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Events Music News Projects

Just Start Here Arrives in Dumfries with National Theatre of Scotland

Just Start Here, the National Theatre of Scotland’s pop-up festival of Scottish artists and collaborative performance, returns for its third year in 2020. Taking place in Dumfries on 28 and 29 February, the festival will be presented in collaboration with high street venue and pioneering artistic community organisation The Stove Network.
The two-day festival will feature contributions and new work-in-progress theatre and performance from Dumfries-based Scottish talent, along with live music, discussions, food and drink, and creative happenings throughout the town.
Micro-festival Behavin’? will take over the streets of Dumfries, with artistic happenings in locations throughout the centre and beyond to invite audiences to peer beneath the belly of the town and experience a new kind of experiment with public space.
As well as pop-up performance out on the high street, Just Start Here will take over three spaces in the town: disused shop-front turned gallery space The Oven, local social and working men’s club The Railway Club, and Stove Network HQ The Stove. There will be pop-up performances of Lone Wolves, a new project from artist Katherina Radeva of multi-award-winning theatre company Two Destination Language, as well as a new solo work from award-winning choreographer and performer Mele Broomes. Dumfriesshire-based musician Stuart Macpherson, filmmaker Emma Dove, and sound recordist Pete Smith present the latest iteration of their Solway to Svalbard project exploring the links between Dumfries and Galloway and the High Arctic.
Just Start Here will also see contributions from artists and groups such as Ashanti Harris, Sue Zuki, //BUZZCUT//, as well as live music performances, provocative talks, discussions and debates led by Nic Green and Stewart Laing on the arts’ relationship to place and community, and how artists can successfully navigate the “gig economy” of the sector.

Just Start Here is a playground for Scottish artists: a space to share and generate ideas, art and provocations, and to spark new collaborations across art-forms as well as offering a curated and supported platform for bold, vital work to find its feet in front of an audience. The festival was first staged in Glasgow in January 2018, and last year took place in Aberdeen in partnership with Citymoves.
Just Start Here is part of Engine Room, the National Theatre of Scotland’s nation-wide programme of artistic development opportunities. Engine Room aims to bring artists together to develop skills, networks and create new work at the greatest reach of their imaginations and ambitions. Engine Room and Just Start Here are supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Join the conversation: #JustStartHere

 
Check out the the full line-up below, and click HERE to view the full programme.

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Events Musings Opportunities

Behavin trials a new kind of experiment for Just Start Here 2020

Behavin?
In July of 2019, a micro-festival of performance art, live music and spontaneous creative action took place across the High Street of Dumfries. Set-up to agitate, disrupt, celebrate, poke fun and play, Behavin’ invited performance artists, the local community, musicians and local artists to contribute to a new kind of scene for Dumfries. 2019 featured the world’s smallest music venue, drag performance, Kung Fu master-classes, a band of seagulls, plays in our elevator theatre and a madcap day of extraordinary work from artists throughout Scotland.
And since then, it’s all gone a little bit quiet. The streets have resumed their normal operation of passers-by, people watchers, the school run, lunch- time meetings, chai latte soirees and bank appointments, all this alongside the looming avian threat of a hungry, sausage-roll-loving-seagull. Colloquially known as ‘Rats With Wings’ (also a good name for a death metal band).
Until now.
Behavin’ have been invited to take part in Just Start Here 2020 with the National Theatre of Scotland. And this year, we’re doing just that, starting right at the beginning. Our troupe (if you can call it that) is banding together once again to play, chat, explore ideas and perform, in the very heart of the High Street.
Welcome to Elsewhere, bring a chair.
We don’t know what it will be. We’re sure we’ll be sitting on a chair. We’re sure it might rain. We’re certain it’s in Fountain Square. Something is starting.
With Just Start Here, we’re in the most unique position as local artists to explore, create, start, challenge and expand our creative horizons. And we invite you, our community, our network to start something too. Join us on the 28th and 29th of February and explore how we can start a new kind of creative ambition for Dumfries.
___
Just Start Here is a two day festival of bold new work, taking over shop-fronts, working men’s clubs and the streets of Dumfries this February. Organised by National Theatre of Scotland, Just Start Here will take place on 28th and 29th of February 2020. Tickets are available now, for details on how to get yours along with the full line please visit the NTS website:
Tickets and General Information
Festival Line Up

Artists Kerry Morrisson and Helmut Lemke perform a durational piece as part of Behavin 2019.
Categories
Events News Projects

Hello 2020 at The Stove Network!

2019 was an incredible year for us at The Stove – we had the opportunity to work with an amazing host of people and groups, and to share a wide range of events and projects, both in-house and led by other organisations and artists.
Our programme for 2020 is starting to fill up fast and we’re gearing up for another jam-packed year of art, community and creativity at 100 High Street, aiming to encourage, gather, educate and inspire. We thought we’d share a few projects that we’re looking forward to in the coming year – so get those diaries oot!
 

National Theatre of Scotland: Just Start Here

Next month, we’re delighted to be working with National Theatre of Scotland to bring you a two-day festival of brand new work from a wide range of Scottish artists. ‘Just Start Here’ features bold new work and will take over shop-fronts, working men’s clubs and the streets of Dumfries this February.
Throughout the day, intimate performances and provocative talks will take place in between a bite to eat and time to mull ideas over. The evening will see live music performances, engaging conversation and a chance to experience something unique.
The lineup includes Nic Green, Behavin’, Two Destination Language, Ashanti Sharda, Stuart Macpherson, Emma Dove & Pete Smith, Stewart Laing, Mele Broomes, SUE ZUKI plus much more to be announced! To keep up to date please visit the National Theatre of Scotland Facebook or website by clicking here.
 

Dumfries Music Conference: The Plaza

Inspired by initiatives set up throughout the country, DMC launched ‘The Plaza’ at their seventh annual conference back in October. The Plaza is a roving music venue, dedicated to the takeover of the under-utilised, the abandoned, the ruinous and the unusual.

The first Plaza took place at Soul Soup on Irish Street, with live performances from Quiche, Megan Airlie, Prussia Snailham and the Lutras, with the second Plaza taking place just before Christmas at the Secret Gallery on Friars Vennel. A special Christmas themed evening with live performances from Kate Kyle, Steven Thomas and Callum Easter.
With plans for a Plaza event every second month, the DMC team are gearing up for a year of scoping out the hidden music venues of Dumfries and providing a platform for bands to showcase their talent in a unique space. Keep up to date with the latest Plaza info on the DMC Facebook here or visit their website by clicking here.
  

Lowland

It’s now over two years since the Lowland project began with its first writer-in-residence, Stuart Paterson whose work with the Stove generated a mass of over 500 written postcard responses from poetry, short fiction, illustration and observations of life in a town in the midst of a transition. The project, first conceived as a means by which local people and visitors could contribute to a new contemporary portrait of Dumfries, has now since quietly developed with a core team of emerging writers and theatre-makers, contributing, devising and workshopping in the heart of the High Street. Now, entering into the rehearsal stages for its debut production in late March. For more information on the Lowland project and to find out how you might like to take part please email martin@thestove.org

The Stove Café: Community Table

The Stove Café is the social heart of our network and, following a refurbishment last year, we’re looking forward to an exciting year of events and projects in the café and working with our community on a more regular basis. The Stove Café team are currently putting plans in place for a regular ‘Community Table’ where community groups and organisations can make use of the café space for regular meet ups, discussions or informal gatherings in a comfortable space with a hot drink and delicious food from local producers.

Nithraid 2020

Save the date – Nithraid is back! Dumfries’ annual River Festival returns to the Mill Green on Saturday 22ndAugust to celebrate our beloved River Nith with our community and partners. Nithraid is the biggest event in the Stove calendar, and with our eighth one approaching this year we’re looking at our biggest one yet – including opportunities to work with organisations, artist commissions, local food, live music performances, art installations and so much more!

For Nithraid 2020, we are looking forward to welcoming Dorothy Lawrenson to the team as our poet-in-residence. Dorothy will be researching the River Nith and its role in the life of the local community. The resulting work will be a collection of poems and podcasts, with each one concentrating on a specific aspect of the river.
Make sure you keep up to date with all our Nithraid news over on the Nithraid Facebook page here.
 

Embers – Igniting Culturally-led Regeneration across Dumfries and Galloway

Last year we had conversations with and gathered information from 21 groups and organisations from across Dumfries and Galloway with additional feedback and input from regional and national support bodies and agencies. We wanted to find out directly from groups and organisations working successfully as part of their communities more about the strengths and challenges of their work and build a picture of effective creative place making in Dumfries and Galloway and its impact for our places.

We are excited to share what has emerged from our consultation work and help build a case for a holistic approach to community focused enterprise and economic wellbeing, with the Embers going live at the end of February.

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Events Music News

DMC returns for 2019!

Dumfries Music Conference (DMC) is set to return to the town on 17-19 October, with their SEVENTH annual conference featuring an exciting mix of film, discussion, live music, art and workshops.

This year, DMC presents its most ambitious programme to date, featuring national and internationally renowned musicians, innovative live events and radical venue takeovers across four venues. It includes Scottish Album of the Year Award winner, Kathryn Joseph, who plays The Brigend Theatre on Friday 18 October.

This year’s conference programme has shaped up to be one of the most rounded and possibly most engaging to date. Most of the sessions and events are free to attend, so everyone is encouraged to take advantage and get involved. Everyone is welcome!

On Thursday 17 October, DMC hosts screening of ‘Beats’ at the Robert Burns Centre, a Scottish coming-of-age drama set during the summer of 1994 as two friends encounter illegal parties and rave culture for the first time. Shot entirely in black and white, the film is directed by Black Mirror director Brian Welsh and features a killer soundtrack from Keith McIvor (JD Twitch of Optimo).The evening then moves to The Stove Network where a collective of Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria based MCs and DJs will battle between the borders in ‘South/West/Sound/Clash’. Expect bar spitting, beat thumping, lyrical assaults.

DMC Sessions will fill the Stove Café on the afternoons of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 with live music from an array of regional musical acts. Also on Friday, Glasgow-based music publishers, 23rd Precinct, host a Songwriting Masterclass with professional songwriters and musicians Scarlett Randle, Lee McGilvray (Flew the Arrow) and Mark McGowan in The Stove’s Room 2.

Friday evening will see one of Scotland’s most talked about and celebrated musical artists, Kathryn Joseph, arrive for her first headline show in Dumfries & Galloway with a special performance at the unique and intimate Brigend Theatre, with support from Zoë Bestel.Saturday 19th includes an exciting Musicians Market come to The Oven on Dumfries High Street, with a record fair, local DJs and info stalls from some of Scottish music industry’s key organisations.

DMC also hosts a jam-packed schedule of panels and workshops on Saturday with a wide range of experts working in the music industry across Scotland, including Help Musicians, the Scottish Music Industry Association, Scottish Women Inventing Music and insight and information on marketing and promotion, Scottish Festivals, the SAY Award and self-care in the world of the music industry.

Saturday evening will culminate in the DMC 2019 Showcase gig in association with The Plaza – a new roving music venue concept, which encourages people to take over unusual spaces and fill them with music, art and performance. This year DMC is delighted to feature The Lutras, Quiche, Megan Airlie and Prussia Snailham, performing live at Soul Soup on Irish Street.

For more details, event times and tickets, visit the DMC Facebook page for more details: www.facebook.com/DumfriesMusicConference

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Events

Nithraid 2019

2019 Nithraid will definitely be a year to remember for us at The Stove; after months of planning and a huge amount of hard work by our fabulous Nithraid team, the decision to pull our annual River Festival had to be made the day before the main event to keep everyone safe in the face of terrible weather, and a complete deluge of rain.However, we are SO grateful for everyone who arrived to pitch in and lend a hand for an unbelievable turn around. We are able to bring elements of the festival into the town centre, including workshops with Creative Futures, Freelance Ranger, Battlestations and the Dumfries American Hunters Football Team. The Salty Coo Procession roamed the streets of Dumfries town centre and was led by Blueprint100. In the 3 months leading up to this year’s Nithraid, the Blueprint100 team worked with various local community groups and organisations to create banners and flags to used in the procession celebrating the people of Dumfries with their ‘powerful communities’ theme.The live music took place in the Stove Cafe with fantastic performances from Freya Cloy, Ra, Eddie and Isla of Tiderays, Corrie Russell and Kate Kyle. Nithlight provided a beautiful close to the day on the Mill Green once the river had died down.The Friday evening provided a night to remember too0 – with an amazing array of local performers turning out to participate in the Big Nithraid Warm-Up Brave New Words, followed by a ceilidh from Reidhle which had every person in the room up dancing all night long.

This would not have been possible without so much hard work – thank you to everyone over the weekend who was able to lend a hand, and who came along to our event regardless – to all those in the procession, and who took part in the events, who re-arranged workshops and pitches to join us on the High Street – thank you!

There was a lovely atmosphere, and the sun even made a few brief appearances.Thank you to everyone for their support during Nithraid –  it has been a joyful and affirming reminder of why we all put the hours in to make these events happen – even in the face of very challenging conditions.

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Events News

Brave New Words Celebrates Four Years on the High Street!

This Friday sees the return of Brave New Words to The Stove for a special evening celebrating the fourth anniversary of the monthly event for new words spoken, sung, signed, shot or silenced. Since 2015, the open mic night has offered a platform to the town to celebrate diversity and challenge stigmas and stereotypes through spoken word, poetry, music and film.

Since our first Brave New Words four years ago, we’ve seen a new kind of scene flourish in the region. New poets, performers, musicians and writers from all walks of life coming together to support one another as well as a hunger for new work from local people. It’s really been an amazing journey.

Brave New Words plays a vital role in The Stove Network’s mission to bring vibrancy to evenings in the Town Centre, offering support to those willing to make a positive and impactful change in their home town and beyond. Since it began in 2015, Brave New Words has voyaged to festivals, created multi-disciplinary installations and uncovered an incredible amount of talent in the heart of Dumfries.

Over the years, Brave New Words has hosted some of the biggest names in the spoken word scene and as the project moves forward into 2020, there are a host exciting collaborations with national organisations, local initiatives and remarkable writers across Scotland.

This Friday’s Brave New Words tackles the theme of ‘Rebellion’ and will be a night full of surprises. Everyone is welcome to come along, and those wishing to participate should arrive prompt for 7pm to sign up to perform.

BE BRAVE!

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Events Opportunities

Sound Performance Opportunity

Would you like to participate in a SOUND PERFORMANCE on
October the 9th between 1pm and 3pm in the High Street of Dumfries?

As part of the event ‘Making Common Cause’ (in association with 2019: A Year of Conversation and Voluntary Arts Scotland) The Stove will contribute a live art performance. This project will be led by sound artist Helmut Lemke, who will run a series of workshops to introduce the concept and to rehearse the performance.

Everybody is welcome to participate. No previous experience, special knowledge or equipment is required.
If you want to be part of the performance, or if you are curious please get in touch with Helmut on lemke@sound-art.de for more details and date of the first workshop.

Helmut performs with the Artist group ‘Heinrich Mucken’ a walking/sound performance (Frankfurt 1987)

Making Common Cause is an event through the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 9th October. After the live art performance led by Helmut Lemke there will be a public guided walk around Dumfries in the company of cultural activists from Scotland and Ireland, inspired by ‘Making Common Cause’, a collection of essays exploring the commons, published by Voluntary Arts. Topics raised will include the rights to take part in culture, community, food, language, knowledge and nature. The guided walk will lead to The Stove where the evening will continue with refreshments and a discussion inspired by the walk and led by poet Tom Pow.

Helmut Lemke
Since Helmut started his journey into the world of sound – more than 40 years ago – he investigated sounds that are around us – some are obvious, some are familiar, some have to be found… and he has performed and exhibited process based work responding to his investigations.
His endeavour has taken him to concert halls and outdoor markets, to Galleries and Museums and to the frozen seas off Greenland, to Function Rooms of Pubs and to International Festivals.
He has presented his work all over the globe, collaborating with other Sound Artists and Musicians, with Dancers and Scientists, Visual Artists and Architects, Poets and Archaeologists, Performance Artists and Wildlife Rangers.
Helmut has recently moved to Dumfries & Galloway – he continues to listen here……

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Events Musings

The Salty Coo Procession 2019

From Jordan Chisholm

“Wow! Nithraid 2019, you really were something else. I can’t quite believe I have to let go of you now; your procession has taken up many of my daily thoughts over the past few months.

This year you were unique, a little bit of a chancer, very salty and many of us learnt something new from you whilst asking important questions along the way.

I began to conceive the idea of the Nithraid 2019 procession when I was feeling inspired by what it means to “belong” alongside the want to work with different communities. I hoped for the procession to become a celebration of what Dumfries and Galloway has to offer, whilst creating a space for people to meet and connect with those they haven’t before. It is easy to believe that nothing ever happens here and question what there is to celebrate – but I believe that together we can do so much, so let’s try it.

Throughout June to the end of August, with support from the Blueprint100 team and The Stove Network, we contacted over 100 community groups from Dumfries and Galloway (yes, there really are that many!) encouraging them to make a banner in celebration of who they are, with a hope that they would then walk in our procession and become a part of the day. We had great fun throughout these workshops, and although challenged by the summer holidays, we met many new faces, conversed with people of all ages, heard many fascinating stories and connected with one another in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to before, whilst spreading the word about Nithraid and our Salty Coo.

“Pagan” means belonging or relating to a modern religion that includes beliefs and activities that are not from any of the main religions of the world (for example, the worship of nature). When I discovered this, I was keen to take this idea in to the procession. Imagine what the worship of community could look like. Imagine community as a religion. One which owns its own magic and is inclusive of all. I began to think more about where our beliefs come from, what Dumfries’ beliefs are, rituals and blessings; that is where much of the vision came from.With salt at the heart of this year’s overall Nithraid theme, it felt right to use this material as the source of action for the performers in the procession. Salt has many attributes, including being used for healing and sanctuary. Together, we spread salt throughout the high street in an offering of protection and safety for all our communities. Worshiping the place many of us call home. The 2019 Nithraid procession became a subtle disruption to a normal Saturday morning in Dumfries Town Centre. One which made people look twice as they walked on by. A moving image, a ritual, a blessing, a memory, an ephemeral moment, a discovery, many hearts and one community.

This experience was a huge collaboration from the very beginning to the very end and could not have been made possible without all those involved, including community groups, The Stove Network team, performers, musicians, costume designers, make-up artists, Salty Coo carriers and volunteers. I will never forget it.

Community is about doing something together, that makes belonging matter. We are community.

Here is the salt and here is the coo, let the river have its due,

Here is the salt and here is the coo, let the river have its due,

Here is the salt and here is the coo, let the river have its due.”

Jordan Chisholm is an artist and a current member of the blueprint100 curatorial team. Find out more about blueprint100 via their website here

Categories
Events Musings

Nithlight by Night, a Reflection

By Philip Mairs

With the theme of this years Nithraid festival being salt and ritual – including salt’s local, historical and mythical uses – we thought of a way to combine all three of these things into something that could form the basis of Nithlight.

Nithlight 2019

Upon finding out about the Celtic connection to the history of salt in the South-West Scotland region, we thought about using vibrational acoustic-phenomena to create patterns in the element of salt. A lot of these patterns appear surprisingly Celtic. For the Celts, the Earth and its elements, including all water and salt, were sacred.This idea was made possible by using a vibrating metal ‘Chladni’ plate, so called because following the pioneering experiments of Robert Hooke in the 1600s, it is the German physicist Ernst Chladni’s name that became most associated with these figures.

We set about filming the patterns emerging on our own plate, with the intention of beaming the projection over a maze of ship masts.

The ship masts were to replicate an old galleon ship, used for trading in the 1700’s. We then began to extend this narrative out by introducing reworked old seaman’s recipes and orientating our soundscape around water, grainy sounds and symmetrical patterning. We also wanted to give context to the projected video, and so thought that having the source for the images on site in an ‘obelisk’ type structure that people could sing into in order to create patterns themselves would be compelling; creating an immediate connection between creation and content.

Despite it looking like the event might have to be called off due to the Scottish summer in full flow, the event went ahead as planned. The ship sculpture provided an intriguing backdrop to people (and the occasional animal) singing and howling into the microphone, often watching patterns emerging as they would do so.

The feeling of old seafaring was enhanced by the provision of the some of the only kinds of food and drink that would last on voyages- in this case those being hard, salty biscuits; along with homemade ginger beer.

We also enjoyed the workshop we hosted earlier on in the day, where we were able to give people an up-close experience of Cymatics, from one of its original methods- bowing of metal plates with a violin bow; to one of its more recent related developments of the plate being driven by a loudspeaker. ___

Nithlight was a commission as part of Nithraid 2019, led by artists Emily Tough and Philip Mairs. The commission was supported by The Holywood Trust.

All image credits: Jamie Thomson, see his Facebook page here for details.

Categories
Events News Projects

Activities at Nithraid

Nithraid is fast approaching and we are excited to have a wide range of activities and workshops suitable for all ages at the Nithraid Village this year! Here’s what you can get involved in on Saturday 31st August:

Blueprint100 – Magical Procession Workshop

Join Blueprint100 straight from their procession to carry on the fun and wonder in an array of magical activity. Taste some salty popcorn, make your own moon inspired bath-bomb and salty scrubs, learn some enchanted spells and take part in your very own ritual, before leaving with a protective gift.

Battlestations: Games Bus & Virtual Reality Nith Experience

Battlestations LTD will be showcasing some of the newest games that the market has to offer on board their battle trailer. These games are suitable for a variety of ages. They will also be providing a virtual reality experience of the boat race, made especially for Nithraid, so that visitors to the Nith Village can experience the race from land!

Upcycled World: Super Shiny Spinners


Play and get creative with everyday household rubbish and make your very own Super Shiny Spinner to take home. There’s pens, broken jewellery, bottle tops and DVDs to bring the magic. After practising your spinning moves, enter The Arena for a Spinning Match. Be inspired, have fun and become a champion eco-warrior.
Suitable for all ages, that’s you too Mum & Dad, Nan & Papa!

Nithlight: Chladni Plate Demonstration
As part of Nithraid Nighttime, we have a specially commissioned light installation coming to the Mill Green called ‘Nithlight’. Throughout the day, the Nithlight Team will have a Chaldni Plate demonstration at the Nithraid Village; watch as vibrations create Celtic patterns through salt and sound. They will also be hosting a paint pouring workshop, where you can create expressive art in fluid motion.

Creative Futures: Fashion & Festival Fun
In the run up to Creative Futures and partners Fashion Fusion Festival in September, they are inviting the community to join in at their stall at Nithraid to create large funky festival decorations and fashion outfits inspired by cultures and traditions from around the world. There will be recycled materials, paint and wooden shapes to make your own decorations and outfits. There is also the chance to hear about their exciting summer competition Next Top Role Model, and how you can vote for your role model.
Dumfries Hunters American Football Team
The Dumfries Hunters American Football Team will be at this year’s Nithraid, giving demonstrations of the sport and offering a chance for you to find out more. Since 2014, they have been developing the sport of American football in Dumfries & Galloway. In that time, they have introduced the sport in Primary and Secondary School and developed an Adult program that is highly competitive and has made their Divisions playoffs the last two years!
Freelance Ranger: Experimental Tent
Would you like to be cool? Would you like to be an archaeologist? Well, Freelance Ranger Elizabeth Tindal is bringing her Ice Archaeology to Nithraid this year. It will make you a very cool archaeologist. You will need some patience and possibly some salt to chip and melt all the recycled items out without damaging them. Why throw things away when you can embed them in a big block of ice!