Arts in the open air a huge hit in St Andrews

Youngsters enjoyed face paiting before a screening of The Lion King.
Youngsters enjoyed face paiting before a screening of The Lion King.
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A big screen showing the The Lion King was preceded by children’s activities – including the chance to don a lion face.

Just some of the statistics that make up the success that has been St Andrews’ Byre in the Botanics.

Fifers Barbara Dickson and Rab Noakes were popular with audiences.

Fifers Barbara Dickson and Rab Noakes were popular with audiences.

From films on a big screen, to waltzing lessons, face painting to opera, audiences at Scotland’s newest festival grew week after week.

The festival was developed with a threefold aim – to add to the attraction of St Andrews, to bring shows to the town that the Byre is unable to accommodate, and to increase awareness of the botanic garden.

It succeeded, as the Byre’s general manager Stephen Sinclair reported.

“It’s been a great success, audiences have loved it,” he said.

Ceilidh dancing was the order of the day before Capercaillie took to the stage.

Ceilidh dancing was the order of the day before Capercaillie took to the stage.

Audiences came from far and near – local St Andreans, from across Britain and from as far afield as Norway and the Netherlands.

And with a covered area, the weather was no deterrent for this outdoor festival.

“We have had a lot of changeable weather,” Stephen reflected, in something of an understatement.

“We have been rained on, blown on and definitely shone on. But regardless the audience has still been comfortable – the marequee has done its job.”

Samantha Barks, left,  got the festival off to a flying start with her songs from the shows.

Samantha Barks, left, got the festival off to a flying start with her songs from the shows.

Most spectacular weather intervention, perhaps, was the moment during last Friday’s performance of Macbeth when the heavens opened just as Macbeth went on his murderous rampage –spine tingling.

Despite the hectic pace of running the festival and keeping the theatre running, Stephen said: “I have loved every minute of it, just watching the happy faces and the people enjoying the events.”

His highlight of the festival was Capercaillie’s appearance, a show for which there was a waiting list for tickets.

Stephen paid tribute and thanked all the staff and volunteers from St 
Andrews University, the Byre, and the Botanic Garden who had contributed to the success of the festival.

Audiences were delighted by the variety of shows at Byre in the Botanics.

Audiences were delighted by the variety of shows at Byre in the Botanics.

And even as the botanic garden was restored to normally almost overnight, the planning had started for next year’s Byre in the Botanics, 
with a detailed announcement expected 
before Christmas.

Bard in the Botanics brought their production of Macbeth to close the festival.

Bard in the Botanics brought their production of Macbeth to close the festival.

Stephen Sinclair, general manager of the Byre Theatre.

Stephen Sinclair, general manager of the Byre Theatre.