Sensational Year of Culture taking shape

The world-famous Old Course at St Andrews.
The world-famous Old Course at St Andrews.
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ST ANDREWS’ growing reputation as a centre of cultural excellence will be marked in sensational fashion this year thanks to its success in being named one of Scotland’s Creative Places for 2012.

The town is still celebrating winning the prestigious Creative Scotland Award, which has delighted all sections of the community and already brought substantial media coverage, as well as a cash prize of £150,000.

Those behind the successful bid - the Byre Theatre, local charity the St Andrews Partnership and other creative partners - have now begun to map out the year ahead labelled as St Andrews Year of Celebration 2012.

CHALLENGES

Dr Frank Quinault, chair of the Byre Theatre - Scotland’s only five-star arts attraction - said: “Both the Byre and St Andrews in general have faced some tough challenges recently, so I am delighted that our creative response, and the continuing support of local groups, has been recognised through this marvellous award.”

The prize will help fund three main strands of activity during 2012, including a spectacular large-scale Scottish musical theatre production.

To be staged by the Byre and entitled Macpherson’s Rant, it will bring together a cast of professional actors, singers and musicians and will also have a strong community element. Provisionally planned for November, the production will be the centrepiece of the Year of Celebration.

The celebrations will also comprise a year-long promotional campaign, featuring the many festivals, events and cultural occasions which will take place in St Andrews.

Highlights are annually-staged events such as the StAnza International Poetry Festival, the “Inside Out” Street Festival, and St Andrews Festival, along with exciting new occasions like St Andrews Voices, and also the unique occasions of the Olympic Torch Relay in June and the St Andrews University 600th anniversary celebrations.

The cash windfall will also help build a lasting legacy for the local arts and cultural community, with the creation of permanent shared facilities groups can use as a base to administer and promote their own events.

REPUTATION

Patrick Laughlin, manager of the St Andrews Partnership, said: ”St Andrews has rightly been renowned for its golf, its university and its beaches. The Cultural Place Award means that, now, we can also reach out to new audiences around the world by highlighting St Andrews’ growing reputation as a place of artistic excellence.”

Byre chief executive, Jacqueline McKay, added: ”The St Andrews Year of Celebration 2012 is for everyone.’’

Councillor Brian Goodall, chair of the Fife Cultural Consortium, said:“It really is fantastic news for St Andrews and for the rest of the Kingdom.’’

- it will include events large and small, and will appeal to all ages and interests. Our town’s festivals and cultural events are already individually strong in their own right, but this award will help them work collectively to even greater effect, both during 2012 and beyond.”

Adding his good wishes was Councillor Brian Goodall, chair of the Fife Cultural Consortium, said:“It really is fantastic news for St Andrews and for the rest of Fife.’’

“Creative Scotland now clearly recognises the wealth of creative talent in Fife and how we are building on the legacy of our own year of culture and creativity in 2010.“