind of wake-up call; and my hope is that this play does that – and that it doesn’t come too late.”

Winter Solstice is at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, from 21-24 March, www.traverse.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709681.1521625157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709681.1521625157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Beames as Rudolph and Marian McLoughlin as Corinna in the Actors Touring Company & Orange Tree Theatre production of Roland Schimmelpfennig's Winter Solstice, coming to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh from 21 - 24 March","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Beames as Rudolph and Marian McLoughlin as Corinna in the Actors Touring Company & Orange Tree Theatre production of Roland Schimmelpfennig's Winter Solstice, coming to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh from 21 - 24 March","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709681.1521625157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arms-length-operator-plan-for-princes-street-gardens-put-on-hold-1-4709505","id":"1.4709505","articleHeadline": "Arms-length operator plan for Princes Street Gardens put on hold","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521573093776 ,"articleLead": "Plans to hand over control of part of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh to a new “arms-length company” when a new £25 million concert arena has been completed have been put on hold following the intervention of councillors.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709504.1521568907!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Councillors have halted plans for an arms-length operator to take over Edinburgh's West Princes St Gardens to allow the idea to be publicly debated."} ,"articleBody": "

A property developer’s bid to create a new operator to “manage” the historic park beneath Edinburgh Castle as a “pre-requisite” for helping to bankroll new concert facilities will now be subject to a full public consultation.

The Ross Development Trust, which was instigated by Apex Hotels founder Norman Springford to realise his vision of a new concert arena in the gardens, had previously put fundraising and design work on the project on hold until it reached agreement with the council on who would be running the new facilities and the wider garden.

However heritage bodies, environmental organisations, event organisers and community groups are all expected to now get a say on how the gardens should be run in future as a result of the plans for a “self-financing” operator of the gardens being put on ice.

The plans were put on hold after the Cockburn Association, the city’s long-running heritage body, said it was alarmed that plans for a new arms-length operator were drawn up without any input or involvement of “civic society.”

Director Terry Levinthal, who wrote to the council citing concerns about over-tourism and “commercialisation of open space,” told its culture committee: “West Princes Street Gardens is the heart of the City. It is crucial as an open space and formal gardens, and is as important to the international image of the city as Edinburgh Castle.

"Whilst the philanthropic gift is welcome and in the best tradition of the city, it cannot be used as justification for the erosion of public assets or public accountability.”

Councillors have demanded more time to scrutinise various options for the future management of the gardens, which date back to the 1820s, as well as a business plan for the new concert facilities, could be up and running as early as 2021.

"They have also insisted the gardens should be retained as a “common good” asset for the city and should remain “accessible and welcoming to everyone in the city in perpetuity.”

Council officials had recommended the creation of an arms-length operator similar to Edinburgh Leisure, which runs the city’s sports facilties, and Capital Theatres, which runs the Festival and King’s theatres. It would be responsible for deciding which events are staged in the gardens once the new facilities are open.

Donald Wilson, the council’s culture convener, said: “This will give us time to speak to speak to community community councils, heritage organisations and other interested groups. Everything we’re doing will guarantee access to West Princes Street Gardens. Yhat will not be diminished. We’re trying to work out the best way to do that.”

Speaking after the council’s decision, Mr Levinthal said: “This gives a chance for a proper engagement with the people of Edinburgh, allowing for discussion on the best vehicle to secure improvements.

“Whilst it may be reasonable for the Ross Development Trust council officials to hammer out draft purposes and objectives, it is not appropriate for such a significant change in management to be made with civic engagement.
“We will do what we can to help with this process.”

Green councillor Claire Miller said: “I am very pleased to have gained agreement for more detailed analysis of how we manage any philanthropic investment in Princes St Gardens and the Ross Bandstand.

“We are all aware of our responsibility for this world-renowned common good asset that we maintain on behalf of our citizens.

“It’s paramount that the future of the gardens, the bandstand, the fountain and the gardener’s cottage are all safeguarded for generations to come.”

David Ellis, managing director of the Ross Development Trust, said: “The report that went to the committee was really about us asking for the council to give us the confidence that we require in terms of restarting our fundraising and campaign the design work.

“We were looking for confidence that the council was prepared to look at a new way of managing the gardens. The method we came up with was agreed between the trust and the council as the best way to do that. A charitable body running a park is completely different than a private company, especially when it is a public space.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709504.1521568907!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709504.1521568907!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Councillors have halted plans for an arms-length operator to take over Edinburgh's West Princes St Gardens to allow the idea to be publicly debated.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Councillors have halted plans for an arms-length operator to take over Edinburgh's West Princes St Gardens to allow the idea to be publicly debated.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709504.1521568907!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/susan-dalgety-alex-salmond-is-a-footsoldier-for-evil-despot-putin-1-4708523","id":"1.4708523","articleHeadline": "Susan Dalgety: Alex Salmond is a footsoldier for evil despot Putin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521552755000 ,"articleLead": "

I met that Vladimir Putin once. In Edinburgh Castle of all places. He came to the city 15 years ago during his state visit to the UK and my then boss and First Minister, Jack McConnell, showed him round.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708522.1521552749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond has defended his decision to host a show on state-owned Russian TV channel, RT"} ,"articleBody": "

Putin seemed a perfectly normal bloke. Small and not very smiley, but he gave no sign that he was an evil despot, hell-bent on world domination.

In fact, during his speech in the Signet Library, he said the best way for the world to deal with threats such as organised crime, international terrorism and conflict was through solidarity between nations.

“We should adequately respond to this challenge and the most adequate mechanism to respond is solidarity,” he said.

“That can only be done by cooperation and trust.”

Excuse me while I choke on my toast and marmalade. Solidarity. Trust. Cooperation.

This is a man who doesn’t bemoan “fake news” on Twitter, but whose critics – like rival politician Boris Nemtsov and journalist Anna Politkovskaya – have a nasty habit of getting themselves murdered. A man who, it would appear, orders the assassination of his fellow Russians living in the UK, using deadly chemical weapons, because, well, because he can.

And a man who, with his oligarch friends, has systematically looted his country of its wealth, so that he is now, reputedly, one of the richest people in the world.

Oh, and don’t forget the small matter of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and the Brexit vote, and helping his pal Bashar Assad murder thousands of Syrian men, women and children in their beds.

Solidarity? Trust? Cooperation? Putin? Fifteen years is definitely a very long time in politics.

READ MORE: Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’

In 2003, Tony Blair was Prime Minister, and popular. Scottish independence wasn’t even a glint in Nicola Sturgeon’s eye. We were all proud of our maroon European passports, and Donald Trump had just embarked on his reality TV career.

Oh, and Alex Salmond, once seen as the Braveheart of the SNP, had abandoned Scotland and its new parliament and scurried back down to London where he seemed more at home.

Today, Mr Salmond seems equally at home in the studio of Putin’s propaganda TV station, Russia Today or RT as it has been re-branded.

Our former First Minister and ex-Tory turned SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh have a chat show on RT, where Mr Salmond, dressed in natty made-to-measure tweed, talks over his guests while preening himself in front of the Russian-sponsored cameras.

It clearly doesn’t bother him that his paymaster is one Vladimir Putin.

He has resisted calls from all sides – including his own – to cut his ties with RT following the attempted murder of Salisbury resident Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia by a Russian assassination squad.

RT is just the same as the BBC and Sky, he booms, convincing no one, not even himself.

And he seems even less convinced than Jeremy Corbyn that Putin was responsible for the Salisbury chemical weapon attack.

He is entitled to his view, I suppose. There are some people, apparently, who believe Skripal was attacked by British agents in an attempt to whip up anti-Russian feeling. Or that the Russian mafia was responsible.

I am sure there are even those who argue that it was the butler who did it.

READ MORE: Susan Dalgety: Is Scotland a pawn in Putin’s plots?

No, I don’t care what Salmond believes happened in Salisbury. But I do care that a former First Minister of Scotland is, proudly, in the pay of President Putin’s TV station.

Putin abandoned all pretence of solidary between nations years ago. He is a ruthless, immoral despot who will use any means at his disposal to make Russia great again.

He is, effectively, at war with the West.

And as a former KGB man, he knows better than anyone that propaganda is an effective weapon of mass destruction.

As long as Alex Salmond continues to appear on Russian telly, he is a foot-soldier in Putin’s battle with the UK.

Hardly the most fitting role for a former First Minister of Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Susan Dalgety"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708522.1521552749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708522.1521552749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Salmond has defended his decision to host a show on state-owned Russian TV channel, RT","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond has defended his decision to host a show on state-owned Russian TV channel, RT","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708522.1521552749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5752726847001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/album-reviews-the-fratellis-kim-wilde-creep-show-erasure-1-4709023","id":"1.4709023","articleHeadline": "Album reviews: The Fratellis | Kim Wilde | Creep Show | Erasure","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521549579000 ,"articleLead": "

The Fratellis still have an ear for a catchy anthem, but they add depth and sophistication to their fifth album

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709019.1521550486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Fratellis PIC: Nicky J Sims"} ,"articleBody": "

The Fratellis: In Your Own Sweet Time (Cooking Vinyl) ****

Kim Wilde: Here Come The Aliens (Wildeflower Records) ***

Creep Show: My Dynamite (Bella Union) ***

Erasure: World Beyond (Mute) ***

In commercial and cultural terms, The Fratellis made an instant splash in 2006 with their debut album, Costello Music, and its sundry jabbering anthems. The Glasgow trio have, to a degree, been treading water ever since. But creatively, it’s a different story, as told by the confidence and quality of their fifth album, In Your Own Sweet Time.

Frontman Jon Lawler has always written for fun – it’s what established The Fratellis as such an indie party soundtrack in the first place. He continues to shoot from the hip as a songwriter but there is greater sophistication at play on this outing, expertly captured in all its natural momentum by their right hand man, producer Tony Hoffer.

In Your Own Sweet Time steps away from the strutting and stomping to a less frenetic, more assured melodic craft which allows more breathing space for the ragged soul of Lawler’s vocals. But that ruthless commitment to catchiness is there from the first few seconds of Stand Up Tragedy, a punchy glam pop riposte to a bad news relationship.

Starcrossed Lovers is an unlikely marriage of reggae bassline, blithe guitar melodies, country yodel and a choral breakdown with heady strings, but what could have been a dog’s breakfast of a track is skilfully marshalled by Hoffer.

There are shades of Lawler’s short-lived side project, Codeine Velvet Club, in the elegant melodrama of Sugartown. Elsewhere, the band deploy acid funk guitars on Told You So, pair a fast, skiffly rhythm with a freewheeling pop tune on Laughing Gas, deliver a soaring power pop highlight in I’ve Been Blind and follow the rock’n’roll raga Advaita Shuffle with the ZZ Top-style distorted boogie I Guess, I Suppose, before dropping the pace but not the quality for the expansive psych pop trip I Am That.

They’ve ditched the instant kicks of their biggest hits but there’s much to feast on in their most satisfying album to date.

Pop star turned celebrity gardener turned pop star Kim Wilde is a much loved 80s icon who will have to call on that affection for appreciation of her first UK album in 25 years. Behind its schlocky sleeve, Here Come The Aliens offers an unremarkable mix of streamlined pop rock numbers such as Addicted To You and a handful of lighter-waving ballads, mostly co-written with brother Ricky (who duets with her on the Buggles-referencing Pop Don’t Stop) and niece Scarlett. The sultry rock ballad Rosetta and meaty glam stomp of Different Story just about survive their swathing in maximalist 80s production.

Creep Show is a new collaboration between the brilliantly acidic troubadour John Grant and electronica outfit Wrangler, featuring former Cabaret Voltaire frontman Stephen Mallinder. Their debut album Mr Dynamite demonstrates a clear lineage from the Sheffield electronica pioneers, as an analogue armoury of vintage drum machines and synthesizers is used to create cut-and-paste robot funk which draws on vintage hip-hop soundscapes and also recalls 80s electro wags The Art of Noise. Mallinder’s reedy tones are deliberately warped in the mix but Grant’s warm baritone croon is left as is, suffusing the electro playground with more conventional but gratifying vocal melody.

Just because they can and why not anyway, Erasure have re-recorded their most recent album World Be Gone with Brussels-based string ensemble Echo Collective, whose arrangements provide a sombre, sensitive and sometimes sensual backdrop to one of the duo’s more downbeat collections, while bringing the socio-politically inclined lyrics to the fore and enhancing the intimacy and vulnerability of Andy Bell’s vocal performance.


Beethoven: Music for Winds (Linn) *****

There is something unquestionably operatic about Beethoven’s Sextet in E flat major for wind instruments. The themes sigh, dance, laugh and bicker like colourful characters on the stage. Some performances miss the point, others simply take it for granted, but this one by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists is a showstopper, where the very stuff of theatre – its tensions and releases, its compelling narrative vitality and emotional nuances – is played out in scintillating musical terms. Take the wit and bounce of the bassoons, the languid teasing of the clarinets, or the poignant knowingness of the horns. All have biting relevance in this delightful opener to a treasure trove of Music for Winds by Beethoven. The ensemble playing throughout is a magical mix of homogeneity and individuality. When the oboes enter for the Octet in E flat, the sound world both brightens and thickens: another delicious and virtuosic musical adventure.

Ken Walton


John Surman: Invisible Threads (ECM) ****

The distinctively lyrical reed voice of saxophonist and clarinettist John Surman drifts effortlessly between his composed and improvised music in this collaboration with pianist Nelson Ayres and vibraphonist Rob Waring. From the instantly recognisable lilting of Surman’s soprano sax that opens At First Sight, the trio create a luscious sound world of contrasting timbres. Featuring almost entirely Surman’s compositions, the album’s vibe is often tranquil, though never lacking in cohesion, as in the quietude of Another Reflection, its hymn-like melody gradually elevating above gently chiming piano and vibes. Ayres’s whimsically strolling piano ushers the title track along, while his composition Summer Song leads the trio into a mercurial dance. The ringing of vibes and piano with sax murmurings open Concentric Circles like a tropical dawn chorus before their activity intensifies, all shimmers and darting phrasing. n

Jim Gilchrist

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709019.1521550486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709019.1521550486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Fratellis PIC: Nicky J Sims","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Fratellis PIC: Nicky J Sims","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709019.1521550486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-joan-baez-usher-hall-edinburgh-1-4708994","id":"1.4708994","articleHeadline": "Music review: Joan Baez, Usher Hall, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521548635000 ,"articleLead": "

The standing ovation from a packed Usher Hall wasn’t just for a sterling performance: it was heartfelt acknowledgment of six decades of rattling national and international consciences. The effortlessly floating quality that once characterised her upper register may have roughened slightly but, at 77, Joan Baez still challenges a fractured world with warmth and persuasive authority.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708993.1521548631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joan Baez: "an elegant torchbearer for human decency.""} ,"articleBody": "

An Evening with Joan Baez, Usher Hall, Edinburgh *****

Accompanied by her son, percussionist Gabe Harris, and multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, she combined recent repertoire with such seasoned favourites as the inevitable and warmly-received Dylan-era numbers – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, Farewell Angelina and Baez’s own lyrical reproach to the wayward bard, Diamonds and Rust.

From her latest album, Whistle Down the Wind, there was the Waits-Brennan title track, as well as Anohni’s Another World, lamenting current affairs Baez described with wry understatement as “a little tenuous”. Hope and defiance never lost out, though, with Dylan’s Times They are a-Changin’ preceding The President Sang Amazing Grace, Zoe Mulford’s response to the Charleston church shooting (with additional applause for the composer, who was present).

The racy Appalachian blast of Darlin’ Cory, driven by Powell’s banjo thrum, gained additional holler from vocalist Grace Stumberg, who also brought a suitably Joplin-esque feistiness, duetting in Me and Bobby McGee.

This may be Baez’s last formal tour but, as she left us with a muscularly a cappella Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, one suspected that, in these most troubled times, this wasn’t the last time we’ll hear from this elegant torchbearer for human decency.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708993.1521548631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708993.1521548631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Joan Baez: "an elegant torchbearer for human decency."","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joan Baez: "an elegant torchbearer for human decency."","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708993.1521548631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-the-rsno-thomas-s-ndergard-sunwook-kim-usher-hall-edinburgh-1-4708984","id":"1.4708984","articleHeadline": "Music review: The RSNO, Thomas Sndergrd & Sunwook Kim, Usher Hall, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521548283000 ,"articleLead": "

With the RSNO announcing its 2018-19 season – its first under incoming music director Thomas Søndergård – just days earlier, it was hard not to see Søndergård’s concert as something of a prelude to the main event next year. With that in mind, it looks like we’ve got plenty to look forward to.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708983.1521548278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Tom Finnie"} ,"articleBody": "

Music review: RSNO, Thomas Søndergård & Sunwook Kim, Usher Hall, Edinburgh ****

Such a rich programme – Brahms’s epic Second Piano Concerto, followed by Richard Strauss’s almost hour-long celebration of his own musical heroism, Ein Heldenleben – could have made for a rather dense, demanding evening. But Søndergård brought a brilliant clarity to both pieces, picking apart and balancing their textures expertly, driving them on with eager energy and conveying their moods and stories vividly. In his introduction, he spoke of his own memories of performing in Heldenleben as a nervous young percussionist, and his strong personal connection was evident. From the swaggering confidence of Strauss’s bounding heroic theme to the gleefully grotesque carpings of his critics, Søndergård delivered a bold, utterly committed account – this is clearly music that matters to him.

RSNO leader Maya Iwabuchi was wonderfully fluid and volatile in Strauss’s depiction of his wife Pauline, and it was another RSNO string principal – cellist Aleksei Kiseliov – who gave a voluptuous, velvety account of the solos that open and close the slow movement of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. South Korean pianist Sunwook Kim was forceful yet thoughtful as soloist, occasionally hammering his mighty chords from a great height, yet producing a gloriously rich sound as a result, and bringing a lyrical clarity to Brahms’s slower music. A captivating evening full of compelling performances.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Kettle"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708983.1521548278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708983.1521548278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Tom Finnie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Tom Finnie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708983.1521548278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-out-lines-summerhall-edinburgh-1-4708918","id":"1.4708918","articleHeadline": "Music review: Out Lines, Summerhall, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521545866000 ,"articleLead": "

Supergroups aren’t much in fashion these days, with bands formed from the merger of disparate individual talents more likely to occur - bands such as Out Lines, a collection of more low-key talents without huge egos. The irony here is that those involved in Out Lines are the kind of people who should be receiving widespread attention, particularly Scottish Album of the Year Award-winner 2015 Kathryn Joseph and James Graham, singer with Kilsyth’s vastly underrated post-rock group The Twilight Sad.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708917.1521545863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Out Lines, featuring Kathryn Joseph, James Graham and Marcus Mackay"} ,"articleBody": "

Out Lines, Summerhall, Edinburgh ****

First getting together as part of a project commission by the Platform arts centre in Easterhouse, Glasgow, the duo and producer-drummer Marcus Mackey recorded and released the album Conflats last year. Played in its entirety here, it’s a record which is by turns mournful and powerful, fusing the cold snap of Graham’s electronic production with the folksy warmth of Joseph’s harmonium on tracks such as Buried Guns and Our Beloved Dead. Their voices complement one another perfectly, each tinged with a certain regret, the otherworldly perfection of Joseph’s distinctive tone balancing the parts where Graham gets so emotional that his vocal threatens to crack.

After an unlikely but perfectly adapted take on Abba’s Lay All Your Love on Me (“It gets the loudest cheer of the night and we didn’t even write the f***in’ thing,” sighed Graham), the band took a moment to sign off on what might have been the final show they play together, the project in its current shape having come to an end. “Thank you for understanding what we were trying to do with the album,” said Graham before These Three Desire Lines. “If this is the last time we do this it’s been a pleasure.” It’s nice to think they’ll be back together somehow, although the next phases in their own careers are waiting for them.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Pollock"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708917.1521545863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708917.1521545863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Out Lines, featuring Kathryn Joseph, James Graham and Marcus Mackay","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Out Lines, featuring Kathryn Joseph, James Graham and Marcus Mackay","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708917.1521545863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-review-three-sisters-traverse-edinburgh-1-4708912","id":"1.4708912","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Three Sisters, Traverse, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521545498000 ,"articleLead": "

What is it all about, Chekhov’s great 1901 masterwork Three Sisters? Three grown-up sisters live in a provincial Russian town, where their father, a distinguished army general, has recently died. Olga is a schoolteacher, Masha is unhappily married to another teacher, the youngest, Irina, just 20, wants to work and have a useful life. All three long to return to Moscow but somehow it never happens; life gets in the way of their dreams, as the play muses on inevitable human failure and imperfection, on the surreal comedy of everyday life, on the absurdity and beauty of our dreams and on the occasional sheer cruelty of fate.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708911.1521545493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three Sisters"} ,"articleBody": "

Three Sisters, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh ****

It’s a play, in other words, that might have been made for the performers of Lung Ha, Scotland’s professional theatre company working with adults with learning difficulties. Its members experience a wide range of conditions, from Down’s syndrome to severe autism, sometimes with speech and mobility difficulties; yet every one of those key Chekhovian themes and obsessions emerges with terrific clarity, humour and emotional directness from this 80-minute version of Three Sisters written for them by Adrian Osmond.

On an attractive garden-room set by Karen Tennant, director Maria Oller marshals a cast of 20 performers – capturing the sense of a house full of servants and visitors – that nonetheless focuses tightly on the central trio of sisters, beautifully played by Emma McCaffrey, Nicola Tuxworth and Emma Clark.

Alongside them, Kenneth Ainslie is poignant and brilliantly humorous as their feeble brother Andrey, Teri Robb hilarious as Andrey’s increasingly dreadful wife Natasha, Michael Connolly and Scott Davidson impressive as Irina’s suitors and John Edgar truly touching as the baffled and drunken old doctor, Chebutykin. Add light-touch movement by Janis Claxton, and a beautiful folk-inflected score by Finnish composer Anna-Karin Korhonen – played and sung by herself and two fellow-artists from the show’s co-producing partner, the Sibelius Academy Helsinki – and the show emerges as a beautiful, brief glimpse of this great play that misses none of its emotional heart and soul.

And at the end, when the three sisters gather to gaze out at the departing soldiers, it’s hard to resist the intensity of human feeling generated by the show’s three main actors; performers who know in their very bones that life can be a painful daily struggle, full of dreams that may never come true, but is also rich and beautiful and unknowable, and worth living to the very end.

Now on tour to Perth Theatre, 23-24 March, and the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, 28 March

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708911.1521545493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708911.1521545493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Three Sisters","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three Sisters","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708911.1521545493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/aidan-smith-timesup-for-the-misogynistic-dinosaur-that-is-james-bond-1-4708711","id":"1.4708711","articleHeadline": "Aidan Smith: TimesUp for the misogynistic dinosaur that is James Bond","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521525600000 ,"articleLead": "

The revolution in social attitudes towards sexual harassment means James Bond is more out-dated than ever, writes Aidan Smith.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708710.1521490773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eva Green and Daniel Craig in 2006 Bond film Casino Royale"} ,"articleBody": "

When I was deemed old enough to go to the flicks without parental supervision, the first James Bond films were a few years old but still running as double-bills – one shilling and ninepence per pair – and at the end of the programme my pals and I would hide under the flea-pit’s seats out of range of the usherettes’ torches so we could thrill to the wham-bam all over again.

Did I see Ursula Andress emerge from the waves in Dr No twice in one Saturday afternoon or was it three times? Can’t remember. I certainly cracked the joke about her being “Ursula Undress” 50 times at least. But that wouldn’t happen now. For one thing, cinemas wouldn’t be so generous, and they’d have better checks in place to thwart stowaways. For another, Andress wouldn’t have to stand on the shore having been told the scene was all about conch shells and their intrinsic beauty when in fact the producers were after the most iconic bikini shot in movie history. And she certainly wouldn’t be obliged to swoon quite so speedily over an accent straight off the milk rounds of Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge.

The 25th outing for Bond is due next year and apparently there will be changes. Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director, insists this is inevitable in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp. “You write in real time,” explained Boyle who’s developing a script for the feature. “You acknowledge the legacy of the world [of Bond] … but you write in the modern world as well.”

READ MORE: Margaret Renkl: The raw power of saying #MeToo

How will he function in the modern world, this re-programmed Bond? Will we even recognise him from the previous 24 films when he was the oversexed undercover agent, overdoing the understatement? Will we still want him around?

Almost as soon as Harvey Weinstein’s dressing-gown fell open, and the first gruesome revelations of sexual coercion and assault in Hollywood spilled out, a debate was sparked about the future of Bond. Of course it was; he’s the movie character who will be left most confused and compromised by the crackdown on harassment of women which must be the revelations’ inevitable consequence.

To put it in words he might understand: “Come, come, Mr Bond, an attractive woman should be allowed to move around the workplace unmolested, even if that workplace is a sun-kissed beach. The wearing of a bikini on a sun-kissed beach is appropriate for the location and should not be regarded as a come-on.”

If you want to remind yourself of how randy, out of control and downright misogynistic Bond has been since his big-screen debut in 1962, check out the internet. YouTube whizzes have helpfully spliced together clips and I’m not talking about Double-O-Seven’s double entendres. He slaps a woman hard on the backside to remove her while he gets down to some “man talk”. He bursts in on a woman taking a bath and when she protests, asking that at least he hands her something to wear, shoes are offered. “There’s something I must get off your chest,” he says to another victim, removing the top half of her bikini to strangle her. In another scene, he forces himself onto Pussy Galore.

READ MORE: Sean Connery: the original James Bond

The effect is like watching Benny Hill, an X-rated version, for Bond always catches the girls he pursues. His gadgets are far superior to strategically positioned branches for the snaring of brassieres. He can throw a girl onto a bed, at the same time checking if there are any reds under the bed, and his conquest will always melt, not even being put off by his ghastly safari suit. You think: has the great existential suave bastard-hero been reduced to this? Are his encounters with women how we judge him and the films’ worth? Right now, they are.

Really, it’s remarkable he’s gone on so long. In 1958, when Bond creator Ian Fleming published Dr No, one review reckoned the character had the “sadism of a school bully, the mechanical, two-dimensional sex-longings of a frustrated adolescent and the crude snob-cravings of a suburban adult”. None of this put off the audiences, of course, and the 007 franchise rode out the various waves of feminism, surviving George Lazenby and Roger Moore’s ridiculously arched left eyebrow to arrive at Daniel Craig’s portrayal and the threat to Bond’s continued well-being posed by #MeToo.

What, is this more lethal for Bond than torture racks and flying steel bowlers and piranhas lurking under collapsing bridges? A grimmer fate than being served a martini prepared the wrong way round, stirred and not shaken? I think it is.

Concessions have been made to changing times and mores, but have they worked? As far back as 1995, Dame Judi Dench’s M was lambasting Bond as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur”. Then, in the Craig era, there were promises of a different kind of Bond girl, strong and independent. Older, too, but when the 50-year-old Monica Bellucci turned up, her character was hardly a break with the past, and wasn’t treated as such by the main man, who also wasn’t above seducing victims of sex trafficking.

All of which suggests that the Fettes College-educated bounder cannot be changed, otherwise he won’t be Bond anymore. I’m not sure even his fiercest critics would want to see a simpering, diversity-pleasing version in heavily starched underpants, possibly joining forces with the new female Doctor Who. It would just be too sad, even though right now in the world there are Russians requiring to be keenly watched.

The next time you’re offered a cyanide capsule, James, take it. I loved you in the one-and-ninepenny seats, but time’s up.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Aidan Smith"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708710.1521490773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708710.1521490773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Eva Green and Daniel Craig in 2006 Bond film Casino Royale","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eva Green and Daniel Craig in 2006 Bond film Casino Royale","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708710.1521490773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/ant-mcpartlin-steps-back-from-tv-work-following-drink-drive-arrest-1-4708586","id":"1.4708586","articleHeadline": "Ant McPartlin steps back from TV work following drink-drive arrest","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521480296000 ,"articleLead": "

Ant McPartlin is stepping down from his television commitments and will head back to rehab following his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving on Sunday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708585.1521480291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "McPartlin previously entered rehab last year after struggling with an addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Saturday Night Takeaway, which McPartlin hosts with presenting partner Declan Donnelly, will not air this weekend as scheduled.

McPartlin’s publicist said in a statement yesterday: “Ant has decided to go back into treatment and step down from his current TV commitments.

“He has spoken with Dec and ITV today and asked for time off for the foreseeable future. As such Saturday Night Takeaway will not be going ahead this Saturday.”

An ITV spokesman said: “ITV has taken a joint decision with Ant and Dec’s team not to broadcast Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend.

“We will be reviewing options for the last two episodes of the series (March 31 and April 7) which would not feature Ant, who is taking time off to seek treatment.

“We very much hope that he gets the help that he needs.”

McPartlin, 42, was involved in a collision with two other cars while he was driving his Mini in Richmond, west London, and was arrested at around 4pm on Sunday after failing a roadside breathalyser test.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said that he was “taken to a south London police station for questioning and has since been released under investigation” and that inquiries continue.

Police previously confirmed that a number of individuals were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and a child passenger from one of the cars was taken to hospital to be checked as a precaution.

It marked the latest in a string of personal setbacks for the star, who works as Ant and Dec with Donnelly.

McPartlin entered rehab last year after struggling with an addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

He returned to screens in November for I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and jokingly mentioned his rehab stint along with his TV partner.

In January, McPartlin confirmed that he and his wife Lisa were separating after 11 years of marriage. McPartlin, who married Armstrong in 2006, had often spoken of their struggle to have children.

At the National Television Awards a few days after the split, McPartlin referred to his “tough year” while picking up the presenting prize with Donnelly.

He then returned to work on the duo’s popular variety show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in late February, celebrating their 100th episode the following week.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LUCY MAPSTONE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708585.1521480291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708585.1521480291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "McPartlin previously entered rehab last year after struggling with an addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "McPartlin previously entered rehab last year after struggling with an addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708585.1521480291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-preview-all-change-for-scottish-opera-s-ariadne-auf-naxos-1-4708243","id":"1.4708243","articleHeadline": "Music preview: All change for Scottish Opera’s Ariadne auf Naxos","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521460977000 ,"articleLead": "

Hey, this is 2018 – why shouldn’t there be a bit of same-sex attraction?” Director and designer Antony McDonald is talking about his new production of Richard Strauss’s opera Ariadne auf Naxos, which opens in Glasgow next week. He’s referring in particular to what sounds like a subtle but significant shake-up of the opera, with a few sly changes to its traditional roles, one of which is the character of the Composer, who in McDonald’s production is a woman. It’s a gender reversal made all the more natural and logical by the fact that it’s conventionally a trouser role – a male part portrayed and sung by a female. “I really don’t think that nowadays the Composer needs to be a man,” McDonald explains. “We’re not making a big thing of it, but we’re referring to our Composer as ‘she’.” It’s a sex swap, however, that provides an entirely fresh perspective on the Composer’s brief liaison with the flirty chanteuse Zerbinetta.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708242.1521549574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jennifer France with director Antony McDonald in rehearsals for Scottish Opera's new production of Ariadne auf Naxos PIC: Richard Campbell"} ,"articleBody": "

But let’s backtrack a bit. Ariadne is, after all, hardly your average opera, with a far from straightforward storyline. Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hoffmansthal’s opulent creation is set in a historic country house, whose wealthy owner has commissioned both a serious opera and a frivolous, throwaway entertainment as his post-dinner, pre-fireworks shows. But with the meal running late, he demands that both should be performed simultaneously – with predictably aghast confusion from all the performers involved.

The opera’s pre-interval prologue is all about the hasty behind-the-scenes preparations, and the bickering and bitchiness between the high artists and the lowly entertainers. “We’re doing the prologue in English – we’ve commissioned a new translation,” explains McDonald. Why the change in language, only to revert to the original German after the interval? “There has to be an immediate connection with the audience here, it seems to me,” he explains. “It’s a bit like a farce, like Noises Off or something, and if the jokes are in German, the audience would be a beat behind.”

Strauss and von Hoffmansthal originally conceived their lower-ranking entertainers as a commedia dell’arte troupe, but that’s another area where McDonald has different ideas. “I find the whole commedia dell’arte thing a little bit weak and twee,” he explains, “so I wanted it to be more like an alternative cabaret, burlesque, something more edgy. Once you’ve got over this very crazy first half, there’s a much more serene second half of the Composer’s opera itself – the actual Ariadne auf Naxos – which is very serious and very profound, with weird interruptions from the cabaret troupe. It’s crucial that these worlds clash, really clash. That’s the whole pleasure of Ariadne, isn’t it?”

With his gender-swapping of the Composer, is there a sense that McDonald is making women the focus of his production? It’s a suggestion borne out by another change: the imperious Major-Domo, in the original, the mysterious country house owner’s high-handed fixer, also becomes a woman, played by eminent actor Eleanor Bron. “I wanted to gear that role more towards a woman,” McDonald explains, “so that role will become the Party Planner. Strauss wrote extraordinarily and with great insight for women, and there’s a lot from women’s perspectives in the opera, so I did want to gear the production more towards women – but without making a big feminist statement.”

Strauss’s second big theme in Ariadne, McDonald feels, is one that’s relevant to us all. “The other side to this opera is of course: who calls the tune? That’s a particularly contemporary issue – who pays for art, and if they pay, what can they demand?”

His setting – a grand country house hosting a summer opera stage, well known across Europe – remains largely faithful to the original. Do we ever get to see its enigmatic owner, the person calling the shots? “I designed Ariadne once before, at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and for that production we did actually see the owner, who looked a bit like Louis XIV. But I’m not doing that any more. I think ultimately the owner is us – and, of course, as taxpayers, we’re ultimately the people who are paying for it anyway.” n

Scottish Opera’s Ariadne auf Naxos is at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, on 22, 24 and 28 March, and at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, on 5 and 7 April, www.scottishopera.org.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Kettle"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708242.1521549574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708242.1521549574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jennifer France with director Antony McDonald in rehearsals for Scottish Opera's new production of Ariadne auf Naxos PIC: Richard Campbell","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jennifer France with director Antony McDonald in rehearsals for Scottish Opera's new production of Ariadne auf Naxos PIC: Richard Campbell","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708242.1521549574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-ferguson-70-million-investment-will-put-edinburgh-music-scene-on-centrestage-1-4707869","id":"1.4707869","articleHeadline": "Brian Ferguson: £70 million investment will put Edinburgh music scene on centrestage","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521450742000 ,"articleLead": "

It has become one of the traditional mad dashes of my year - from The Scotsman office to the launch of the Edinburgh International Festival’s programme.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708072.1521450738!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Usher Hall. Picture: Submitted"} ,"articleBody": "

Every year so far under director Fergus Linehan, the mass gathering of the EIF’s supporters, partners, donors and media contacts has grown bigger and buzzier.

Linehan is fast running out of venues, having pressed the The Hub, the Festival Theatre, the Usher Hall, the Assembly Hall on The Mound and, most recently, the McEwan Hall into action. The soirees have become a far cry from the somewhat stuffy affairs overseen by his predecessor Sir Jonathan Mills. This has been partly down to Linehan’s willingness to embrace pop, rock, folk and indie acts, as well cabaret artists normally associated with the Fringe. There was even more buzz than usual this year, with the shifting of the EIF programme embargo delayed until early evening ensuring few present knew what Linehan was going to speak about in advance.

Although there seemed plenty to satisfy the audiences who traditionally flock to theatre, classical music, opera and dance shows, it was the return of the EIF to Leith Theatre after 30 years and the line-up of Scottish music acts at the reborn venue which seemed to capture the imagination most. With Mogwai, Django Django, King Creosote, Anna Meredith, Lau, Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart, The Pastels and The Vaselines in the line-up so far - the full “Light on the Shore” line-up will not be released until May, it is little wonder the rest of the EIF programme was somewhat overshadowed. By coincidence, the Leith Theatre announcement also overshadowed two other pieces of significant news which will directly affect the EIF in future, but will have even greater ramifications for the city’s troubled year-round music scene.

There was the first look at £45 million plans for the city’s first purpose-built concert hall for a century. Curiously, given the New Town project’s high-profile, a public exhibition of the plans lasted around half a day, although they can still be viewed online, ahead of a summer planning application.

Even less fanfare accompanied the release of a crucial report into the future of West Princes Street Gardens and the £25 million arena expected to replace the Ross Bandstand by 2021. Although the language used was fairly impenetrable, even by the council’s standards, it was clear its officials are proposing to hand control of that part of the gardens to a new “self-financing” arms-length operator when the new Ross Pavilion and its hospitality facilities are complete.

Collectively, they could prove transformational over the next three years, but each throws up pressing questions. These include whether Leith Theatre, a long-neglected public asset, is worthy of the same support the Scottish and UK governments have given to the new St Andrew Square concert hall. What discussions are ongoing between the two charitable trusts behind the projects to ensure they do not end up locked in competition with each other? Where is the Ross Development Trust is going to find £25 million for its own project, what kind of events does it envisage holding on a daily basis and how practical is the winning bandstand design for concert operators.

However perhaps the most pressing question is whether the prospect of a new company “managing” the gardens will make it more difficult to secure planning permission for such a sensitive site.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4708072.1521450738!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4708072.1521450738!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh's Usher Hall. Picture: Submitted","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Usher Hall. Picture: Submitted","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4708072.1521450738!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/insight-the-impact-of-scottish-youth-theatre-s-funding-crisis-1-4707738","id":"1.4707738","articleHeadline": "Insight: The impact of Scottish Youth Theatre’s funding crisis","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521360034000 ,"articleLead": "

At Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) headquarters in Glasgow, Harriet Rafferty, 23, swooshes a jellyfish (an umbrella with plastic bag tentacles) through the air towards a small boat (the top of a flask with some pegs and a paper sail) bobbing along the sea (a blue sleeping bag).

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707737.1521360030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

This is Tentpole Theatre’s last day of rehearsals before they unveil their first ever production to an audience which they hope will include professionals from respected children’s companies such as Imaginate; but they manage to keep their nerves in check as they use mime and puppets to transform the small studio into a gusty seafront.

The three-strong company – Rafferty, Ross Somerville (fellow puppeteer and sound artist) and Anna Rattray (director) – have been able to put their 20-minute show together thanks to Making Space, a programme launched by SYT this year. Aimed at helping young theatre-makers test new ideas and collaborations or develop a work in progress, it provides rehearsal space, mentoring and feedback.

Rafferty has been involved with SYT since she started the weekly drama classes in Aberdeen at the age of 13. Back then, she was “riddled with anxiety”, but the classes built up her self-esteem. Now, a decade later, Making Space is helping her take the next step in her career.

“If SYT hadn’t kept encouraging me, I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to create my own children’s theatre company,” she says.

At present, Making Space is a pilot scheme; Tentpole Theatre is only the second company to have benefited from it. Given SYT’s current financial predicament, it may also be one of the last.

Ten days ago, the 41-year-old SYT announced it had a funding shortfall of £200,000 and would close at the end of July. The news came weeks after it was refused regular funding (as a Regularly Funded Organisation, or RFO) by Creative Scotland.

Last week, representatives from SYT met culture secretary Fiona Hyslop to discuss a potential rescue package. One proposal is that the organisation should be given national company status. That would put it on the same level as the likes of Scottish Opera and mean funding would come direct from the Scottish Government.

But if this fails and SYT has to close its doors, Making Space will disappear along with all its other initiatives: the weekly classes, the summer courses, the new National Ensemble and the Family Storytime Company.

The prospect of SYT’s demise galvanised supporters. No sooner had the company announced its decision than parents were raising a petition, with famous alumni – including Colin McCredie, Kate Dickie and Karen Gillan – extolling its virtues.

For many advocates, allowing the company to fold three months into the Scottish Government’s multi-million-pound Year of Young People 2018 would be a national embarrassment and proof of the country’s lack of cultural vision.

They see SYT’s plight as yet more evidence of incompetence at Creative Scotland, which has already admitted its decision-making process was flawed. Last month it did a U-turn restoring RFO funding to five companies – Birds of Paradise, Catherine Wheels, Dunedin Consort, Lung Ha and Visible Fictions – after an almighty backlash from the artistic community.

But there are others who question the assumption that SYT should automatically be bailed out. This is not the first time Creative Scotland has rejected the group’s funding application. The last time, in 2014, the Scottish Government stepped in along with private-sector backer, Clyde Blowers.

Insiders at Creative Scotland maintain SYT’s application was poor and that the company had not done enough to address issues raised with it in previous years.

Its fiercest critics say the organisation is behind the curve artistically – outclassed by groups like Junction 25 at the Tramway – and remains too expensive, with too little focus on making it accessible to those from deprived areas.

The actor Iain Robertson, for example, who was picked to star in Gillies MacKinnon’s film Small Faces at the age of 13, says he attended the free theatre group Toonspeak in north Glasgow in the early 1990s because the SYT was too expensive.

“When I was 11, I went for an audition for the summer course, but it was going to cost about £800. I was one of five siblings and if my parents had found the money for me they would have had to find it for my sisters too – it just wasn’t possible.”

Robertson eventually won a scholarship with the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London and paid his living costs by working professionally.

So what should happen to SYT? Would losing our only national youth theatre group demonstrate a profound lack of understanding of the role drama plays in the health and well-being of our young people? And if the company is bailed out by the Scottish Government should it be with the caveat that it commits to widening accessibility?

The desire to raise the aspirations of working class children was the driving force behind the establishment of the SYT back in 1977 – a time when few schools had drama departments. A teacher in the east end of Glasgow, Gareth Wardell set up committees and rolled out weekly classes all over the country. Later, SYT also established its summer festivals – six-week courses culminating in a stage production.

There is no doubt that for many of those involved, the experience was transformative. Last week, Graham McLaren, formerly associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland, said that without the values and standards given to him by the SYT, he would never have risen to his current position as director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

Kate Dickie, who played Lysa Arryn in Game Of Thrones and Jackie in Red Road, spent her teenage years in Newton Stewart near Dumfries. “It can feel like a pipe dream living in a small town and wanting to be an actor, but SYT just gave it a concrete feeling that I’m going to be determined that this is what I’m going to do,” she said.

In recent years, the remit of SYT has evolved. As more schools began to teach drama and more local groups started springing up, the weekly classes became less important and there was a shift towards helping young people move on to the next stage of their career.

“I think what we do is try to provide a step up for those who have succeeded in their regional youth theatres or colleges and are looking for that extra stretch,” says SYT chief executive Jacky Hardacre.

“We try to make sure the artists they work with are people who are already making professional theatre, and that helps them to learn, but also to establish links into the industry.”

Hardacre says that after Creative Scotland rejected its RFO application, it looked at both cutting costs and increasing income. But the money it needs represents a third of its running costs and – though Creative Scotland said it would be eligible to apply for Project Funding of up to £150,000 at a time – the gap had proved unbridgeable.

“I think, initially, we believed we could keep a skeleton staff and build again from there, but in the end we realised there wasn’t enough money to keep enough staff on to function. Obviously, it has taken a huge toll on morale,” she says.

Hardacre seems to accept there are ways in which SYT has fallen short. However, she insists the organisation has been moving in the right direction, with new projects designed to be more accessible. “The National Ensemble is our flagship project. It is in its second year and there is no fee to take part. We audition around Scotland and we don’t charge for auditions as some theatre companies do,” she says. Making Space and the Family Storytime Company are also free, with bursaries available to cover expenses. “The weekly classes and summer courses have a fee attached. We do offer some supported places , but not as many as we would like because we lack the resources.”

She points out that it is easier to raise money for eye-catching new projects (which will then be free) than to secure regular funding for ongoing ventures like the weekly classes. “It was our intention to relaunch a friends scheme we have had previously and make that specifically about asking for donations to have a bursary pot for people to apply to to access the rest of our programmes.”

Theatre critic for The Scotsman Joyce McMillan also accepts there may have been room for improvement, but says allowing the organisation to go under is not the answer.

“Saying that there are things wrong with the national youth theatre you have got isn’t really a reason for not having a Scotland-wide youth theatre,” she says. “If Creative Scotland was operating a proper traffic lights system like the one the Arts Council in England has produced they would be giving SYT an amber light and saying: ‘If you don’t address some of these issues in the next three years we will really have to look at your funding again.’”

Like many others, McMillan is also concerned about what the plight of SYT says about Creative Scotland’s wider decision-making processes and accountability.

“I think people are using this row as a distraction from the fact the funding round was a shambles,” she says. “Creative Scotland may or may not have got the decision right about SYT, but if they did, nobody knows how or why or on what basis. The handling of all the companies involved just beggars belief. There has been factual misreporting of people’s applications to the panels that made the decisions, and the criteria used and the reasons given to people have often directly contradicted their stated aims.”

Yet staff at Creative Scotland feel increasingly under pressure and hard done by. It is understood they are particularly aggrieved at the way the board caved in once faced with the backlash.

While accepting there were failures of communication – especially around the establishment of a new £2m touring fund – they believe its U-turn undermined their credibility and gave licence to any rejected company to fight back in the future.

The agency’s chief executive Janet Archer has already announced a review of the way funding decisions are reached and a “reset” of future priorities. Whether or not she resigns – and there are those who believe she should have gone already – most critics want a fundamental change. “I am not in favour of abolishing it or completely dismantling it and replacing it with something else, but I do think it needs a root and branch change of culture and approach,” says McMillan. “I think at the moment it is a profoundly confused organisation which has become extremely bad at its central function, which is handing out money to companies in a transparent and consistent way.”

As for the fate of Scottish Youth Theatre, that too hangs in the balance. Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said every option would be explored, but a series of tense meetings have not yet produced a settlement.

Robertson believes if a rescue package is forthcoming it should be with the proviso that SYT focuses on widening access to the deprived communities that might benefit most from involvement. “I would hate to see us lose SYT and I think there is a valid argument that it is already seen as the national youth company,” he says. “But I believe the Scottish Government has a genuine commitment to tackling the attainment gap and, if that’s the case, any public money SYT gets should be used to open it up to those from less advantaged backgrounds.”

In the short-term, those at SYT whose morale has been at rock-bottom have been buoyed by the level of support they have received. “It has been absolutely overwhelming. When you see how many people are commenting about their experiences , going back decades, you realise what a formative experience it is for people,” says Hardacre.

“The acting itself is just the tip of the iceberg : there’s the contribution to mental health, building social skills, employability skills. There are people in all walks of life who say ‘I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had not gone to SYT.’ Some of it reduces me to tears.”

Inside the rehearsal space at SYT headquarters, Tentpole Theatre is still fine-tuning its maritime-themed show. The jellyfish has ensnared the wee boat which is sinking to the bottom of the sea. The trio are so invested in their work, so excited about performing it in front of their first SYT-organised audience, it’s a shame to think the dreams of others like them might soon founder.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DANI GARAVELLI"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707737.1521360030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707737.1521360030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707737.1521360030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hearts/man-who-saved-hearts-writes-play-on-insanity-of-scottish-football-1-4707708","id":"1.4707708","articleHeadline": "Man who saved Hearts writes play on ‘insanity of Scottish football’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521352800000 ,"articleLead": "

When the observation is put to him that he is among the most influential people in Scottish football over the last 20 years, if not the most influential, Bryan Jackson coughs, splutters, then accepts the compliment with good grace.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Administrator Bryan Jackson giving updates on the financial situation at various football clubs has become a common sight. Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Put it this way, without his head for figures and ability to put the frighteners on supporters, this weekend’s fixture card would be robbed of some grand old names. The Scottish football landscape would likely look a lot different.

Heart of Midlothian v Partick Thistle would not be half as romantic-sounding because of the former’s demise. There might be no Motherwell, no Dundee, no Dunfermline. Clyde would be mourned like Third Lanark.

As a financial Red Adair, Jackson is a chief reason why all these clubs, and their fans, continue to harbour ambitions for the future after near-death experiences. An accountant, he does issue a reminder that in each case he was acting on behalf of creditors. But their interests were always best served by the continued existence of the club that owed the debt. Hence Jackson’s determination to keep them plugged into life support machines, despite encountering some bleak situations. Perhaps the direst, he says, was Hearts.

“There was £7,000 in the bank, £2 million of season ticket sales for a season that hadn’t started sold and the money all gone to pay prior debt,” recalls Jackson. “There was a month’s arrears of wages to players and non-players and no games because it was close season.”

As often happens, from misery has sprung art. Jackson, who is now a consultant at Johnston Carmichael, has taken advantage of his new semi-retired status to write a play based on his experiences in Scottish football, called The Pieman Cometh.

Despite Jackson’s links to Hearts, this is not a reference to Chris Robinson, the catering magnate who, during his time in charge of the Gorgie club, struck a deal to sell Tynecastle for housing. On day one of a job – he won’t say where – one colleague turned to Jackson, amid general financial ruin, and asked: “But what about the pies?” There was an ongoing pie supply issue.

“I said ‘listen, I don’t even know if we’ll be around in a few weeks!’” recalls Jackson. “So I was muddling along, forgetting about the pies. I then get an email from the same colleague that said: ‘the pie situation has come to a head’. And I thought: what a great title for a play.”

Written in conjunction with journalist David Belcher, who advised a slight re-working of the title, The Pieman Cometh begins a four-night run tonight at Oran Mor as part of the Glasgow International Comedy festival.

Jackson, 61, is keen to stress his play is dark comedy. It has to be when the subject involves him having to make people redundant.

“It’s about the insanity of Scottish football, good and bad,” he says. “Also I was trying to put out the message that it’s all very well I worked at seven clubs [including English club Portsmouth] and seven were saved. But people very quickly forget about the jobs that were lost, the creditors who did not get their dividend, and the knock-on effect for other jobs. People forget about the seriousness of it.”

Jobs were lost, regrettably, but clubs, and many people’s way of life, survived. It’s why Jackson merits being described as the most important man in Scottish football this millennium. “That’s a really nice thing to say,” he replies. “Quite frankly, I’ve never sat back and thought about it that way. I suppose, yes, I have been if I think about it, in some respects. These clubs are part of the establishment, part of society. I am delighted I got them over the line. I do feel part of Scottish football to an extent.”

Jackson never played professionally. However, he facilitated keeping the doors open at clubs so, he says, “other guys can go out and show their skills and keep the fans happy”. But that’s the thing. Supporters are not always happy, even following back-from-the-brink experiences. Fans quickly forget the pain and focus on success, to hang with the cost. “Dundee’s situation is a great example of fans’ aspirations,” he says. “How can they possibly be in debt again? The club was bought by fans because all the white knights had disappeared.

“The last four or five clubs I did were all bought by fans because no one else will buy clubs now, unless of course it is the wealthy people who want their toys, which ends up being the demise of the club when they get tired of it. When fans buy the club at least you know their agenda. When someone has never been involved with a club, what’s their agenda?”

Only Vladimir Romanov can answer that, wherever he is. “If I was being honest, I would say what he did was an absolute disgrace,” answers Jackson, who never met the former Hearts owner.

“He had no regard for the fact his actions nearly caused the extinction of a club with a heritage and nor did he care about the people there, the fans or the jobs or the players.”

The normally simple question – so what score do you look for first? – is a complicated one in Jackson’s case.

He grew up a Morton supporter because of his grandfather. When a friend signed for Celtic on an S-form he started to follow them. He still does, if he had to choose. However, his experiences over the last 20 years means he spreads his love around.

He looks out, in no particular order, for the results of Hearts, Dundee, Dunfermline, Clyde and Clydebank, the first club he ‘saved’ and who are now preparing for a return to senior football. If pressed, his deepest association is to Motherwell, where he stayed for two years. He would be happy to offer free consultation to Cowdenbeath, the latest Scottish club to fear the reaper’s scythe.

It’s particularly awkward when teams with whom he has forged a connection through adversity play each other, as often happens. Shortly after he started at Hearts, there was a benefit game v Dunfermline. He emerged into the directors’ box to be presented with a dilemma. On which side should he sit?

“I walked down the steps and sat on the steps in the middle,” he recalled. “Eventually I sat on the Dunfermline side since they were home team, and I was appointed there first!”

The Pieman Cometh: A Cautionary Football Tale is at Oran Mor in Glasgow, starting tonight for four nights to 21 March. Tickets from venue or 0844 8737353.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Administrator Bryan Jackson giving updates on the financial situation at various football clubs has become a common sight. Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Administrator Bryan Jackson giving updates on the financial situation at various football clubs has become a common sight. Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/interview-young-fathers-on-new-album-cocoa-sugar-1-4707526","id":"1.4707526","articleHeadline": "Interview: Young Fathers on new album Cocoa Sugar","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521290629000 ,"articleLead": "

For their new album Cocoa Sugar, Edinburgh band Young Fathers challenged themselves to leave their sonic comfort zone, writes Fiona Shepherd.

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Down in the bowels of Young Fathers HQ, there is a choice to be made – do we do the interview in chilly studio or sweaty lounge? Given that the Edinburgh trio have a self-confessed reputation for thoughtful dissent in the ranks, it’s probably just as well that Ally Massaquoi is running late, leaving Graham “G” Hastings to make an executive decision. Chilly studio it is – a makeshift place of creative clutter (a piano here, a violin there, piles of books all around) where the band members can think straight.

“We’ve always liked working in places that are not professional studios,” says Hastings, who is the band beatmaster, mixer and co-producer. “The madness and cabin fever that takes over, that’s part of the sound.”

Young Fathers rent their Leith basement studio and rehearsal lair from Out of the Blue, the Edinburgh arts charity who run the irrepressible Bongo Club where, once upon a time, three Edinburgh teenagers – Hastings from Drylaw, Massaquoi, originally from Liberia, and his Boroughmuir High classmate Kayus Bankole, of Nigerian descent – met at an under-18s hip-hop night and decided to form a band.

Fifteen years later, Young Fathers have evolved from their puppyish hip-pop roots into one of Scotland’s most outstanding bands, stirring electronica, gospel, R&B and rap into an intoxicating but unclassifiable sonic stew. Director Danny Boyle recognised their singularity, describing their music as the “heartbeat” of the T2 Trainspotting soundtrack. They are the only act to achieve what no one is (yet) calling the SAYM – winning both the Scottish Album of the Year Award for their 2013 EP Tape Two and the Mercury Prize for their full-length debut Dead.

“We have this weird confidence when we’re making music,” says Hastings. “We don’t really talk that much, we’ve always had this weird telepathic thing. We’re so honest with each other that sometimes when we speak to other people we forget that they don’t have that filter. For us, saying ‘can you change that, I don’t like it’ is like saying ‘can I have a cup of tea?’ We’re a band that probably should have split up over creative differences ten years ago but you batter through it, that’s what makes this band what it is.”

Their new album Cocoa Sugar – so titled because the music is bitter and sweet – was almost a deal breaker, involving a long, fevered gestation and a difficult birth, followed by proud parenting of its warped pop tunes and shapeshifting rhythms.

“We wanted to reject everything that we had built,” says Hastings. “We felt like we wanted to do something normal – knowing that we could never be normal. We’ve tried to be normal when we were younger but we were always too weird, we never fit in.

“With this album we gave ourselves a palette sonically and lyrically. But the hardest thing for us to do is to stick to one thing. That’s why we always say we are a pop band. Looking over 70 to 80 years of pop music and how varied it’s been, that’s what we mean when we say pop music.”

Massaquoi joins us, and the conversation turns to the band’s striking visuals, particularly the unsettling but beautiful sleeve designed for Cocoa Sugar by Tom Hingston, who has created work for such immaculate stylists as David Bowie and Grace Jones.

“The mouth’s weird, the eyes are a bit funny but it’s still aesthetically pleasing,” says Massaquoi of the cover image. “That’s the definition of the record and how we see the world. It’s an imperfect beauty.”

“We grew up watching three different music channels on cable, so eye beats ear every time, and that’s coming from musicians,” says Hastings. “You put up a flag to say ‘look over here’.”

“Music is the bread and butter but how you position yourself, how you come across, all that stuff really matters. You have to figure a way to navigate in that space,” says Massaquoi.

Young Fathers navigate with boldness and intelligence, whether encouraging debate around the title of their previous album White Men Are Black Men Too or responding, at the invitation of the National Portrait Gallery, to their exhibition on male image and identity with a short film of Bankole gatecrashing the gallery while Massaquoi’s narration questioned the lack of diversity in the portrait subjects. What was intended as a critique of privilege and elitism provoked a knee-jerk social media storm in a teacup accusing the band of being “anti-white”.

“The whole piece came about from general conversations about if you enter a gallery, do you feel part of it?” says Massaquoi. “You go in and there’s paintings of random white guys you dinnae ken. They’ve all come from money so I don’t know how an everyday person would fit into that. Where are the pictures of the firemen, the doctors, the nurses?

“If Graham had broken into the gallery in a pair of jogging bottoms, swaggering about, I think there would have been a completely different reaction. It’s very visceral, a black dude in front of white paintings. I came here when I was four-and-a-half, but because I’m black I can’t be Scottish?”

“It exposed a level of intolerance,” says Hastings. “The reaction felt extreme but that’s just scratching 
the surface of what’s there. Walking out on the streets of a multicultural city like Edinburgh, life’s going to become hard if you are hateful of everybody. We’ve never really seen ourselves as being political or pushing an agenda but us just singing the songs we sing or standing on stage together, it looks anti-establishment, even anarchist.”

Rather than shy away from the controversy, Young Fathers choose to engage and interrogate. “I prefer to know where I stand with somebody, I would rather have the conversation,” says Massaquoi, who took a series of screenshots of some of the more extreme abuse the band received. “I might do some art thing about it later,” he says.

That’s Young Fathers – always questioning, always creating. ■

Young Fathers play Barrowland, Glasgow on 24 March. Cocoa Sugar is out now on Ninja Tune.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707524.1521454485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707524.1521454485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "(L-R) 'G' Hastings, Kayus Bankole and Alloysious Massaquoi of Young Fathers perform onstage. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "(L-R) 'G' Hastings, Kayus Bankole and Alloysious Massaquoi of Young Fathers perform onstage. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707524.1521454485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707525.1521454487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707525.1521454487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kayus Bankole","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kayus Bankole","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707525.1521454487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews-spring-awakening-the-greatest-the-play-that-goes-wrong-1-4707168","id":"1.4707168","articleHeadline": "Theatre reviews: Spring Awakening | The Greatest | The Play That Goes Wrong","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521277200000 ,"articleLead": "

When Andrew Panton was appointed artistic director of the Dundee Rep Ensemble last year, he made it clear that he would combine the role with his continuing commitment to teaching music theatre at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow. And now, he brings those twin passions together in a truly outstanding Dundee-RCS co-production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s 2006 musical, which takes Frank Wedekind’s brilliantly radical play Spring Awakening, and gives it the kind of musical edge that Wedekind would have loved, making it real for a brand new generation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707166.1521218611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 17-strong cast give Spring Awakening its full value"} ,"articleBody": "

Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow ***** | Oran Mor, Glasgow **** | Festival Theatre, Edinburgh ***

Completed in 1891, when Wedekind was 27, Spring Awakening is a play about teenage sexuality so explosive that it was not performed at all until 1906, and rarely seen anywhere until after the Second World War. From pornography and masturbation to teenage pregnancy, abortion, homosexuality, sexual and physical abuse in the family, extreme academic pressure and the threat of suicide, there is hardly a painful issue in teenage life, then or now, that does not feature in Wedekind’s drama; and yet his central characters – young rebel Melchior, his love Wendla, and his troubled best friend Moritz – are so strong and well-realised that the drama is also immensely gripping as a simple human story of young people up against it, in a brutal and uncaring system.

Sheik and Sater’s musical version is almost entirely faithful to Wedekind’s narrative, piecing it out with passionate songs and choruses, from ballads to raw melodic metal, that only add to its strange piercing power; and in a beautifully-staged production – with a fine, flexible gym-hall set by Kenneth MacLeod, backed by a seven-piece student band – Andrew Panton and his 17-strong cast give every moment of the drama its full value, passionate, erotic, comic and tragic. And although the fierce sexual repression portrayed by Wedekind is long gone in most parts of the west, there is still something searingly familiar in the young people’s desperate rebellion against an adult world that has failed them; not least in the week when a generation of American school kids walked out of their classrooms, to protest that adults have failed in their basic duty to protect their lives, and that now, they must act for themselves.

If our society still often fails its youngsters, it sometimes treats those at the end of life no better; and journalist Alan Muir’s debut Play, Pie And Pint show spins out a strong, humorous and compassionate if slightly couthy tale of old Jimmy, serving out his last years in a Glasgow care home. Still sharp as a tack, Jimmy is nonetheless not widely believed – even by his friendly care worker – when he tells the tale of how, as a young boxer, he once sparred with Mohammed Ali in Giffnock, and actually knocked The Greatest off his feet.

There’s a subtle change in Jimmy’s life, though, when a teenage girl called Orwell wanders into his room and starts to take an interest in his stories. In the end, it turns out that it’s all true, as Muir uses Jimmy’s story to resurrect a forgotten piece of Scottish sporting history, involving Ali’s brief appearance at Paisley Ice Rink in 1965. And with William McBain and Rebekah Lumsden acting up a storm as Jimmy and Orwell, we’re even inclined – after 50 minutes of good laughs and quiet observation – to forgive the show the cheesy but delightful theatrical twist Muir can’t resist putting in its tail.

The Greatest is packing them in downstairs at Oran Mor; but if you want to see really big crowds in Scottish theatre this week, try the 1,900-seat Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, where Mischief Theatre’s 2012 hit The Play That Goes Wrong – in which an amateur theatre company try to stage an Agatha-Christie-type thriller, and the set falls apart so spectacularly that the show descends into chaos – has just become one of the most successful non-musical shows ever staged there.

It would be possible, of course, to write a depressed paragraph or three about this phenomenon, and how, for 21st century audiences, theatre is now apparently at its most entertaining when reduced to an over-extended retro joke about itself. Instead, though, I’ll just say that the show is performed with great skill and good humour by a brilliant young company; and – to paraphrase Muriel Spark – that for those who like this kind of thing, this is definitely a show they not only like, but absolutely adore.


Spring Awakening at Dundee Rep, 22-24 March. The Greatest and The Play That Goes Wrong, final performances today.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707166.1521218611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707166.1521218611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The 17-strong cast give Spring Awakening its full value","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 17-strong cast give Spring Awakening its full value","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707166.1521218611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707167.1521218615!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707167.1521218615!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "From Oran Mor's Lunchtime Theatre: ''This week's play is The Greatest by Alan Muir and Directed by Ron Bain.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "From Oran Mor's Lunchtime Theatre: ''This week's play is The Greatest by Alan Muir and Directed by Ron Bain.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707167.1521218615!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-at-the-drive-in-1-4707155","id":"1.4707155","articleHeadline": "Music review: At the Drive In","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521277200000 ,"articleLead": "

Cult Texan punk troupe At the Drive-In first erupted out of the border town of El Paso in the late 1990s, bringing a riot of rage, taut energy and a succession of relentlessly gymnastic stage shows to what had become a fairly comfortable alternative rock scene. They made it as far as Later With Jools Holland, laying waste to the studio while Robbie Williams looked on like a man thoroughly upstaged, before splitting up just as their star was ascending.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707154.1521218571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mandatory Credit: Photo by Roberto Finizio/REX/Shutterstock (9435415d)'At The Drive In'At The Drive In in concert at Alcatraz, Milan, Italy - 22 Feb 2018"} ,"articleBody": "

O2 Academy, Glasgow ****

Since then, no band has quite filled the void they left, so there was nothing for it but to reform, older but only marginally less athletic. Frontman Cedric Bixler may no longer leap from speaker stacks but mic leads were there to be whipped and bass drums to bounce off as his compadres harnessed the incendiary blast of punk, the groove of garage rock and molten metallic riffs with an MC5-like testifying fervour.

From the first shake of Bixler’s maracas, it was clear they meant business, teasing with the snake-hipped calm before the explosion of lithe, lightning drumming and gothic guitar on Arcarsenal. But they also unleashed a delicious frisson in their slower, slinkier moments, foregrounding more of Bixler’s range from a Latin croon to a soaring rock god wail.

They came bearing new material but inevitably the audience pounced on old favourites such as their oblique homesick note One Armed Scissor, power punk ballad Napoleon Solo and Invalid Litter Dept, raging against the epidemic of abductions and murders of women working in the maquiladoras just across the US/Mexico border in Juarez.

Enfilade was a jammed-out highlight with flinty funk bass, wah-wah feedback and more expansive, textured, proggy passages, demonstrating that not everything has to be a short, sharp shock for this grown-up progressive punk band.

There was sterling and quite bonkers support from Mexican trio Le Butcherettes, whose rock solid rhythm section anchored the set leaving their brilliant, demented frontwoman Teri Gender Bender free to indulge in art punk theatrics, rock operatic vocals and idosyncratic dance moves, stabbing at her keyboard, wrangling her guitar, howling off mic and giving it her all.

Toronto two-piece Death From Above 1979, though in the tradition of power duos who pack the punch of a seven nation army, with chunky metal riffola and vocals on the edge of a nervous breakdown, could only sound pretty standard in comparison.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707154.1521218571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707154.1521218571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mandatory Credit: Photo by Roberto Finizio/REX/Shutterstock (9435415d)'At The Drive In'At The Drive In in concert at Alcatraz, Milan, Italy - 22 Feb 2018","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mandatory Credit: Photo by Roberto Finizio/REX/Shutterstock (9435415d)'At The Drive In'At The Drive In in concert at Alcatraz, Milan, Italy - 22 Feb 2018","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707154.1521218571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-superorganism-cca-glasgow-1-4707159","id":"1.4707159","articleHeadline": "Music review: Superorganism, CCA, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521277200000 ,"articleLead": "

God help us if there’s a war. Unless there is a possibility of weaponising Superorganism’s happy pills. This motley collective, comprising members from the US, South Korea, Japan and the Antipodes, all live and record together in their East London HQ like some sort of psychedelic cult taking their message to the streets and stages like a tambourine-wielding, robot dancing, glitter face-painted Greek chorus.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707158.1521455583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Teenage vocalist Orono Noguchi didn't seem ready for a Glasgow audience"} ,"articleBody": "

CCA, Glasgow ***

The older founder members have adopted teenage vocalist Orono Noguchi, a petite presence in 3D glasses, who swigged gamely from a bottle of Diet Irn Bru but seemed otherwise unprepared for the friendly fire coming her way from a Glasgow audience.

Her wide-eyed naivety extended to the overall sound, a fun but flimsy collage of indie pop, funky beats and sundry samples, including arcade game sound effects, shot through with a wistful streak in the spirit of The Flaming Lips, The Polyphonic Spree and other addled pop practitioners with more developed songwriting abilities. The cute and catchy Everybody Wants To Be Famous and the indie mantra Something For Your Mind are the standout hooks for now.

But if the patchwork sounds weren’t quite enough to seduce, there was a secondary assault on the senses with all the acid bright colours and auto-suggestive visuals of space travel and aquatic life.

By the end of their brief set, Noguchi had switched to the full fat version of our other national drink, and band and audience were at one with whatever it was they were at one with.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707158.1521455583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707158.1521455583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Teenage vocalist Orono Noguchi didn't seem ready for a Glasgow audience","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Teenage vocalist Orono Noguchi didn't seem ready for a Glasgow audience","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707158.1521455583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kevin-buckle-oi-leith-stopping-hogging-all-the-headlines-1-4707130","id":"1.4707130","articleHeadline": "Kevin Buckle: Oi, Leith! Stopping hogging all the headlines","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521270000000 ,"articleLead": "

Barely a day goes by that Leith isn’t in the news whether it be good news over Leith Theatre or bad news with the proposed closure of Leith Depot or the cancellation of the pop-up arts festival LeithLate.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707128.1521216790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leith Theatre was packed for a Hidden Doors show last year"} ,"articleBody": "

In particular what have seemed like almost daily announcements about Leith Theatre, the latest being the Edinburgh International Festival plans, have left other areas of Edinburgh wondering if they have been forgotten.

Leith Theatre is only a piece of the jigsaw when it comes to improving what Edinburgh has to offer gig-wise though for reasons that aren’t often stated it is a vital piece.

What is important about the gigs that hopefully will take place once the theatre is fully functional is that they will involve bands that people actually want to see. Arguments that Edinburgh has a thriving underground scene may be true but what is needed is something a little more popular.

Of course these are two ends of the scale and there is much need to improve the middle ground too. Certainly the return of Leith Theatre as a venue will be a great boost to Edinburgh but it mustn’t be the only focus both in terms of size of venue and location.

READ MORE: Kevin Buckle: A one-stop-shop for all Scottish music

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707128.1521216790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707128.1521216790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Leith Theatre was packed for a Hidden Doors show last year","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leith Theatre was packed for a Hidden Doors show last year","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707128.1521216790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/jane-bradley-here-s-why-free-music-tuition-for-kids-is-so-important-1-4707321","id":"1.4707321","articleHeadline": "Jane Bradley: Here’s why free music tuition for kids is so important","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521266400000 ,"articleLead": "

Council cuts threaten to rob children of the chance to learn to play an instrument, warns Jane Bradley.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707320.1521225470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Children perform with the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling (Picture: John Devlin)"} ,"articleBody": "

When I was nine, I was summoned into the school hall and made to sing back a variety of notes played by a lady sitting at the piano.

It turned out I must have done it pretty well, as a week later, I was handed a small-person-size violin and told to attend class-time lessons with the lady, a legendary teacher who dedicated her life to inspiring generations of children from what was not exactly an economically thriving area.

Three years later, while temporarily at school in Canada, I was presented with a different form of free music tutition. Everyone in my music class – part of the weekly eighth grade timetable at my state high school – was handed a wind instrument and told to learn from scratch from a book. It created what was essentially a class band in every class. While this perhaps wasn’t the most effective way to create skilled musicians – and probably gave my mum the heebie jeebies when I brought home a flute which was shared with students in four other classes, being dunked in a bucket of disinfectant between owners – it gave me a chance to try out another instrument. Once back in the UK, I convinced the visiting council woodwind teacher to let me join in a group class and learned to play properly.

Both instruments opened up a world of music to me, which lasted for years. Orchestras, bands, a weekly choir run by my violin teacher. A residential music camp which I was lucky enough to attend as a teenager, which introduced me to a group of fellow musicians, many of whom I still count as good friends today. I even had the chance to play a flute solo in front of an audience at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Now, after a gap of 15 years or so, as real life took over, I’m finally picking up music again and watching as my daughter starts to show an interest in learning an instrument. Without the free school music tuition I was lucky enough to get, none of this would have happened.

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: Music of hope falling silent because of SNP cuts

It wasn’t even just the money. We weren’t exactly rich, but my parents could probably have afforded the odd extra curricular lesson for me. It was the fact that, not being musicians themselves in any way, shape or form, it probably would never have occurred to them to suggest that I learned an instrument if free school music lessons hadn’t have been on offer. We were not a musical family. At least one of my parents is completely tone deaf. It turned out through some quirk of genetics that I wasn’t, but we might never have found that out.

Two years ago, a study by the Instrumental Music Teachers’ Network warned that there were nine Scottish councils which had already identified budget cuts for music tuition. It said at the time that the biggest cut was being made in West Lothian, which this week took plans to council committee to axe all strings and percussion tuition in the council’s schools.

Under plans discussed by the committee earlier this week, which will be taken to full council on Tuesday, no child in the region will learn the violin, cello or viola. let alone drums, in the West Lothian council area. What’s more, the Bathgate Academy string ensemble, Linlithgow Academy string orchestra and junior strings, St Kentigern’s folk/string group, West Lothian Sinfonia and West Lothian Folk Group will all be disbanded. The council claims the move is necessary to preserve free tuition in brass, woodwind and piping. Parents and music teachers are fighting the decision tooth and nail, with the support of local politicians, who warn that the move is a major mistake. West Lothian MP Hannah Bardell, who herself benefited from brass tuition while at school in the local authority two decades ago, tells me that learning an instrument brought her “huge benefits and confidence”.

“The social, physical and mental health benefits to young folk are easy to calculate,” she says. “The Save Our Strings campaign has gathered huge support from across the music industry and the local community. I hope the council leadership are listening carefully and reconsider their plans, which will have a disastrous impact on the young people of West Lothian if they go ahead.”

READ MORE: Big Noise children’s orchestra gets top inspection report

There is no doubt that there is a public appetite for children to learn music. In Edinburgh last year, proposals to carve up the renowned City of Edinburgh Music School at Flora Stevenson and Broughton High schools in a bid to save £383,000 were reversed after a backlash which garnered support from the likes of Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson, Celtic fusion star Martyn Bennett and jazz musician Tommy Smith.

Yet, what is happening is West Lothian is arguably even more dramatic. While cuts to the City of Edinburgh Music School would have shaken up tuition for children who are already deemed to be talented – and are at an advanced level of their music attainment – if the cuts in West Lothian go through, it would not see any string players or percussionists even get close to reaching that stage.

Furthermore, as projects such as the Venezuelan-inspired El Sistema in various parts of Scotland has shown, music can have huge benefits for disadvantaged children. In Rapploch in Stirling, where a similar project called Big Noise has run for nine years, inspectors last year found that it increased children’s self-esteem, confidence and team work. Music tuition is not simply about the music.

It is about the world of opportunities which are opened up to youngsters. Let’s not throw it away.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707320.1521225470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707320.1521225470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Children perform with the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling (Picture: John Devlin)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Children perform with the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling (Picture: John Devlin)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707320.1521225470!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}