Representatives from a host of organisations descended on the Byre Theatre this week to mark the official launch of the St Andrews Year of Celebration and kick-start the fantastically rich and diverse cultural programme in the university town for 2012.
Also marking the recent success of St Andrews being named Scotland’s Creative Place for 2012, Wednesday’s action-packed programme brought to life the key cultural events taking place in the town and East Fife over future months.
Music and poetry performance from local festivals were staged to give guests at the event a special sneak preview of what to expect, while organisers provided information about what to look out for through a series of visual presentations.
The initiative also featured short sessions from Creative Scotland, VisitScotland, the St Andrews Partnership and the Byre itself, which is Scotland’s only five-star theatre.
The St Andrews Year of Celebration aims to build upon the town’s established reputation as the creative, cultural hub of Fife, and dovetails with the Scottish Government’s ongoing Year of Creative Scotland.
Funding received from the Creative Place Awards will give extra promotional support to local events in the year ahead, encourage wider participation in the arts through bespoke projects such as the spectacular Scottish community musical drama production, Macpherson’s Rant - hopefully to be staged in November and bringing together a cast of professional actors, singers and musicians - and will also help to create a new shared administrative office for local cultural organisations in the proposed “festival lab” at the Byre Theatre.
Chief executive of the Byre, Jacqueline McKay, said: ”We are thrilled that St Andrews has been recognised for the level of creative ideas and activities that the town offers.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Patrick Laughlin, manager of the St Andrews Partnership, who added: ”The Year of Celebration opens up a whole new range of promotional opportunities and markets for St Andrews.
‘‘This year will be the starting point for a new long-term marketing plan which will major on St Andrews’ cultural credentials, building upon its already renowned other strengths as a visitor destination.”
St Andrews’ growing reputation as a centre for cultural excellence was boosted with its success in winning the prestigious Creative Scotland Award recently, which resulted in substantial media coverage and also a cash prize of £150,000.