Artists demand greater say from Scottish Government after Creative Scotland cuts

An open letter protesting against Creative Scotland’s stewardship of the arts has demanded the Scottish Government gives artists and organisations more of a say in how key funding decisions are taken - due to “deep misgivings” over the quango.
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Jo Hartley stars in Sky One's Bliss, Wednesdays at 10pm. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown, thanks to The Castle Cinema, Hackney 
Hair and Make up by Charlotte Yeomans

Interview: Jo Hartley

The actor tells @JanetChristie2 how she followed the yellow brick road from This is England to bigamy comedy drama Bliss

The Last Bordello plays with layers of performance and reality

Theatre review: The Last Bordello | Pressure | It’s Behind You

First, a health warning; do not go anywhere near this latest show from David Leddy and Fire Exit if you do not like blisteringly frank sexual language, plenty of partial nudity, a hint of outright blasphemy, and shows that play with layers of performance and reality until the audience has no idea which end is up.

Mark Thomas gives a voice to performers who might otherwise be voiceless

Comedy review: Mark Thomas: Showtime from the Frontline

Mark Thomas has always been sceptical of comedy workshops. But by sharing the spotlight here, he gives a voice to performers who might otherwise be voiceless. In his 33 years as a comic, Thomas’ stand-up has increasingly shifted from the conventional one-man-and-a-mic approach to a more inclusive, communal form of folk theatre. And so it is that his latest show, about establishing a comedy club in the West Bank city of Jenin’s refugee camp, finds him onstage with Palestinian performers Alaa Shehada and Faisal Abualheja, as they recount and clownishly act out their tales and those of their coursemates who cannot leave the occupied territory.

Gemma Dobson and Taj Atwal deliver impressive performances as Rita and Sue. Picture: The Other Richard

Theatre review: Rita, Sue And Bob Too

Brief, hilarious, angry, and blazing with honesty, Andrea Dunbar’s Rita, Sue And Bob Too bursts onto the stage of the Citizens’ like a play from the past that is somehow more contemporary than most plays written today. As in Alan Clarke’s much-loved 1987 film, the story of the 80-minute play – first seen in London in 1982 – is simple; a married man in his late 20s starts a back-seat affair with his two teenage babysitters, aged just 15, one night when he is driving them home to the run-down Bradford housing estate where they live.

Leith Theatre was reopened last year for the Hidden Door Festival nearly 30 years after its last event.

Capital's £10m spending spree on cultural venues

Three signature projects are set to share in a £10 million boost for Edinburgh’s cultural infrastructure.

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Mark Thomas with Faisal Abu Alhayjaa and Alaa Shehada

Interview: comedian Mark Thomas on Showtime From the Frontline, his new show about teaching stand-up in the West Bank

“I remember someone saying ‘if you hear any gunfire, more than likely it’s a celebration of something. But as a rule of thumb, don’t go towards it,’” chuckles Mark Thomas, recalling his first visit to the West Bank.

James Atherton (Bob), Taj Atwal (Rita), Gemma Dobson (Sue) PIC: Richard Davenport

Theatre preview: Joyce McMillan on the new production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too coming to the Citz

Say the phrase Rita, Sue and Bob Too to anyone in Britain over 40, and they’re likely to think of Alan Clarke’s 1987 film, a wild working-class romp set on a Bradford housing estate in which two teenage babysitters are drawn into a back-seat sexual affair with married man Bob, who lives in a slightly posher part of town.

Robbie Gordon, Martin Donaghy, Manuel Ortega and Josh Whitelaw play the four Prestonpans miners who went to fight in the International Brigade in Sapin

Theatre review: 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War

THE title is 549, in memory of all the Scots who volunteered to join the anti-fascist International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s; but in truth, this new show from the Glasgow-based Wonder Fools company is really about four – a small group of miners from Prestonpans who, led by passionate socialist campaigner George Watters, left East Lothian in 1936 to make the historic journey to Spain.

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Alison O'Donnell is back in Shetland on BBC 1.  Picture Robert Perry

Interview: Alison O’Donnell

There’s always been a nod to Nordic Noir about Shetland, BBC Scotland’s hit crime series. There are the long dark winter nights, endless summer days and a body count that you’d think would scare off the tourists, but actually has them flocking in droves. But in season four, kicking off this week, the Norse influence is even greater with a plot twist that sees the Shetland constabulary following a lead to Bergen.

Funding cuts for five announced by Creative Scotland Janet Archer last month have been overturned by its board.

Creative Scotland forced into funding review after climbing down over cuts

Arts quango Creative Scotland is to overhaul the way it provides long-term funding after caving in to demands to reverse cuts to five companies.
Edinburgh, Fife & Lothians 14
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop was forced to intervene within days of Creative Scotland announcing its funding cuts.

Analysis: Creative Scotland's funding cuts post-mortem will be 'long and painful'

It is less than two weeks since Creative Scotland made its long-awaited announcement on who would be guaranteed its support for the next three years.
Jessica Hardwick and Michael Moreland star in Knives in Hens

Theatre reviews: Knives in Hens | The Match Box | Company

In a village where people live by tradition, a young woman is restless. She’s not unhappy in her marriage to the local ploughman, Pony William; yet she has this strange need to be always naming and describing things – the look of a tree as the wind shivers through it, or the difference between a muddy puddle and a clear one that reflects the sky. And when she sees the much-hated local miller writing down his thoughts in a book, she reacts first with fury, then with growing fascination; she begins to see how words can both create and destroy, and to find her own voice.

Birds of Paradise show The Tin Soldier

Joyce McMillan: Creative Scotland’s decision to axe funding defies logic

Creative Scotland’s decision to axe funding for seven leading touring theatre companies defies logic, and its failure to explain its reasoning beggars belief, writes Joyce McMillan.

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Christine Kydd, along with Ewan McVicar and Seylan Baxter, sang the story of The Gallant 16

Theatre review: The Gallant 16 | Twine It Well

CELTIC Connections is an event that’s both intensely 
theatrical and not much involved with spoken-word theatre; but at the Tron on Thursday night, the festival staged two shows with strong elements of narrative, weaving songs into a fabric of history and reflection.

Bill Forsyth and David Greig in The Lyceum Theatre. Picture: Mihaela Bodovic

Bill Forsyth and Mark Knopfler reunite for new Local Hero musical

The popular Scottish film Local Hero is to be turned into a stage musical which will reunite its director Bill Forsyth and soundtrack composer Mark Knopfler after more than 35 years.

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Gregory Houben  and Agnes Limbos are a couple who represent western civilisation at its most fragile and aggressive

Theatre review: Manipulate 2018

ANXIETY was the word, in the first half of this week’s Manipulate Festival at the Traverse Theatre: from anxiety about the whole course of western civilisation, to the blue funk of a fearful and compulsive woman in a supermarket, terrified of objects which are not red.

John Byrne is one of 150 theatre workers to call for a reprieve for children's company Catherine Wheels.

John Byrne joins campaign to save children's theatre company

Playwrights John Byrne and David Harrower are among 150 members of the Scottish theatre community to demand a rethink over a controversial funding cut for a leading producer of work for children.

Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer said the emergency board meeting would "take stock" of the responses to last week's funding announcement.

Creative Scotland forced into emergency talks to 'review' funding cuts

Under-fire arts quango Creative Scotland has been forced to hold crisis talks to "review" controversial funding cuts.
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Lucianne McEvoy and Scarlett Mack in Bold Girls at the Citizens' Theatre

Theatre reviews: Bold Girls at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow | Just Start Here at 26 Civic Street, Glasgow

Helicopters circle above, conjured up by swirling spotlights over a darkened Citizens’ auditorium; and then we are down to earth in Marie’s kitchen, where something like normal life goes on, despite occasional sounds of explosions and gunfire from the streets outside. This is West Belfast in the late 1980s, the scene of Rona Munro’s acclaimed 1990 play Bold Girls; and 20 years into the Troubles, with a decade still to go, Munro’s three central characters – middle-aged Nora, her good-time-girl daughter Cassie, and young widowed mother Marie, who lives across the road – have not only learned to live with armoured vehicles full of British soldiers on the streets, but have come to find some aspects of the situation hilariously funny.

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