On the Rocks gets back in the water

On the Rocks student run arts festival returns for a ten-day event. Pictured are improv group Blind Mirth.
On the Rocks student run arts festival returns for a ten-day event. Pictured are improv group Blind Mirth.

The largest student-run arts festival in Scotland, showcasing the very best of student art, photography, film and theatre, begins this week in St Andrews.

This year’s 10 day On the Rocks festival has a community feel, with nearly 50 events taking place in local restaurants and public spaces, as well as more traditional university venues.

“A lot of our sponsorship comes from local businesses,” explained Charlie Maguire, director of operations. “This means we have strong relationships with businesses and locals throughout the town.

“We always have a vast array of events, but one of the things that really stands out is the way that the events use any and all the venues available to them throughout the town. We have a photography and poetry exhibition in a local pub, a community Evolving Mural that will pop up all over town.”

The mural will begin on April 3 in Church Square, move to the main University library on North Street on April 6, then St Salvator’s Quadrangle on April 8 before ending at the St Andrews Bandstand on The Scores on Saturday 9.

Highlights also include an Indian film festival, a community upcycling workshop and a performance of George Orwell’s Animal Farm in the Steak Barn at Balgove Larder.

Festival director Caroline Christie is convinced this year’s festival caters for all: “There really is something for everyone: attend a musical, take part in an art exhibition, watch a sketch show. On the Rocks works incredibly hard to make sure that all facets of the art scene in St Andrews – be it student or local residents – is represented.”

The festival, which was launched by a group of students in 2009, has the support of high-profile patrons including honorary graduates of the university, Sir Sean Connery and Dame Judi Dench. Patron Andy Serkis, best known for playing Gollum in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, said: “On the Rocks is a truly inspirational festival, to which I send my support and very best wishes. As a student I was encouraged to engage in all aspects of theatre, music and film, and it is vital that events such as this festival continue to grow and be nurtured in order to support the artistic minds of the future.”

Charlotte Haswell-West, OTR said: “It’s ten days of a creative whirlwind in St Andrews. The town is completely alive with events, everywhere you turn there is a performance, exhibition, or a workshop.”