Game of Thrones star at StAnza

Game of Thrones actor Clive Russell will officially open StAnza 2015.
Game of Thrones actor Clive Russell will officially open StAnza 2015.

Game of Thrones star Clive Russell will launch StAnza 2015 – and host an ‘In Conversation’ event to discuss his love of poetry.

Tickets are now on sale online for the full programme of Scotland’s international poetry festival, which will take place in St Andrews over five days, from March 4 to 8.

And event organisers are delighted Russell will not only officially open the festival, but also host a discussion on poetry on Saturday, March 7.

The festival features nearly 100 events – a diverse range of performances, readings, music, drama, talks, workshops, open mic events, films, exhibitions and installations.

It offers the chance to hear favourite poets, discover new voices, meet other poets, writers and publishers and enjoy the energetic buzz of beautiful and historic St Andrews.

Festival director Eleanor Livingstone said: “The programme for 2015 really does have something for everyone and brings together acclaimed poets, new voices and emerging talent from all around the world to make this a true celebration of the written word.

“We are delighted this year to welcome back to Fife, our special guest Clive Russell to launch the festival.

“It’s very exciting to be at the point of announcing that tickets for all these superb events are now on sale, as this really does mark the start of the countdown to the festival.”

Among this year’s headliners are Simon Armitage and New Zealand’s first Poet Laureate Bill Manhire, along with three poets making their first appearances at StAnza – American poet Alice Notley, Sinéad Morrissey, currently Belfast’s Poet Laureate, and Ian Duhig.

Kei Miller and Liz Berry, winners of the 2014 Forward Prize for best collection and Forward First Prize for best first collection respectively, are also included in the line up, along with Helen Mort, recent winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection prize.

The festival opens with a performance of ‘Bedazzled: A Welshman in New York’. For one night the Byre Theatre will be transformed as audience members are invited to enjoy a drink with the cast, in character as the legendary Dylan Thomas and friends, while being transported back in time to the heady, bohemian world of New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1950s.

In Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, StAnza has included a food and drink focus in its 2015 programme, including an all-day workshop in the Edwardian kitchen of the Hill of Tarvit mansion house, and another in Kellie Castle, famous for producing organic fruit and vegetables.

Other highlights in the programme include A Modern Don Juan in the steps of Byron, Karen Cairns’ exhibition of Places and Faces around St Andrews, jazz singer Lorna Reid, singer Kirsty Law, the Viridian Quartet and the Black Cat Jook Band for the festival finale.

Paul Bush OBE, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and, once again, StAnza presents a programme which celebrates both the best Scottish and international poetic talent. There’s undoubtedly something for everyone at the festival.”

Tickets for StAnza are now on sale. Full details can be found at www.stanzapoetry.org or call the box office on 01334 475000.

A printed brochure will be available later this month.