Byre Theatre and Botanic Garden join forces to present a summer of the arts in St Andrews

Stephen Sinclair
Stephen Sinclair
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The logistics of running a theatre – getting different productions on day after day, week after week, are mind numbing to the uninitiated.

So thinking about moving operations into the open air for a season, with three events a week for eight weeks, while still running the theatre, is clearly not a notion for the faint-hearted.

But that’s just what Stephen Sinclair, general manager of St Andrews’ Byre Theatre will be doing in just a few weeks’ time, as the theatre joins forces with the town’s Botanic Garden to present Byre in the Botanics.

Several open-air performances every weekend from the beginning of June until mid-August are on Stephen’s agenda this summer.

But with just a month to go until the multi-arts festival kicks off, he exudes an aura of calm.

Asked about the technicalities of staging the event, he shrugged: “The Byre already has all the infrastructure we need,” he said, “it means we can start setting up just a week before the event kicks off.”

Pointing out the area of the Garden where the shows will take place, Stephen explained that there would be a marquee with open sides for the audiences to use – but he had his fingers crossed that the weather would be as glorious as it was earlier this week.

It’s a beautifully sheltered area, where, if the sun shines, audiences will need parasols and sun screen rather than umbrellas and raincoats.

“We wanted to do something special in the summer, and so did the Botanic Garden,” Stephen explained, “And the Garden is something that people don’t seem to know about, but when they come, they find it beautiful.

“This is not a rock festival,” he emphasised, “it is massively important to us that this is in keeping with the gardens.”

It remains, though, a programme that is eclectic, linking music, film and drama – around 20 performances and events. Audiences can watch a film on the big screen followed by a linked live performance, for example screenings of West Side Story and Billy Elliot will be followed by performances by the JSLN Ballet Company.

There is even the chance to learn to waltz ahead of performances by Opera Up Close.

And while attendees can take along their own picnics, there will also be catering on site, including, on good days, barbecues, or luxury hampers can be ordered in advance – with or without Champagne.

More information on Byre in the Botanics is available at www.standrewsbyreinthe
botanics.com/

In the meantime life goes on at the Byre, with a full programme of shows over the summer – all indoors!