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information for the Festive season in Stirling

This festive season there are all kinds of things to do and enjoy across the Stirling area. Whether it’s Winter Festival highlights, when to find Santa at home in his grotto in Stirling’s Thistles, or visit the Hogmanay pages, with all you need to know about how to be part of Stirling’s spectacular party at the Castle on 31 December starring Deacon Blue!

For more information visit the Stirling Festivity pages

From the Stirling Council website.

December at the Tolbooth

December starts at the Tolbooth with a very special performance by The Scottish Flute Trio this Thursday. The Flute Trio are celebrating the 80th birthday of eminent Scottish composer Thea Musgrave and the concert's programme is made up entirely of new commissions by female composers who either hail from or work in Scotland, including Thea Musgrave and Sally Beamish. Both Thea Musgrave and Sally Beamish will be at Tolbooth to take part in a pre concert discussion about their work.

The Scottish Flute Trio + pre concert talk
Thu 4 Dec, 7pm
(concert 8pm)

King Creosote
Fri 5 Dec, 8pm

Jazz Singers' Open Mic Night
Wed 10 Dec, 8pm
Singers £5
Audience £3

Davie Scott's Pop Special
with The Pearlfishers + Karine Polwart
Fri 12 Dec, 8pm

Tommy Smith's Youth Jazz Orchestra
Sat 13 Dec, 8pm

Russian Gypsy Music
Thu 18 Dec, 8pm

What's On in Stirling

Albert Halls Christmas cheer

Shows in December at Stirling’s Albert Halls are renowned for getting everyone in the party spirit and the final shows of an exceptionally successful 2008 have heady mix of fun and laughter for all ages.

Voulez Vous
Hot on the heels of the world wide musical phenomenon, ‘Mamma Mia’, Albert Halls presents Abba tribute band, ‘Voulez Vous’ for their ‘So Long Tour’ taking to the stage on Friday 5 December. It's time to hang up the flares and say "Thank You for the Music". After 17 years together ‘Voulez Vous’ perform their final concert tour in 2008. We hope you will be there for their last performance in 2008. 7.30pm – 10.30pm, tickets cost £16/£15/Family of Four £42 (2 Adults, 2 Children).

Roy "Chubby" Brown
The King of Controversial comedy is back, Roy "Chubby" Brown has been described as a modern day phenomenon. In his trademark patchwork suit, he will surprise, amuse and astonish you with his band new material. The show is on Thursday 11 December and is branded too rude for television. His live acts go from strength to strength bringing shock and awe techniques to an ever-increasing audience. Be sure to get your ticket and listen to the fat man who will make your toes curl, your eyebrows raise and put hairs on your chest. Be warned - IF EASILY OFFENDED, PLEASE STAY AWAY. 7.30pm – 10.00pm, tickets are now sold out.

the Alexander Brothers
It is now 50 years since the Alexander Brothers made their first appearance as professional entertainers.The duo plays on Thursday 18 December and with each passing year became better and better. A wonderful blend of Scottish and Irish classics coupled with the musicianship and a great sense of fun has ensured the brothers Tom and Jack have remained at the forefront of Scottish entertainment. 7.30pm – 10.00pm, tickets cost £10.

The Singing Kettle
The Singing Kettle presents Christmas Toyshop touches down at Albert Halls on Saturday 27 December. The Singing Kettle will be at their best for Christmas Toy Shop and the new "singing shopkeepers" will delight and mesmerise all ages with superb audience participation and non-stop favourite songs. Remember to dress in a Santa hat. Also appearing on 27 December at 3.00pm and on Sunday 28 December 12 noon and 3.00pm. Tickets cost £10.50/Family of Four £38.

New Years Eve celebrations
New Years Eve celebrations at the Albert Halls are a Stirling tradition that should not be missed. Following the success of last year's Hogmanay Ceilidh, Moira Kerr is once again hosting this year's Ceilidh. Dance the night away to the Ian McCallum Scottish Dance Band and enjoy a two-course meal and a glass of bubbly to welcome the 2009 New Year. 7.30pm, 1.00am, tickets are now sold out.

The Events Guide is available from the Albert Halls, local libraries, Community Centres and Council Offices. For further information on events, ticket prices and times please contact the Albert Halls Box Office on 01786 473544.

From the Stirling Council website.

Argylls Homecoming Parade

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland will celebrate their homecoming by marching through Stirling on Wednesday December 10, 2008 with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying.

The Argylls have recently returned from Afghanistan where they were deployed in March 2008 to Helmand Province as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. It has been an extremely demanding time for all ranks and within all corners of the Battalion testing the skills of every soldier in an environment where the climate is unforgiving and hugely demanding on both soldier and equipment.

Major Bob Elliot said: "The communities of Stirling can be very proud of the Officers and Soldiers who have carried the name of the Argylls once again into conflict and have proved their ability to adapt, meet the enemy head on and re-assure and assist a very war weary and often frightened local population."

This stirring spectacle on Wednesday December 10th will exercise the Argylls' right as accepted by the Council to the Freedom of Stirling, which was granted in 1947.

The parade will step off from Stirling Castle at 11.30am, travel down Castle Wynd to Broad Street left into St. Mary's Wynd, down Queen Street and into Viewfield Place, along Barnton Street and Murray Place up King Street to come to a stop outside the Municipal Buildings at Corn Exchange Road (no later than 12.10pm).

At Corn Exchange there will be a Salute to the Lord-Lieutenant for Stirling and Falkirk Mrs Marjory McLachlan, Provost Fergus Wood and the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel David Richmond, after which Provost Wood and the Lord Lieutenant will inspect the Battalion. On completion of the inspection Padre Colin MacLeod will say prayers. The Battalion will then march to Albert Place for a civic reception in Stirling’s Albert Halls.

Many of the young soldiers serving within the Ranks come from communities within the Stirling Council area where they have recruited since formation.

From the Stirling Council website.

Celebrate St Andrews Day at the Tolbooth

The Tolbooth marks St Andrews Day with an unmissable day of tartan intarsia!
There will be workshops in piping, whistle and knitting by day and a great piping gig at night by Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson.

St Andrews Day Workshops...
Sat 29 Nov, 10.30am and 3pm

Piping Workshop 3pm / £5
All-Ireland Champion Uillean Piper Jarlath Henderson and fellow piper Ross Ainslie will lead a special workshop on pipes and whistle, for intermediate players.

Tartan Intarsia! Workshop 10.30am-4pm / £10/£8
A workshop aimed at knitters who can already knit/purl with confidence and would like to learn a new skill. Participants will learn how to work from a graph using the Intarsia technique to ply up yarns in various colours and try out embellishing techniques.

A pattern will be provided for making gauntlets/wrist warmers or use the tartan inspired design for other items such as a bag, small cravat or tea cosy! Refreshments and yarn provided just bring your own needles and hooks.

Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson
Sat 29 Nov, 8pm

Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson first started playing together back in 2003 and have created a pipe sound that pushes the boundaries of what Uilleann and Border pipes can achieve together.

Jarlath is a three time All-Ireland Champion Uilleann Piper and is still only 19 years of age. In December 2003 he became the first Irish musician to win the prestigious BBC ‘Young Folk Musician Of The Year’, a major national award. Ross hails from Perth and is a former member of the Grade 1 Vale of Atholl pipe band. He has since toured with his tutor the late Gordon Duncan and was involved in Ivan Drever’s band ‘Clueless’ before recently playing with Flook!, Dougie Maclean & Salsa Celtica.

What's On in Stirling

Stirling's Hogmanay Celebrations 2008 - Deacon Blue Headlines

Headlining will be iconic Scottish band DEACON BLUE featuring Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh. Central FM DJs and Clanadonia will get the party started around 9.30pm. Supporting will be Finlay MacDonald, Scotland’s hottest young piper and his dynamic band with renowned fiddler Chris Stout. Deacon Blue on stage 11pm.

The hogmanay event will also include a countdown to the bells and a fireworks display high above the Castle at midnight. Event ends by 1am.

Tickets are now on sale from the Albert Halls (01786 473544), Tolbooth (01786 27 4000), MacRobert (01786 466666) and Ticketmaster (0870 534 4444). Tickets can also be bought online at Ticketmaster. On Hogmanay, The Albert Halls booking office will be open until 5pm.

Tickets are priced at £25 each. A family ticket comprising 2 adults and 2 children is available at £80 from The Albert Halls. It is a standing concert. No seating provided.

Access for up to 16 wheelchair users is available. Each wheelchair user can have one companion with them. Everyone must have a ticket!

Christmas Tingles at the Smith

Scottish contemporary crafts come to the Smith for Christmas. This year's wide range of sensational gifts for the season includes elegant jewellery, beautiful ceramics, fantastic felt, both sculptural and practical, and exquisite woodturning.

Early visiting is advisable for this stunning selection of crafts from all over Scotland. All works are for sale and ready to collect at the Smith. The Stirling Smith is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am to 5.00pm, Sunday 2.00pm to 5.00pm, closed Mondays.

Stirling's safe base at night

A new initiative called safe base ‘08 is being piloted during the festive period in Stirling that aims to provide support to people and consequently increase the feeling of safety when they are out In the city centre at night. safe base ‘08 is one of a number of initiatives that Stirling’s Night Time Economy Group has developed and implemented. Improved lighting, enhanced transport provision and upgrading of CCTV have also been undertaken in time for the busy festive period. These latest actions build on a range of projects already being undertaken through Stirling City Centre Initiative including the now well-established festive season taxi marshalling.

safe base ‘08 is a new facility that opens on Friday 21 November at the Basement, just below Central Library at the Back Walk in Stirling. safe base ’08 will be open from 10pm to 2am each Friday and Saturday night for 5 weekends before Christmas, from 21 November until Friday 26 December and other selected nights. The facility will be staffed by 28 people from 8 agencies over its period of operation.

safe base ‘08 is a safe place to go, that’s warm and comfortable, run by a team of experienced and somewhere you can go to for help, if you feel vulnerable out and about at night in Stirling.

In an emergency, if you need help or information on how to get home, travel times or a contact point, then safe base ‘08 can help you.

The main aim of the Safe Base is to increase the feeling of safety and to lower the potential of individuals exposure to issues generated by excess alcohol, a feeling of vulnerability or fear.

safe base ‘08 will provide:
A safe, warm, comfortable safe base
3 trained staff
Basic First Aid
Information about transport options
Information about safety options
Harm minimisation information
Access to emergency response (if required)
Pickup/contact point
Information about support services (if required)
The Safe Base will be linked directly to Licensed Venues and Police via the Radio Link scheme.

Barbara Morgenstern at the Tolbooth
barbara morgenstern at stirling tolbooth-thursday 20 november 8pm

Only Scottish date: at the Tolbooth
Thursday 20 November 8pm £10/£12

One of the most influential and active musicians on the German electronic music scene, Barbara Morgenstern develops her signature take on electronic pop music with the new album BM. Mixing electronic keyboards, piano, strings, programmed beats, drums - multi-instrumental arrangements shift between shimmering electro-pop, the offbeat and experimental.


For something completely different Benny Gallagher, one half of hit makers Gallagher & Lyle, comes to the Tolbooth for the first time as a solo artist.
Benny Gallagher
Tue 18 Nov, 8pm

What's On in Stirling

Stirling University Goes Gothic

Stirling festival of international gothic horror films At the macRobert, a festival of international gothic horror films with talks and discussions, on Friday 31 October, Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd November. Starts on Friday with Vampire Night.

Gothic horror isn’t what it used to be. What chills us today is more likely to be a long-haired ghost crawling out of a television than a count rising from his coffin or a zap of lightening animating a monstrous corpse. With Hallowe’en Gothic we showcase an international selection of shorts and feature films that demonstrate some of the new ways in which gothic has manifested itself in our globalised world. We hope that some will make you cringe, others make you laugh, but all leave you with a certain creeping sense of unease…
Professor Glennis Byron
Festival Director

Bloodcurdling screams, haunting music and a foreboding sense of ‘spookiness’ will invade the University of Stirling this coming weekend, as the MacRobert cinema hosts a Hallowe’en Gothic event. And since Friday night is Vampire Night, encouraging the cinema audience to dress in suitable attire, any readers venturing out in Bridge of Allan or Stirling that evening are likely to encounter a variety of ghouls, ghosts and other grotesques heading for the campus.

Gothic is a literary style which originated in the late 18th century and the University has a thriving gothic research community, including PhD students, and a taught Masters course in Gothic Imagination which attracts more students each year.

Characterized by gloom, the grotesque and the supernatural, Gothic is seen as a peculiarly British tradition although, as this Hallowe’en weekend shows, many other countries and cultures have their own traditions and share our fascination with it. Between Friday and Sunday, the MacRobert will screen ten ‘horror genre’ films from seven countries, as well as holding panel discussions with film writers and directors, proving not only that the Gothic tradition is alive and wriggling, but that it exerts powerful influence on a global scale.

This ‘global gothic’ phenomenon is the basis of an ongoing research project - one aspect of which is the MacRobert horror fest - which is being conducted by one of the University’s English Studies Professors, Glennis Byron. She is in the process of establishing a global gothic network of collaborations and links between international scholars in literature, film and cultural studies, with the aim of studying the impact of globalisation on gothic traditions.

Her research explores how cross-cultural influences might create ‘hybrids’ of iconic Gothic characters and scenarios, as well as the role played by technology in the spread of global gothic. Professor Byron says: “Globalisation itself could be seen as the latest gothic manifestation. After all, it is a form of psychic invasion and could be viewed as a force of contamination and dominance.”

Certainly ‘Eternal Blood’‘; ‘Hair Extensions’‘ and ‘‘Valerie and her Week of Wonders’‘ - films from Chile, Japan and Czechoslovakia respectively - are just three of the offerings which seem to prove that scaring and being scared hold worldwide attraction for people. So fit those fangs, get busy with the blood and dress to kill this Friday, for the start of what promises to be a fittingly ghoulish film weekend.

A Festival pass gives access to all 10 films and costs £15 (£10 concessions). For details of the programme, see the MacRobert website: www.marcrobert.org or call: 01786 466 666

For further information on Global Gothic, contact : Professor Glennis Byron on: 01786 467 509.

This event is organised by macrobert in association with the University of Stirling and the AHRC funded Global Gothic Network.

Improvements at the Old Town Jail

Stirling District Tourism Limited have announced that Stirling Old Town Jail, the unique visitor attraction which provides visitors to the city with the opportunity to experience life in an authentic Victorian prison, will be closing in early November, at the end of the main 2008 visitor season.

The company has confirmed that the decision to close The Old Town Jail at this time has been taken following a challenging visitor season in 2008, which saw a decline in visitor numbers in excess of 10%. It has indicated that when that reduced level of demand is projected forward, the option of remaining open during the quieter winter months cannot be justified, especially against a background of increased operating costs.

Stirling District Tourism Limited has also confirmed that during the closure period the company will be taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out maintenance and refurbishment work and aim to complete this for re-opening again in the spring.

Among the final events planned at The Old Town Jail for the 2008 season are special Halloween tours, which take place each evening on 31 October and 1 November, providing visitors with the chance to discover a darker side to the city’s history, with stories about body-snatchers, witch trials, and even the ghost of the last man hanged in Stirling!

For further information, contact: Carol Archibald, General Manager, Stirling District Tourism (Tel: (01786) 450059)

From the Stirling Council website.

Three Top Gigs at the Tolbooth...

There's something for everyone next week at the Tolbooth. Choose from Moishe's Bagel's Eastern European folk dance, to award winning Jazz guitarist, Kevin MacKenzie or the distinctly undefinalble Hot Club de Paris, described by NME as the trio that"mould pop out of everything but the kitchen sink".

Reloaded with Hot Club De Paris
Wed 22 Oct, doors open 7.30pm / DJ till 8pm
+ support from Jack Butler + Monkeyboy

Kevin MacKenzie Quartet
Fri 24 Oct, 8pm

Moishe's Bagel
Sat 25 Oct, 8pm

What's On in Stirling


One of Britain’s most senior politicians, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, is to talk on the future of British foreign policy at the University of Stirling. Sir Malcolm, who was a government minister for over a decade, will deliver the 2008 Williamson Memorial Lecture on Thursday 2 October. It will take place in the Logie Lecture Theatre, University of Stirling from 6.30pm and admission is free.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was MP for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 until 1997 and was later elected Member for Kensington and Chelsea at the 2005 General Election. During his time in government, Sir Malcolm was Secretary of State for Scotland (1986-90), Transport (1986-90), Defence (1992-95) and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1995-97).

This prestigious annual lecture by a prominent politician is named in memory of Andrew John Williamson, a student at the University who died in a tragic accident. Further details can be found at http://www.politics.stir.ac.uk/research/williamson/index.php

As this lecture always proves popular, we recommend that you reserve a place in advance. You can book a place by phone on 01786 467055 or by email to commanddev@stir.ac.uk

The Dyad Band, appearing at the Tolbooth


Don't miss your chance to see the wonderfully unique trio that is The Dyad Band, appearing at the Tolbooth on 24th September to play their enthralling repertoire of traditional American Old Time music. A musical destination they reached after delving into everything from indie-rock and punk to classical and traditional music of various cultures.

The Vancouver-based trio digs deep into song and instrumental traditions of the Appalachian mountain region of the USA, while incorporating these varied influences and expanding traditional themes into modern arrangements of original, traditional and contemporary song.

DYAD continues to pioneer onwards with their wholly fresh approach to traditional music and taking live shows into a more experimental stringband approach, blurring the line between old and new. Their most recent album, No Pedlars or Preachers, was released in 2006 to enthusiastic international reviews and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best New/Emerging artist.

Kori Miyanishi - vocals, banjo, fiddle
Leah Abramson - vocals, guitar
Mark Beaty - cello, vocals


What's On in Stirling

Stirling’s Hogmanay concert

Stirling’s Hogmanay concert on the esplanade of Stirling Castle may yet go ahead, despite being one of the areas where the budget was cut earlier this year.

At a meeting of the full Council last night (Thu 11 Sept) elected members heard that negotiations had taken place with a commercial promoter and that a concert, potentially headlined by Scots band Deacon Blue, was possible provided it was supported by a commercial sponsor.

Assurances were sought over the costs from elected members who heard that the total cost to the Council would be £27,000 – down from the £100,000 budget of previous years. Members were also advised that if the concert did go ahead and tickets did not sell out the Council could be liable for up to £30,000 of costs.

Members then agreed that discussions should continue with the promoter and that the Hogmanay concert could go ahead provided it was within the budget agreed. Commenting on the decision Provost Fergus Wood said, "I am delighted that Hogmanay seems not to be lost after all. We must also not forget that this event attracts a large number of visitors to Stirling at this time of year and so I am delighted that we have the possibility of re-instating this event for all concerned."

Taken from the Stirling Council website.

Reloaded Fest at the Tolbooth

If you thought the music festival season was over then think again! On Saturday 27th September, Reloaded, the Tolbooth’s platform for emerging bands, is hosting it’s own festival and you can leave your wellies at home!
The ambitious event takes place in the Tolbooth and will encompass 3 stages: The Main Stage, The Attic Stage and The Acoustic Stage and feature 16 acts playing throughout the venue from 4.30pm.

Tolbooth’s Music Development Officer, Stephen Hume explains "Stirling and Falkirk have some great bands and it’s time they started to gain recognition, we wanted to put this event on to highlight the fantastic scene".

Stephen hopes that the Fest will become an annual event and is extremely pleased to have secured two great headliners; "Attic Lights are making a lot of noise in the industry just now with their jangly Teenage Fanclub-esque pop whilst Amusement Parks on Fire are slightly darker and have a good cult following, which will make for a fantastic mix on the night."

Saturday 27th September, 4.30pm £10

What's On in Stirling


The population of Stirling will rise dramatically over the next week as nine thousand students are welcomed for the new academic year at the University of Stirling.
Among the huge influx are over 2,500 new students, with most of the first year undergraduates arriving on Saturday 13 September. About 25 per cent of them are coming from overseas, representing about 80 countries.

In total, about 9,000 students and 2,000 staff make up the term-time population of the University of Stirling, so there is a major and beneficial - impact on the city.

The University is holding Open Days on Wednesday 24 September and Saturday 4 October. These are days when school pupils, college students, parents, teachers, careers advisers and anyone else interested in studying at the University of Stirling are welcome to come and visit. There will be tours of the campus, offer presentations, talks and displays. A range of information desks are also available where you can speak to University staff, academics, and current students.


Thousands of visitors are expected to enjoy a slice of campus life on Saturday 30 August at the University of Stirling’s celebratory Open Day.

This is the final major event in the University’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations and it promises to be a great family day out, with a huge range of attractions indoors and out. Everyone coming to the campus will be given a free programme and map, showing where and when all the activities take place.

Helicopter over Stirling, Paddle your own canoe, Teaching Tasters, a series of fascinating short talks from the University’s academics, Garden delight plant sale, Health and Fitness MOT, Guided tours, Barbecue. an outdoor ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’


The impact of cancer on everyday life can be shattering, so people affected by the disease will welcome an opportunity to share their experiences at Scotland’s leading cancer care research centre.

The Cancer Care Research Centre (CCRC) is holding its annual Open Day on Wednesday 3 September. It is a chance for everyone affected by cancer – including patients, carers, academics, researchers, health care professionals and policy makers - to meet and network with others.

The doors are open from 2-5 pm at the Centre’s base, in the Innovation Park on the University of Stirling campus, and admission is free. Professor Nora Kearney, Director of the CCRC, said: “We want to encourage people affected by cancer, and people working in cancer care, to learn from our work and join us in it. This is an informal opportunity to discover more about our work, including our plans for the future.

What's On in Stirling

The Scribbler's Picnic

Stirling's only outdoor music festival The Scribbler's Picnic will take place on Sunday, August 24 from 12noon - 6pm.
There will be five stages of music including an eclectic mix on the main stage, acoustic cafe, folk club, and two young bands stages.

Alongside the feast of music there will be a range of displays from local organisations and clubs, and a variety of charity stalls.
There will be bouncy castles for the kids and a licenced bar and bbq for the adults.

The family funday is held to showcase local musical talent and all proceeds go toward five cancer charities CHAS, Strathcarron Hospice, Maggies Centres, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Previous artists who have supported the day and came along to play include The Hazey Janes and Jack Bruce (Cream).
Charity patrons include Eddie Reader and Dougie McLean.
The event is held in memory of local musician, teacher and writer (The Scribbler) Graham Whitelaw who died of cancer in 2001.
More than £40,000 has been raised for charity by The Scribbler's Picnic over the last six years.

What's On in Stirling

Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci

 leonardo da vinci at the stirling smith An Exhibition to Celebrate the Sixtieth Birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales Graciously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen

To celebrate the 60th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales on 14 November 2008, ten of the Royal Collection's finest drawings by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) will travel to museums and galleries across the United Kingdom in 2008-9. The exhibition will visit The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling from 8th August to 2nd November 2008.

The Royal Collection contains the world's most important group of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. These delicate works are preserved in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle and are among the greatest treasures of the Collection. Leonardo's drawings are the richest, most wide-ranging, technically brilliant and endlessly fascinating of any artist, and this exhibition has been selected to demonstrate the extraordinary scope of his interests. It includes studies for painting, sculpture and architecture; a beautiful portrait of a young woman and a caricature of a grotesque old man; two exquisite studies of a dissected human skull and two of plants; a drawing of an arsenal, probably intended for a treatise on warfare; a highly accurate map of the river Arno, surveyed by Leonardo himself; a design for a dragon costume and an apocalyptic image of a deluge. The drawings demonstrate all the techniques and materials that Leonardo routinely used - metalpoint, pen and ink, brush and ink, watercolour, and red and black chalks.


Freedom of Stirling for oldest veteran

Lieutenant Colonel Francis William Saunders MBE, ERD has been granted ‘Freedom of the City’ in recognition of his long-standing commitment and contribution to the public life of the City of Stirling as a soldier, politician and citizen.

Stirling Provost Fergus Wood conferred Freedom of the City on Colonel Saunders - the first time the city has bestowed its highest honour on an individual since receiving city status in 2002.

The honour was granted during the joint TA’s Centenary and Pipers Trail Veterans Day Civic reception hosted by Provost Wood and Brigadier David Allfrey MBE Commander 51 (Scottish) Brigade as part of the weekend of Veterans Day celebrations.

Frank has a remarkable war record. He was part of the British Expeditionary Force in 1939 and was evacuated on the fall of France. He saw action with the Western Desert Force and the 8th Army in North Africa, with the 2nd Polish Corps of the 8th Army in the Italian Campaign and with 3rd Corps during the Civil War in Greece. In 1947 he was relegated to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and retired from the reserve in 1961.

Stirling Council hosted two weeks of celebrations for Veterans Day, which included the UK’s first Veteran-themed Film Festival, the Veterans Day Parade on Saturday 12 July with the Pipers Trail, Band of 7 SCOTS and up to 500 Veterans marching through the city centre, Military Tattoo, squadron fly-through and a service at the Church of the Holy Rude.

The Chinese State Circus presents
The Olympic Nations Tour

the chinese state circus stirling kings park The circus that changed Big Top entertainment forever, explodes into 2008 with the greatest family entertainment ever assembled beyond the Great Wall of China.

Direct from China, a cast of more than 30 world-class acrobats, deadly martial arts exponents form the Shaolin Temple, and artistes from the internationally acclaimed Peking Opera have been specially assembled to create a lavish and thrilling all-action show to match the celebrated "One Hundred Entertainments" for the great Emperors.

Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 June


Stirling Veterans Day

Stirling will host Scotland's premier Veterans Day event on Saturday 12 July 2008.

Veterans Day recognises and honours the contribution of our veterans past and present and acknowledges the skills our veterans have to offer and are able to pass on to young people.

A series of events will lead up to Saturday 12 July. Highlights include:
Pipers Trail procession of pipebands sweeping down from the castle Esplanade through the city centre to celebrate the Territorial Army's 100th anniversary
a spectacular Gala Day with RAF flypast
musical events
many displays
exhibitions in King's Park
UK's first -ever veterans themed film festival at the macrobert arts centre
exclusive interview with festival patron, veteran and The Longest Day star Richard Todd
displays in schools and libraries across the Stirling Area

On Saturday 12 July, the whole family can enjoy an exciting free day out in Stirling's Kings Park with music, displays and exhibitions, a tattoo, parachute jumps and all the spectacle of an RAF flypast. Schools will display their veterans project work, advice and information for veterans will be available, and there's the chance to find out about The Stirling Project's ongoing work to re-build a Stirling - the namesake aircraft which played a major role in the Second World War.

Visit the Stirling Veterans Day website

Broaden Your Mind - Stirling Lectures Day

Arranged as part of a wider series of events to celebrate The University of Stirling's 40th Anniversary Alumni Reunion weekend. The lectures are not only fascinating, they are also free. And everyone is invited. While you are visiting the campus, why not take one of the university tours? These run from midday until 3.30pm and give an insight into some lesser known aspects of University of Stirling life.

Find out more in the Whar's On Around Stirling Guide

le Weekend 2008
le weekend programme

Join us for three days of no limits music experience.

The 11th Le Weekend festival boasts an impressive line up of international artists from 9 countries, has shed some of the more experimental vibes of previous years and has emerged with accents of pop and a greater general appeal.

The voice is the most intimate instrument of expression and at this year’s festival we have at least two of the most beautiful around in Victoria Bergsman from Taken by Trees and the iconic haunting sound of Annette Peacock who has not performed in the UK for over 20 years.

Le Weekend ventures outside of the heavy Tolbooth walls this year into the even more imposing space of the Church of the Holy Rude. BIG LUNG, David Fennessy’s new piece for organ and percussion will explore this beast of a machine filling the church’s gothic halls.

This year the hub of the festival will be the cafe bar, where the National Jazz Trio of Scotland will keep the intimacy direct with their delicate melodic twisted grooves. Bill Wells, from the trio, will also launch his very own Real Book, DJs will play some discreet tunes and Monorail will have well chosen product for sale.

Tickets: Day Pass £15/£10 Festival Pass £35/£25
Book at www.leweekendfestival.com or call 01786 27 4000

Stirling to stage revolutionary film festival

From 7 May to 1 June 2008, the MacRobert filmhouse, with the support of the School of Languages, Cultures and Religions at the University of Stirling, will be screening a series of films on the theme of 'Revolutions', to coincide with the University's 40th anniversary celebrations.

The series offers an opportunity to see a selection of films by revolutionary film-makers of the past four decades, with a variety of films encompassing many genres, nationalities and styles by directors including Fellini, Roeg, Visconti, Kiarostami, Loach and many more. All screenings are open to the general public.

Some of the screenings will be preceded by a brief introductory talk. Professor Bill Marshall (SLCR, University of Stirling) will introduce Get Carter on 10 May, Dr Sarah Neely (Film, Media and Journalism, University of Stirling) will introduce Stella Does Tricks on 23 May, Dr Pedram Khosronoejad (University of St Andrews, Anthropology Dept) will introduce Five on 30 May and Lizelle Bisschoff (Director of the Africa in Motion film festival) will give a brief introduction to Night of Truth on 31 May.

For further information, please see the MacRobert programme or website, or contact Dr Cristina Johnston (cristina.johnston@stir.ac.uk).

Week 1
Wed 7 May, 7.45pm
Amarcord (Fellini, 1973)
Fri 9 May, 8.15pm
The Killing of Sister George (Aldrich, 1968)
Sat 10 May, 5.15pm
Get Carter (Hodges, 1971)
Sun 11 May 5.15pm
Death in Venice (Visconti, 1971)

Week 2
Wed 14 May, 7.30pm
Cabaret (Fosse, 1972)
Fri 16 May, 8.15pm
Performance (Roeg, 1970)
Sat 17 May, 5.15pm
Sans Soleil (Marker, 1982)
Sun 18 May, 8.15pm
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Davies, 1988)

Week 3
Wed 21 May, 7.30pm
To Sleep With Anger (Burnett, 1990)
Fri 23 May, 5.15pm
Stella Does Tricks (Giedroyc, 1996)
Sat 24 May, 1.30pm
Kirikou et la sorcière (Ocelot, 1998)
Sun 25 May, 5.15pm
Fate (Demirkubuz, 2001)

Week 4
Wed 28 May, 7.30pm
Badasssss! (van Peebles, 2004)
Fri 30 May, 8.15pm
Five (Kiarostami, 2004)
Sat 31 May, 8.15pm
Night of Truth/Nuit de la vérité (Nacro, 2005)
Sun 1 June, 5.15pm
Kes (Loach, 1969)

Countryside Action Days at Doune Ponds

STIRLING Council's Countryside Service is inviting people who want hands-on conservation experience to come along to Doune Ponds on Sunday 20 and Tuesday 22 April, 2008. Volunteers are being urged to take part in this month’s Countryside Action Days, to remove some more fences on the site and spring-cleaning bird hides. The fences are no longer needed to protect the trees from rabbits and removing them opens up the site making it look more natural.

For both days please meet in the car park at Doune Ponds at 10am or 1pm or come and find the Countryside Rangers on the site anytime until 3pm. There will be a variety of work to suit most ages and abilities. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for outdoor practical work. Tools and light refreshments will be provided but bring a packed lunch if attending all day. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

This is just one of a series of conservation tasks planned over the coming year throughout Stirling Council area. The next Community Action Day will be on Sunday April 27 in Strathblane. Further information will follow or visit our Countryside web pages for an update.

Please contact Stirling Council Countryside Ranger Claire Bird on 01786 443159 for further information or to volunteer.

the Blend - Stirling's Roots Music Festival

the blend programme

This year throughout March and around Stirling the Blend will host Festival some wonderful roots music concerts. After the success of last year’s Rural Blend, some of our very best young traditional players are once again featured in Killin, Brig O’Turk and Balfron. The main 4-day event covers the spectrum of traditional music, with the fiery finesse of Daimh, Lau and Jenna Reid. The new generation of singers is represented by Lisa Knapp and Siobhan Miller and a wealth of experience and passion from the acclaimed fado singer Dona Rosa and our very own Rona Lightfoot and Margaret Bennett.

There is a strong youth element this year too, with children from Raploch schools coming in on Blend Friday as part of the musician in residency programme, and on Saturday afternoon some of these young learners get the opportunity to play in the auditorium. Also the Blend marks the launch of the debut album by Sgiobalta, a group of young local musicians well known to the Tolbooth. There will also be a great range of classes and sessions.

The Tolbooth thanks Get Reel, the Brig O’Turk Village Hall Committee, Rev and Mrs Lincoln, along with communities of Killin, Balfron and Brig O’Turk whose enthusiasm and commitment have helped contribute to the Rural Blend.

We Are Together

March 7th sees the much-anticipated cinematic release of what is set to be this year's most heart-warming documentary. Filmed over three years, We Are Together tells the remarkable and moving story of a group of AIDS orphans from South Africa who use the power of song to overcome hardship and loss. With unforgettable characters, soaring music and a plot full of surprises, We Are Together has been wowing audiences at film festivals around the world, winning an impressive 13 international awards last year, including Audience Awards at both Tribeca and Edinburgh!

We Are Together is the debut film from Rise Films co-founders Teddy Leifer and Paul Taylor. Through the Rise Foundation, a registered charity, the two have pledged to donate all proceeds from the film and accompanying soundtrack to support the Agape orphanage featured in the film and other AIDS related charities in South Africa.

We Are Together will be screening at the Macrobert University of Stirling between 4-7 April.


Do summit different - Conquer a Corbett

Volunteers needed to climb 219 mountains for people affected by cancer. Adventurers are being challenged to climb more than 200 mountains to raise cash for people affected by cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland want people to sign up to take part in its Conquer a Corbett challenge, which raised over £40,000 for the charity in 2007.

Last year fundraisers climbed 129 of the Corbetts for Macmillan, but this year the charity want to have someone climb every single one of the country's 219 Corbetts - the name of all Scotland's hills and mountains between 2500ft and 2999ft high.

Conquer a Corbett runs throughout May. Anyone with a moderate level of fitness can take part, as along with some very challenging mountains suitable for seasoned mountain-climbers, there are easier hills that are suitable for those who have never climbed before.

All those who take part can choose which Corbett to climb, and choose when to do it ? as long as it's in May. Participants can climb more than one Corbett, and challenges can be completed in teams. In fact Macmillan recommends that inexperienced climbers don't take on the challenge alone.

How to get ahead in the music industry

Reloaded, the Tolbooth's platform for emerging bands, has brought together some of the top music industry professionals working in Scotland today to answer your questions! The Info Sessions at the Tolbooth, on Saturday 23 February, will give emerging bands and musicians the chance to learn from some of the best about releasing a record and gigging and touring.

There will also be a DJing workshop and the fantastic opportunity for emerging local bands to play live in front of a top A&R panel of record scouts and musicians. The day starts at 2pm with Releasing A Record featuring Emma Pollock (Delgados/Chemikal Underground), John Williamson (Belle & Sebastian Manager), Alex Papasimakopoulou (Everymatic PR) and Gavin Robertson (Broad St. Digital).

The second session on Gigging and Touring starts at 3pm and features Dee Bahl (Biffy Clyro Manager), Gareth Russell (Idlewild Bassist), Ally Gray (Dicelines Promotions/EmuBands) and Robert Hicks (Beyond Promotions).

Local bands playing in front of the crack A&R panel at 4pm will have to impress Ali Davidson (Warner Bros Records), David O'Hagan (Mercury), Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Francis McDonald (Shoeshine Records/BMX Bandits). However, those who miss out can bring their demos and chat to the panel after the session.

Event organiser, and Tolbooth music development officer, Stephen Hume said, "It is fantastic that we have been able to bring some of the very best people in the Scottish professional music scene to the Tolbooth. Stirling has a lot of emerging musical talent and I can't think of a better lineup to give them an insight into what it really takes to make it. We are really looking forward to bands coming from not just Stirling but from throughout Scotland to what really is an essential day for all aspiring bands."

The day ends with the monthly Reloaded band night, featuring the critically acclaimed The Twilight Sad, at 7.30pm.
Tickets: Reloaded Info Sessions, £3
The Twilight Sad, £6
Special offer: ticket for both, £8

BRIDGE an exhibition of paintings and ceramics by Robert Euman

The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum are delighted to host the first Stirling exhibition of artist Robert Euman. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Euman works from his Edinburgh studio, regularly exhibiting throughout Britain in one-man shows and group exhibitions.

Influences in Euman's work range from European Symbolism to the minimalists of North America.

Euman chose the title Bridge to express his working methods. He creates a diverse mix of figurative and abstract subjects in his paintings. 'I see the work as each individual piece lying at a certain point on a bridge.'


New Vue 8 screen state-of-the-art cinema arrives in Stirling

Vue Entertainment, the UK’s leading developer and operator of state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas has invested £2.5m in the Forthside development of Stirling. The cinema will open on Friday 18th January 2008 and will be the first multiplex cinema to be opened in Stirling.

Guests can expect to be amazed when Vue opens to a stunning eight screen all luxury stadium seated cinema with wall to ceiling to floor huge screens, enhanced by the most progressive projection and Dolby Digital Surround Sound technology. All auditoriums will give guests a chance to upgrade their seats to 'Superior Seating'. These are leather seats offering an even higher level of luxury comfort, extra leg room and are placed in prime positions to view the big screens, making them the best seats in the house.

Following highly successful trials and introducing for the very first time in Scotland is Vue Evolution, a new concept screen complete with two and four seater sofa pods, luxury leather superior seats and enormous bean bags. This will create a unique environment for Vue customers to relax and enjoy their chosen movie in a level of comfort not seen before.

The Larger than Live screenings of music, sport and comedy are amongst other successful trials to Vue via satellite link up, offering guests greater choice of product on the big screen. These screenings have included Formula One, Ross Noble, Kylie: White Diamond and the most recently sold out performance of Take That.

Vue Entertainment’s CEO Tim Richards said: "This is a very exciting time for Vue as we are proud to open our latest state-of-the-art cinema in Stirling. We are dedicated to making a visit to the cinema into a total leisure experience and through our continuing research and development we remain committed to evolving new concepts in cinema design and comfort. We now look forward to welcoming and serving the local community of Stirling for many years to come."

Reserved seating option will be available, allowing customers to choose their seats when booking their tickets. The experience is further enhanced as guests can choose from a wide selection of refreshments in the fully licensed bar, Ben and Jerry’s counter and café. All tickets can be purchased and collected at any till giving customers a chance to save time queuing by purchasing their refreshments and cinema ticket in a single transaction.

In addition, disabled access is available throughout the cinema with upper level balconies in selected auditoria, each accommodating space for wheelchair users and providing a great view of the big screen at the same time. Innovations still to come include mobile ticketing where guests can have their tickets sent to their mobile phone and print at home ticketing.

For the latest news on the development and to register to receive news, offers and film times please visit www.myvue.com.

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