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Stirling News
Find current news, events and up to the minute happenings around the city on the updated Stirling News pages.

Stirling News and Events 2014

January February March April May June July September October November December

December

STIRLING'S HOGMANAY 2014

Stirling is the place to be this Hogmanay. Join the revelers on Stirling Castle Esplanade at our family-friendly outdoor concert featuring live music from a sensational lineup and a spectacular firework display at midnight. With compere Steve McKenna.

Stirling's Hogmanay concert will say hello to 2015 in style with music from headliners THE WATERBOYS, award winning celtic powerhouse SKERRYVORE, acclaimed singer/songwriter JJ GILMOUR and MODEL AEROPLANES.

Or step inside The Albert Halls and join 200 guests at the Hogmanay Ceilidh. A wonderful evening of delicious food and drink, and live Scottish music, dancing and entertainment.

Book your tickets now at http://www.stirlinghogmanay.co.uk/ telephone 01786 274000 / 01786 473544

Stirling Castle Esplanade
Wed 31 December 2014
gates 8.30pm

Tickets: £27.50 / £10 for those aged 15yrs and under.
Buy 10 tickets and pay for only 9.

There will be no access to the event without a ticket. ALL children must have a ticket.


Royal festivities reign at Stirling Castle

Step back in time and experience Christmas past

Stirling Castle will be transporting visitors back in time to the 1500s to experience how Christmas might once have been celebrated within the castle walls at the royal court. Over the course of the afternoon on Sunday 7th December from 12.30pm -3.30pm, a special event will take place featuring costumed performers who will take on the role of the royal party and their courtiers, showing visitors how the castle might once have looked and felt at Christmas time.

The castle’s Chapel Royal – the last royal building to be built in Stirling – will provide a backdrop for the hustle and bustle of the royal court as they prepare for a grand festive feast, fit for a King. The castle’s cooks will be on hand to talk about the dishes that will grace the King’s table, whilst the ladies of the court prepare their outfits and dresses.

Meanwhile, the castle’s Great Hall will once again be filled with festive cheer as visitors have the opportunity to hear some of the music that might once have entertained the King. His courtiers will be offering instruction in the noble art of dance for those wanting to try the steps for themselves. Visitors will also have the opportunity to discover more about the rules and regulations of court etiquette and learn about the fine Christmas fare that might once have been enjoyed by the royal party. Whilst the court jester will be on hand to entertain and put visitor’s ‘foolery’ abilities to the test.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience at Historic Scotland, said, "The event offers visitors to the castle a unique opportunity to experience what Christmas might once have looked like during the period of James IV. The Castle’s Chapel Royal and Great Hall will play host to costumed performers re-enacting the roles of the royals and their courtiers to provide a real sense of a 1500s Christmas at the castle."

"The afternoon will be filled with opportunities for visitors to learn and discover more about the Christmas traditions from this period, from the food and music to court entertainment and etiquette. Whilst there will also be the chance to experience historic pastimes and dance we’ll also be offering a modern take on Christmas with arts and crafts drop-in sessions."

This event is included within the price of admission to Stirling Castle.


new Exhibitions at Stirling Smith

In Gallery 1 until 6th January 2015 Diversity - Art Unlimited brings together a group of artists who have exhibited together for many years. There will be something to appeal to everyone, including paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics and assemblages. All the Artwork is original and for sale and could make an interesting and unusual Christmas gift.

This Christmas Ailsa Black brings her first major exhibition to the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling from 6 December until 17th January 2015.

Keep it simple and be happy is the essence of Ailsa Black's art. Images are created which capture the good things in life - an imaginary captured conversation between a hare and a blackbird, or the quiet stolen moment a man shares with his dog.

The inspiration drawn from her love of the land and sea, animals, birds and people presented in a contemporary and humorous way, make a popular choice as Christmas Gifts. All art works are for sale, with prices starting at just £69.

Find out more at Whats On at the Smith in Stirling


November

That’s the ticket

As part of this year’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations people in Stirlingshire still have time to get their hands on tickets offering them free access to some of the area’s top heritage attractions by pre-registering online. Tickets are still available for popular attractions including Doune Castle, Castle Campbell and Stirling Castle which are amongst 35 of Historic Scotland’s winter ticketed attractions participating in the St. Andrew’s weekend ticket giveaway.

Thousands of free tickets have been released allowing visitors free entry to experience some of the nation’s top historic attractions and properties by pre- registering online for tickets at www.ticketgiveaway.co.uk.

Applications for remaining ticketed Historic Scotland properties can be made for either Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November with each ticket offering free admission for up to two adults and three children. Registration closes at 5pm on Friday, 28th November.

Whilst the number of tickets available are based on capacity at each attraction – to ensure a quality experience for visitors – there is no limit to how many sites can be applied for. To avoid disappointment visitors are being urged to act quickly and register so they don’t miss out on the chance to visit a great historic property for free.

Commenting on this year’s Ticket Giveaway, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland, Stephen Duncan, said, "There has been a great demand for tickets this year to date, however there is still limited availability at a number of sites offering people the chance to experience some of Scotland’s most iconic heritage attractions for free."

"With tickets providing complimentary entry for some of the country’s top attractions still available, including well-known properties in Stirlingshire, visitors still have time to apply for their tickets for a St Andrew’s Weekend to remember."

The ticket giveaway will close at 5pm on Friday, 28th November. For tickets and a full list of participating sites visit www.ticketgiveaway.co.uk


Christmas Lights Switch On

Stirling’s Christmas Lights Switch-On and Santa’s Reindeer Parade takes place on Sunday 16 November with an afternoon of family entertainment from 12 noon until 5pm, the perfect way to get in the mood for Christmas. This is a free event, delivered in partnership with Stirling Council, The Thistles Shopping Centre and Capital FM.

Santa’s parade starts at the Corn Exchange at midday, then heads down King Street and along to Murray Place, where the reindeer will stop for a rest until 3.30pm. While they rest, Santa will make his way through the Thistles Shopping Centre, where children are welcome to visit his grotto to share their Christmas wishes.

Capital FM’s presenters, Des and Jennie, will entertain visitors with festive fun before the lights are switched on. Performances from Stageworx and Dance Star Academy will keep the family entertained and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are bringing their fire engine along to give advice about fire safety over the Christmas period.

The Christmas lights will be switched on at 5pm by the child who wins the Thistles competition.


Battle of the bards at Stirling Castle

One of Scotland’s oldest art forms, Flyting, is to make a comeback at a unique event taking place at Stirling Castle, once home to the Stewart Kings and Queens. Taking place on the evening of Friday 14th November, Stirling Castle’s Great Hall will again play host to a once familiar sight, as costumed performers bring back to life the traditional Scottish poetic practice of flyting, which sees two people go head to head in a war of words.

In a special event, created in partnership with 'Previously...Scotland's History Festival', visitors will see the fearsome fight of 1504 between William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy – two of James IV’s makars – brought into the 21st Century. Re-enactors will enter into a heated exchange – originally played out in front of the court of James IV – laced with simile, metaphor, learning and alliteration, until the court votes to choose which poet loses the verbal joust.

Visitors will be welcomed to the castle’s Great Hall by a Renaissance musician before having the opportunity to learn more about flyting, which is thought to date back to medieval times, whilst experts from the Scottish Language Dictionaries will be on hand to analyse the battle of the bards, exploring the use of colourful language.

Historic Scotland’s, Assistant Events and Filming Manager, Alison Stalker, said, "This truly unique event will see a traditionally Scottish genre of poetry brought into the 21st Century. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience a battle through the use of language, quick quips and witty remarks in addition to learning more about the famous flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy whilst hearing expert post-fight analysis. This is an event not to be missed by any budding wordsmiths."

Susan Morrison, Festival Director, Previously...Scotland's History Festival, said, "This is bringing the flyting home. James IV was a remarkably cultured patron of the arts who encouraged his craftsmen, painters and poets to reach new levels of creative achievement. The Great Hall is the perfect setting for this fantastic performance of this wonderful art form, with its particularly Scottish trait of high-flow imagery and explosive language. We at Previously…Scotland's History Festival are thrilled with the incredible support given to this event by Historic Scotland."

Tickets for this event are still available and are priced at £15 for adults and £10 for concessions. Doors open at 6.45pm. Historic Scotland members are entitled to a 10% discount on ticket prices. Please note that this event is suitable for adults only.


October

Scottish Paranormal Festival in Stirling

Stirling Paranormal Festival

Ghosts, UFOs, Aliens, Creatures, Hauntings – you will find them all in here, in the form of serious talks and lectures, films, theatre, music, storytelling, psychics, ghost hunts, the Caledonian Vampyre Ball, and even comedy. Whether you are a believer or a confirmed sceptic, a UFO expert or a curious enquirer, a warlock or a witch, a cynical adult or a child who loves a good, scary story – there is something here for you.

Taking place from Thursday 30 October to Sunday 02 November, the Scottish Paranormal Festival will be from the beginning the biggest, the most eclectic and the most significant paranormal festival in the UK. The intention is to make it the biggest paranormal festival in the world, and Stirling the only place to be on the planet at Halloween.

The main Festival will take place in the Albert Halls, The Tolbooth, The Smith Art Gallery and Museum, and Cowane’s Hospital. There will also be a film strand at the Macrobert Centre cinema. Visitors can also venture out on the famous Ghost Tours conducted by "The Stirling Hangman" himself, or take part in ghost vigils or make a visit to the Church of the Holy Rude and its ancient graveyard.

You might not have final proof of the existence of ghosts or UFOS by the end of the weekend but you will have assembled enough evidence that “weird stuff happens” to make your own decision.

The Festival has been originated and produced by Peter Broughan, the Scottish film producer responsible for international movies such as the Oscar-nominated Rob Roy, and The Flying Scotsman. His next major film is next year’s Paradise, with Peter Mullan writing and directing. Broughan, who lives nearby on Loch Lomondside, already has a strong association with the city, having established the Scottish Cultural Memory Project at the University of Stirling.

Find out more at www.paranormalscotland.com

The Festival will feature

Talks and lectures on all aspects of the paranormal spectrum
The Caledonian Vampyre Ball on Halloween night
The Scottish Paranormal Film Festival
Fresh Blood, a filmmaking competition for younger filmmakers
A live performance of "Haunting", a song and story suite in Gaelic and English
Screenings of Murnau’s silent classic "Nosferatu" with live music
The Ghost Box, where people can record their own weird experiences
Star Psychic shows
Paranormal Comedy, including the world’s worst psychic
Ghost Tours and Ghost Hunts
The Bonnybridge Skywatch
Halloween storytelling and films for kids
Paranormal Theatre

Coming all the way from the USA, The Navajo Rangers – Native American federal officers and real-life X-Files operatives, James Fox – ecological campaigner, UFO filmmaker, and star of TV programmes like Chasing UFOs and UFO Hunters. Also Nick Pope, who was responsible for the UK Government’s official UFO desk - he now writes and speaks extensively on the subject of UFOS, and appears regularly on TV.

The Caledonian Vampyre Ball
Gordon Smith, "The Psychic Barber"
Ian D. Montfort, "The Sunderland Psychic", and star of the Edinburgh Fringe
The first screening in the UK of the only feature-film ever made of James Hogg’s classic Scottish novel of the supernatural, "Confessions of a Justified Sinner". "Memoirs of a Sinner" by director Wojciech Jerzy Has was produced in Poland in 1986
A short play by David Kinnaird about local psychic Helen Duncan, the last woman to be tried for witchcraft in the UK – in 1942. And a Night at the Smith Museum
The Ghost Box - A chance to tell your own strange tale for posterity
Discussions, Workshops and Vigils for both new and experienced Ghost Hunters
A Skywatching session at the world-famous UFO hotspot of Bonnybridge
Christina Stewart’s group presents in English and Gaelic the aptly titled "Haunting", a song and story suite on Scottish paranormal themes, stories and legends
David Allison presents his stunning, multi-layered, one-person accompaniment to Murnau’s 1922 vampire tale Nosferatu, a towering and chilling classic of the silent cinema


It's Vintage Darling

There will be a charity vintage fair in aid of Strathcarron Hospice at Bridge of Allan Parish Church on Saturday October 25th.

There will be stands selling vintage clothing and collectables and the chance to enjoy afternoon tea at the free event, which takes place in the Chalmers Suite from 11am-4pm.

If you'd like to take part as a stand holder, you can contact the Strathcarron Hospice Fundraising Department on 01324 826222, or email fundraising@strathcarronhospice.org for more information.

The cost of a stand for the day is £30.

Entry by donation at Bridge of Allan Parish Church Hall


Strange Behaviours at Stirling Tolbooth

Stirling Strange Behaviours Tolbooth Festival

30+ acts over 3 stages

Friday 21 and Saturday 22 November

Tolbooth’s 2-Day multi-stage music festival returns, building on the past successes of the brilliant Reloaded Fest but taking a turn in a slightly different direction.

Prepare for big hitters in alt, indie and electronic music. Prepare for a whole stage of math rock, prog and noise rock on the Friday. Prepare for that stage being taken over with hip hop, B-Boys and live graffiti on the Saturday. Prepare for surprise unannounced acts in unusual spaces in the building. Prepare for a wealth of talented stripped back and acoustic acts in the café/bar.

In short, prepare for a whole host of glorious strange behaviours.

Tickets are £10 for each day when bought in advance, or £12 when you get them on the day. Buy tickets for both days and only pay £15.

Find out more at Whats On at the Tolbooth


Scottish Paranormal Festival in Stirling

Stirling Paranormal Festival

Ghosts, UFOs, Aliens, Creatures, Hauntings – you will find them all in here, in the form of serious talks and lectures, films, theatre, music, storytelling, psychics, ghost hunts, the Caledonian Vampyre Ball, and even comedy. Whether you are a believer or a confirmed sceptic, a UFO expert or a curious enquirer, a warlock or a witch, a cynical adult or a child who loves a good, scary story – there is something here for you.

Taking place from Thursday 30 October to Sunday 02 November, the Scottish Paranormal Festival will be from the beginning the biggest, the most eclectic and the most significant paranormal festival in the UK. The intention is to make it the biggest paranormal festival in the world, and Stirling the only place to be on the planet at Halloween.

The main Festival will take place in the Albert Halls, The Tolbooth, The Smith Art Gallery and Museum, and Cowane’s Hospital. There will also be a film strand at the Macrobert Centre cinema. Visitors can also venture out on the famous Ghost Tours conducted by "The Stirling Hangman" himself, or take part in ghost vigils or make a visit to the Church of the Holy Rude and its ancient graveyard.

You might not have final proof of the existence of ghosts or UFOS by the end of the weekend but you will have assembled enough evidence that “weird stuff happens” to make your own decision.

The Festival has been originated and produced by Peter Broughan, the Scottish film producer responsible for international movies such as the Oscar-nominated Rob Roy, and The Flying Scotsman. His next major film is next year’s Paradise, with Peter Mullan writing and directing. Broughan, who lives nearby on Loch Lomondside, already has a strong association with the city, having established the Scottish Cultural Memory Project at the University of Stirling.

Find out more at www.paranormalscotland.com

The Festival will feature

Talks and lectures on all aspects of the paranormal spectrum
The Caledonian Vampyre Ball on Halloween night
The Scottish Paranormal Film Festival
Fresh Blood, a filmmaking competition for younger filmmakers
A live performance of "Haunting", a song and story suite in Gaelic and English
Screenings of Murnau’s silent classic "Nosferatu" with live music
The Ghost Box, where people can record their own weird experiences
Star Psychic shows
Paranormal Comedy, including the world’s worst psychic
Ghost Tours and Ghost Hunts
The Bonnybridge Skywatch
Halloween storytelling and films for kids
Paranormal Theatre

Coming all the way from the USA, The Navajo Rangers – Native American federal officers and real-life X-Files operatives, James Fox – ecological campaigner, UFO filmmaker, and star of TV programmes like Chasing UFOs and UFO Hunters. Also Nick Pope, who was responsible for the UK Government’s official UFO desk - he now writes and speaks extensively on the subject of UFOS, and appears regularly on TV.

The Caledonian Vampyre Ball
Gordon Smith, "The Psychic Barber"
Ian D. Montfort, "The Sunderland Psychic", and star of the Edinburgh Fringe
The first screening in the UK of the only feature-film ever made of James Hogg’s classic Scottish novel of the supernatural, "Confessions of a Justified Sinner". "Memoirs of a Sinner" by director Wojciech Jerzy Has was produced in Poland in 1986
A short play by David Kinnaird about local psychic Helen Duncan, the last woman to be tried for witchcraft in the UK – in 1942. And a Night at the Smith Museum
The Ghost Box - A chance to tell your own strange tale for posterity
Discussions, Workshops and Vigils for both new and experienced Ghost Hunters
A Skywatching session at the world-famous UFO hotspot of Bonnybridge
Christina Stewart’s group presents in English and Gaelic the aptly titled "Haunting", a song and story suite on Scottish paranormal themes, stories and legends
David Allison presents his stunning, multi-layered, one-person accompaniment to Murnau’s 1922 vampire tale Nosferatu, a towering and chilling classic of the silent cinema


September

Stirling Fringe Festival 2014

The Stirling Fringe 2014 will fill the streets of the city of with artistic excellence from September 19 to 28.

A year after the first Stirling Fringe Festival, it has returned bigger, bolder and better. Over the 10 day festival, Stirling will host around 50 events in 20 different venues. With everything from art exhibitions, theatre and children’s shows to a mini street food festival, stand-up comedy and a Final Fling Ceilidh at the newly opened Colessio Hotel.

Music lovers are in for a special treat this year as two of Scotland’s cutting edge record labels, Lost Map and Chemikal Underground, bring exclusive showcase events to the festival, featuring some of the most exciting new musical talent in the country

This year’s festival also has an international flavour, with acts from around the world visiting Stirling. Performers from South Africa (Simply Soweto Encha), Sweden (Lyy) and Canada (Wes Zaharuk) will join talent from across the UK in this year’s programme. Not forgetting, of course, a raft of talent from Stirling. And where else in Scotland will you be able to make art from nettles, eat exotic street food, watch a historical re-enactment and dance along to a Swedish folk group - all on the same day.

The Stirling Fringe offers an ambitious programme of music, comedy, theatre, spoken word, art, children's events, poetry and a family-friendly Fringe Sunday.

Find out more at http://stirlingfringe.com


Off the Page Stirling Book Festival

Now in its ninth year, Off the Page is once more bringing an exciting programme of events to Stirling. This local festival offers a wide range of authors and speakers for adults and children of all ages. Highlights this year include talks from Sue Lawrence with Stephen Jardine, Peter May, Scott Hames with Janice Galloway, Denise Mina and Ken Macleod, Sarah Harrison and the return of our Off the Page Family Ceilidh with a twist.

The How to Get Published event, once again runs in partnership with the University of Stirling will feature Zoe Strachan, Lindsey Fraser and Sara Hunt. In addition to a full schools' programme, this year's Off the Page will offer a variety of events for children. Authors appearing will include Cathy Cassidy, Teri Terry, and Frank Rodgers, with lots of special Teddy Bears' Picnic Bookbug sessions throughout the week. Help us celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's 50th Anniversary with Matthew Fitt, and join us for a Magical Unicorn Day with Linda Chapman.

Off the Page will once again share the Friday evening event with Bloody Scotland, the Scottish International Crime Writers Festival, which is being held from 19 - 21 September in Stirling. Events are taking place throughout the Stirling Council area, so something is sure to be happening near you.

Find out more at http://offthepage.stirling.gov.uk


How to Choose?

Written and performed Davey Anderson and Gary McNair

At the MacRobert Arts Centre on Tuesday 9th September, 7.30pm.

Set in a radio station stored in your mind, this humorous and thought-provoking show takes us on an audio journey through interviews with journalists, neurologists and campaigners that are spliced together with narratives and other visuals to make a theatre show called "How to Choose?"

The show brings stories to life in an inventive way with the use of gramophones, tape cassettes and reel to reel recorders in a kind of moving kinetic installation.

The referendum is around the corner. You probably know which way you're gonna go. That's fine, we don't want to persuade you any differently. But how did you choose? And what influenced you? Join award-winning theatre-makers Gary McNair and Davey Anderson as they spin us through an audio journey set in a radio station. Tales and excerpts, from propaganda to a pot luck gamble. How can you ever know it was the right decision?

SEE Whats On at the macrobert


Stirling's Doors Open Days and Archaeology Month.

06 to 07 September 2014

Stirling’s celebration of European Heritage Day combines Doors Open Days with Scottish Archaeology Month resulting in an exciting and varied programme of buildings open, walks and talks.

The Stirling area has a rich history, magnificent scenery and many splended historic buildings and archaeological sites. Explore the intriguing history of the area with Doors Open Days and Archaeology Month. Doors Open Day is Scotland’s largest free annual architectural event.

Visit many historic buildings throughout Stirling and its surrounding area, attend captivating events and visit archaeological sites - all for free. See the Open Doors Booklet and check out exactly which buildings are taking part in this years event. Look out for the blue Doors Open Day banners and balloons at participating buildings and events

Visit many historic buildings throughout Stirling and its surrounding area, attend captivating events and visit archaeological sites - all for free. See the Open Doors Booklet and check out exactly which buildings are taking part in this years event. Look out for the blue Doors Open Day banners and balloons at participating buildings and events


Bridge of Allan artist celebrated in new exhibition at Stirling Smith

Hugh Green’s Stirlingshire

Gallery 1, 28 August - 2 November 2014

The life and work of Hugh Green, an artist who was based in Bridge of Allan, decorator and friend of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is celebrated in a new exhibition in Stirling. The Stirling Smith museum will exhibit Hugh Green’s place in the Arts and Crafts movement in Stirlingshire. As a winner of a Glasgow School of Art medal for textile design in 1915, Hugh Green was a founder member of the Stirling Circle of Arts and Crafts in 1928. His wallpaper, textile and linoleum designs will be shown together for the first time, with his fine watercolour landscapes.

The exhibition was managed and created by historian James Wedlake, who is at the end of his internship as part of the Museums Galleries Scotland programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. James researched into Hugh Green’s life and work, sourcing items for the collection from private ownership, negotiating loans and purchases, conducting interviews, digitising images, selecting frames, and writing a 19,000 word catalogue.

James Wedlake, intern at Stirling Smith Museum, said, "It was an honour to research into Hugh Green’s life and work. We hope that many people across Scotland will be drawn to Stirling Smith to see the exhibition in August and September to find out more about this fascinating man who had a big influence on textile design in Stirlingshire."

This special story of an artist-housepainter has won in kind sponsorship support from premier paint manufacturers, Craig and Rose (established 1829), with match funding from Arts and Business Scotland and Bonham’s Scotland’s International Sale Room.

Gordon McFarlan, Director of Bonhams said, "Until now the work of Hugh Green was so little known that is name didn’t even feature in standard dictionaries of Scottish artists. This situation has now been rectified as a result of the work of James Wedlake and the Smith Art Gallery. Bonhams Scotland is delighted lend its support to this ground-breaking exhibition."

SEE Whats On at Stirling Smith


August

Stirling GhostWalk Discounts

the Happy Hangman at the Old Town Jail in Stirling

We're now entering the last couple of weeks of the Stirling GhostWalk's summer-season - and (finally) are starting to get busier. Remember, folks, that the Happy Hangman offers a 10% Discount to all local hotel, hostel and BandB customers buying their tickets before the show. These discounts are NOT available for those buying tickets from the VisitScotland VIC during the day.

Summer-shows continue at 8.30pm Tuesday-to-Saturday until the end of August - rain, hail, sleet or snow (this is Scottish weather, so anything is possible). Tickets available from the Hangman from 8.10pm.

Off-season shows resume at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays from September.

Please note though, that this discount will only apply to tickets purchased from The Happy Hangman before the show. They do NOT apply to advance sales from VisitScotland.

Find out more about Stirling GhostWalk


New macRobert Live and Cinema Guide for the Autumn Season

macRobert's new Live events guide for Autumn - Winter 2014 is now available. There's drama, there's dance, comedy, shows for the wee ones. Let's just say macrobert has something for everyone, and all ages.

If it's the big screen you prefer then head to macRobert Filmhouse. The NEW September Cinema brochure is now online. From Hollywood blockbusters, cult classics to indie hits, along with some more NT Live screenings, all you need to do is grab your ticket and make yourself comfortable.

The brochure is now available to pick up from macRobert but you can also view the online version here at Whats On at Stirling macrobert


Doune the Rabbit Hole 2014

Friday 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 August

It's time to start getting ready for this year's Doune the Rabbit Hole festival. As well as the fabulous bands already announced including Peatbog Faeries, Balkanarama, Acid Mothers Temple, Secret Chiefs 3, Jeffrey Lewis and The Jrams, Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures to name but a few, Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival now has more acts added to the bill including, Errors, RM Hubbert, The Telescopes, Hector Bizerk, PAWS, The Birthday Suit, Kaktsitsi Drummers and Rebecca Vasmant, Samba Ya Bamba, Trembling Bells, Paddy Steer, The Amphetameanies, Zea (Arnold de Boer of The Ex), Tom Snowball, Blochestra.

Get your tickets now.

Doune the Rabbit Hole is on August 22-24 at Cardross Estate near Port of Menteith.
Full weekend camping tickets available.

Find out more at Doune the Rabbit Hole


Austen classic to be performed against the backdrop of Stirling Castle

One of Jane Austen’s best loved works is to be brought to life at Stirling Castle next month. The castle, the former home of Mary, Queen of Scots, will provide the backdrop to an outdoor production of ‘Sense and Sensibility’, as regency society comes to the castle.

‘Sense and Sensibility’ tells the story of two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, as they take their first foray into eighteenth century society, in a tale of love, friendship and sisterly bonds. The novel, which was first published in 1811, is regarded as one of Austen’s best loved works and has been the subject of numerous adaptations, including perhaps most famously a 1995 film starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.

Now the book will be given the castle treatment as it comes to life in a special outdoor performance by Chapterhouse Theatre Company at Stirling Castle on Thursday, 7th August. The production forms part of Historic Scotland’s annual events programme which ranges from theatrical productions to costumed re-enactments, and this year forms part of Homecoming 2014.

For further information visit www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk


Bridge of Allan Highland Games 2014

Sunday August 3rd 2014

Bridge of Allan is one of Scotland’s premier Highland Games, attracting crowds of between 8,000 and 10,000 people. The games field nestles between Stirling Castle – Scotland’s grandest historic attraction, the beautiful Ochil Hills and the National Wallace Monument, made famous by the blockbuster movie, Braveheart.

The games themselves offer a packed programme of traditional cultural and sporting events. Crowd-pleasing heavyweight competitions, almost two hundred highland dancers and more than a thousand pipers are just some of the highlights of the day. Colourful pipe bands, elegant highland dancers, huge strongmen tossing the caber. A multitude of other events, stalls and entertainments spread out in a picturesque and historic setting. TV presenter Neil Oliver joins us a Chieftain for this year's Bridge of Allan Highland Games.

You can also enjoy running, cycling and wrestling, browse among trade stands and craft stalls and enjoy a wee refreshment or two as you go. For the young ones there’s more thrills to enjoy in the popular funfair, adjoining the Games field.

Whether you live in Scotland and you’re looking for a fascinating day out or you’re visiting on holiday, you can’t fail to be impressed by such a concentration of traditional Scottish events and entertainment. The climax of the day – the massed pipe bands – is one of the most inspiring and emotional sights of Scotland.

Bridge of Allan Highland Games is run to professional standards by dedicated local volunteers who look forward to meeting you on Sunday.

Enjoy the spectacle as hundreds of highland dancers display their graceful art.
Marvel at amazing feats of power and skill shown by top international strongmen.
It’s the battle of the bands, as more than a thousand pipers thrill the crowds.

Find out more at http://bofagames.com/


July

Stirling GhostWalk Freaky Fridays

The Happy Hangman at the Old Town Jail is offering a new, special 'Freaky Fridays' discount. That means, 25% discount for anyone purchasing a ticket for the 8.30pm Friday night shows throughout July on production of a printed copy of the voucher displayed. Simply print off a copy of the voucher above and present it to the Happy Hangman before the show

Please note though, that this discount will only apply to tickets purchased from The Happy Hangman before the show. They do NOT apply to advance sales from VisitScotland.

Find out more about Stirling GhostWalk


Continental Circus Berlin in Stirling - win tickets in our competitition

Continental Circus Berlin comes to Stirling

From Friday 25th to Sunday 27th July at the King’s Park, Continental Circus Berlin brings a brand new spectacular show to Stirling.

From the producers of the some of the world’s finest circuses comes a brand new show, featuring some fantastic performers from all over the world.

This years spectacular features an unrivalled mix of genuine circus talent from every corner of the earth, including The amazing Matrix Troupe Julio from Bulgaria, Keyla Ramache the gyrating Spanish Hula Hoop Queen. Valentin and Partica from Romania - high wire artistes who not only walk the high wire but do so on stilts and even ride a bike along the wire with his wife precariously stood on his shoulders.

From the UK, Rowan Caeron-Brown on the flying cloud swing, Denisa and Aurel ariel strap sensation from Bucharest, The Diamond Duo from The Czech Republic on the jaw dropping Wheel of Death, From Hungary Zel and Zorka hand balancing wonders, From Tanzania the back flipping, fire limboing African Warriors,And from Spain, award winning clowns Los Remaches

Continental Circus Berlin is the finest Circus to come to town, guaranteeing a great show with something for all ages.

For Tickets contact ticketmaster online or call 0844 453 9009
www.circusberlin.co.uk

Why not enter our competitition for your chance to win two pairs of tickets to Continental Circus Berlin. All you have to do is answer this question
Arial strap sensations Denisa and Aurel are from Bucharest. Bucharest is the capital city of which country?

Please email your answer to Continental Circus Berlin Competition. You have until the competition closes on Monday July 21 to get your answer in.

Find out more at Whats On Around Stirling


June

Stirling's Big Weekend

Stirling's biggest ever weekend of entertainment will take place from Fri 27 - Sun 29 June. Stirling's Big Weekend - enjoy the best of city nightlife and entertainment throughout the streets of Stirling.

Stirling Armed Forces Day National Event - a spectacular national celebration to honour UK armed forces past and present begins 11am Sat 28 June from the Castle Esplanade.

Bannockburn Live – a major event marking the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn 28 and 29 June at Bannockburn Events Field - Heritage Centre

Pipefest - thousands of pipers and drummers parade through the city Fri 27 June 6.30pm from the Castle Esplanade.

Find out more at www.stirling2014.co.uk


Dunedin Exhibition opens at the Stirling Smith

This weekend sees the opening of a new exhibition at the Stirling Smith which has travelled 4,000 miles to be with us.

It is the return leg of the exchange of Exhibitions arranged with Stirling’s "sister city", Dunedin, in Florida, celebrating not only this significant year, 2014, but also marking the 50th anniversary of the links between the two communities.

This year from January till April, Stirling’s "Bannockburn 700" exhibition attracted record numbers at Dunedin’s Historical Museum. The American exhibition, which will be with us over the summer is entitled “Dunedin through the Years”, and tells the story of the growth of this Scottish community in the US over its 100 year history.

This American Exhibition opens to the public on Saturday 28th June and runs till 17 August.

Stirling Smith Chairman, Colin O’Brien, who promoted the idea of an exchange of exhibitions this year, said, "I believe we are the only Scottish Art Gallery and Museum to have included an international exhibition in our 2014 programme. This has been achieved through a great deal of hard work on the part of the staff of the museums and generous support from Stirling Council, the Friends of the Smith, individual donations and our own fundraising efforts".

Entry to the Stirling Smith and Exhibitions are free of charge. The Stirling Smith is open Tues – Sat 10.30 – 5pm, Sunday 2-5pm, CLOSED MONDAYS

SEE Whats On at Stirling Smith

Stirling Armed Forces Day on Saturday 28th June

Stirling is proud to host the sixth annual Armed Forces Day National Event. This promises to be one of the brightest and most colourful celebrations the city has ever seen. This fantastic, free family day out kicks off with a parade of serving military personnel of cadets who will be joined by almost 2000 veterans.

Setting off from Stirling Castle's Esplanade, the parade will begin at 6:30pm on Friday 27th June with Pipefest, a spectacular, colourful, must-see parade with thousands of pipers and drummers from across the world.

On Saturday 28th June, the parade will leave Stirling Castle Esplanade at 11am and make its way through the city's historic old town, arriving at the outdoor events arena for the Armed Forces Day National Event. Highlights include - Parade and Drumhead service, Flypast of current and vintage aircraft, Tri-Service simulated combat and rescue mission Tanks and other military vehicles, Live music and entertainment, Unarmed combat display, Military working dogs demonstration.

The Main stage programme begins at 12.35pm, the Aviation programme begins at 1pm and the small arena programme begins at 2.05pm

Visitors are coming from all across Scotland and the rest of Britain to enjoy a great day out and to say thank you to the UK’s Armed Forces, past and present. 2014 is especially important as it’s the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when troops from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland were among those who fought their way across the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe.

When the main events are over, you can stay on for the Stirling Big Night Out and find out what else the city has to offer. And there’s more. As well as the Armed Forces Day National Event, you can join Pipefest and Bannockburn Live, making a total of three great celebrations of history and culture over one weekend.

www.stirlingarmedforcesday.co.uk


Doune the Rabbit Hole launches barter scheme and adds more acts

Doune the Rabbit Hole is a small-scale, family-friendly music and arts festival held over the August bank holiday weekend on the beautiful Cardross Estate. This year it is using the age-old practice of bartering for useful items, in exchange for festival tickets. Organisers need a caravan, tents, yurts, generators, lights, furniture and decorations. The festival website now includes a "Barter" page, allowing anyone to either trade or lend something in return for tickets. See dounetherabbithole.co.uk/barter.

With its idyllic location and carefully curated line-up, Doune the Rabbit Hole offers an array of high-quality artists from around the world. Joining the bill this year are Jeffrey Lewis, Josephine Foster, Peatbog Faeries, Bass Clef, Acid Mother’s Temple, Balkanarama and the elusive Secret Chiefs 3 (a project by former members of Faith No More and Mr Bungle) and many more.

In addition to those already announced, the festival has added the following acts to the bill - The Amphetameanies, The Birthday Suit, Hector Bizerk, Blochestra, Errors, RM Hubbert, Kakatsitsi Drummers and Rebecca Vasmant, PAWS, Tom Snowball, Paddy Steer, The Telescopes, Trembling Bells, Samba Ya Bamba, Zea.

The festival is run by volunteers who are committed to making the weekend the most memorable of the summer. Festivalgoers can also help run the event and are particularly encouraged to join in with the workshops over the weekend, connecting with musicians and other artists to learn about their work.

Doune the Rabbit Hole artistic director Jamie Murray said, "You’d be surprised how many people have an old caravan kicking about that they don’t know what to do with. If they aren’t using it and would like a free festival ticket or two then we’d be very happy to do a trade. We need people’s help to make this the best event we possibly can, so we thought: let’s just put it online and see."

"Likewise, there are loads of things that we could use for the weekend to help make the site look good and we’re very happy to offer festival tickets to repay people’s contributions. We’ve already been offered spades, chairs, yurts and even a giant ex-army parachute but more stuff that we can use would be really helpful. It just seems like a nice, efficient and simple way of operating, which builds a great community feel to the event."

Doune the Rabbit Hole is on August 22-24 at Cardross Estate near Port of Menteith.
Full weekend camping tickets
Adults (over-17s) £72 in advance or £90 at the gate
Youngsters (13-16 inclusive) £35
Children (12 and under) free

Twitter @dounetherabbit
Facebook dounetherabbithole
Website dounetherabbithole.co.uk

Find out more at Doune the Rabbit Hole

Doune the Rabbit Hole Needs YOU

Volunteering is a great fun way of enjoying the festival from the inside. We rely upon a large team of individuals who share our ethos and are committed to helping us to deliver the best possible experience of the festival. We are looking for individuals with an intrest in music, art, performance and community spirit to help us to run things smoothly and deliver the best possible experience for artists, performers and the public.

Find details on the festival website of several ways that you could volunteer.


Stirling Big Weekend

A Weekend of Live Music in The Heart of Scotland.

To celebrate Stirling 2014 the Tolbooth and Albert Halls have put together a Big Weekend of live music and entertainment. The Bruce is a specially commissioned piece by renowned piper and composer, Allan MacDonald, to produce a musical commemoration of the 700th anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn. Hamish Stewart of the Average White Band brings his distinctive song-writing and guitar playing to the weekend. The Springsteen Sessions pay tribute to The Boss in enthralling style and the formidable Fiddlers Bid will sweep you away with their beautiful music. Finally, Scotland's leading jazz musician Laura MacDonald showcases her melodic folk style.

Thursday 26 – Monday 30 June
For Tickets / Info www.stirling.gov.uk/tolbooth
01786 27 4000 / 01786 273 544


Stirling Top Festival for Children, Young People and Families

Next weekend, Saturday June 14th 2014, is the first ever TOP Festival, Stirling’s Arts and Heritage Festival for Children, Young People and Families. Happening in the historic heart of Stirling, the TOP Festival brings together Stirling’s arts and heritage organisations and Stirling Council to offer a programme of exciting and inspiring activities for children, young people and families.

From music to dance, drumming to medieval warfare, coding workshops to comedy, visual arts to heritage trails we hope there is something here for everyone and all ages. Look out also for street performances throughout the afternoon from young people supported by Conflux and also from the Kakatsitsi Drummers who will be performing at the Tolbooth in the evening.

All the daytime activities are FREE thanks to funding from Stirling Council and support from each of the organisations involved making it accessible to all. Some need to be booked before the 14th June and others you can just drop in on the day.

Creative Stirling will be running Story Code as part of the Festival. Come to the Old Town Jail and interact with the past - hear real life stories about the Top of the Town, presented in the form of an interactive exhibition, built and coded by young people from the local area.

For more details visit the Top Festival website


Big Kid Circus

stirling Big Kid Circus

Beginning in 2004, Big Kid Circus has now entered its tenth successful year of touring throughout the UK. The inspiration of Kiril Kirilov, and his wife, Bili-Anna, the show aims to produce high quality, exciting entertainment, using artistes new to the UK. An exciting and highly professional show, with laughter and thrills to keep you on the edge of your seats. Big Kid Circus's all human artists mix hilarious clowning with amazing ground and thrilling aerial acts.

Big Kid Circus looks forward to visiting Bridge of Allan with a host of daring and exciting acrobats. This is a show for the whole family to enjoy, whatever their age.

Strathallan Game Park, Bridge of Allan, Stirling FK9 4RB Wednesday 18th June to Sunday 22nd June.

First day - 7 pm show only
Thursday and Friday - 5 pm and 7.30 pm
Saturday -2 pm and 5 pm
Sunday - 1 pm and 3.30 pm.

Tickets from £7.00.For further details visit the website at www.bigkidcircus.co.uk, telephone 07766552211, visit the onsite box office, Facebook.

Celebrating 10 Years on Tour. Look out for laughter and excitement from this all human circus.


Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival back in August

doune-the-rabbit-hole-2014

The Peatbog Faeries are set to headline Friday night at Doune the Rabbit Hole festival which is back in Stirlingshire for 2014! Held at the beautiful Cardross Estate near Doune it returns for the 5th year running on August 22-24th.

This year the festival line up includes the Scottish folk-electro players; Peatbog Faeries; Japanese Psych-Rockers Acid Mother’s Temple and American DIY hero Jeffrey Lewis, as well as the massively popular Balkanarama Klub who will present several hours of arts and crafts workshops followed by the kind of party that only the Balkans can produce!

Many of the artists will be hosting workshops or master-classes at the event with the focus of the festival angled towards getting people involved. From weird and wonderful instruments including Synths, Theremins and The Musical Saw, through to more traditional Fiddle, Keyboard and Drums; there will be a chance for everyone to pick up a new skill. It’s not all music: pottery, knitting, crocheting and a variety of other workshops will be on offer. Not to mention the Spoken Word tent which will host poetry, stand-up and storytelling and the Cinema which will show a range of films from family friendly flicks through to life-changing documentaries and even a late-night horror session.

There are still more acts to be announced so keep your ears to the ground for the next few weeks.

Find out more at Doune the Rabbit Hole


A Satire of the Three Estates at Stirling Castle

An exhibition of elaborate costumes from a production of Sir David Lyndsay’s 16th century play A Satire of the Three Estates will be at Stirling Castle until 28 September. The play is a bawdy, irreverent satire of church and state, national identity, and public and private morality. It was first performed - albeit in a much shorter version - in Linlithgow in 1540, before being extended in the 1550s. It has inspired modern Scottish theatre, in June last year it was performed in its entirety for the first time since 1554.

Directed by Gregory Thompson and staged first at Linlithgow Palace then at Stirling Castle, the 2013 production was part of a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project was delivered by a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, the University of Brunel and Historic Scotland. A Year of Homecoming 2014 event, the exhibition forms part of the project’s legacy which includes research into the cultural significances of the play, combining performance, film, literary and historical analysis, archaeology, art history and architectural studies.

It features ten costumes from the production, representing allegorical characters including Rex Humanitus (King Humanity), Good Counsel, Lady Sensuality and Lady Chastity. Visitors will have the opportunity to admire the craftsmanship in the costumes, learn more about the significance of the play itself and the innovative project which brought it back to life.

The 2013 production of A Satire of the Three Estates brought together some of Scotland’s finest stage actors, including Tam Dean Burn, Jimmy Chisholm and Alison Peebles, and has been nominated for a prestigious Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) award in the "best ensemble" category. The winners of the CATS will be announced in a ceremony at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow on 8 June.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said, "A Satire of the Three Estates is one of Scotland’s finest and most enduring plays, and last year’s ambitious project saw it being brought to life for a new audience. The play examines Scottish society and national identity in the 16th century, and many of its themes remain relevant today. I am delighted that this production’s legacy is so extensive and that visitors to Stirling Castle this summer will have the opportunity to see some of the beautiful costumes used in the performances up close."

Admission is included in entry to stirling castle. For more information visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/homecoming


Forth Valley Open Studios

the red shawl by JD Ferguson

Only a few days to go until artists across Central Scotland open their studio doors with over 140 artists, Open Studios, Art Galleries and Pop-up Exhibitions.

Over 140 artists will be taking part in this year’s Forth Valley Open Studios, a nine-day art event across Central Scotland for artists, designers, makers, art clubs and galleries. Artists open their studios and work spaces inviting all members of the community to view their work. Many offer demonstrations and provide the public with an experience, taking time to engage with the audiences and explain their ideas and inspiration for their work.

The studios are organised around 4 coloured routes with numbers and maps. When visiting studios look out for the bunting and signs displaying the FVOS logo.

Avril Nicol, Project Co-ordinator FVOS says, "This year we are very excited to be celebrating the 5th year of Forth Valley Open Studios, it’s amazing to think how the event has grown since it’s inception back in 2010. We would like to give a massive thank you to all who have attended the event over the past years and offer a very warm welcome to those who are visiting for the first time. Your participation is so very much appreciated by those who make the event happen - we the organisers, and of course, the artists and makers of the Forth Valley Open Studios event.

The Forth Valley area has been an ideal location to organise an event such as FVOS due to the abundance of creative local people. There is a wealth of both established and emerging artists and makers, willing to share an art experience with those who choose to come and visit our community based event. We hope visitors to the event will enjoy discovering the broad variety of interesting and inspiring studios, galleries and pop-up exhibitions. This year, we believe we have gathered a wonderful collection of participating artists and makers to make this year’s event an exciting and diverse one.

This year, we are delighted to be working alongside the Macrobert Arts Centre for the first time. We would like to express our gratitude to them for hosting the showcase exhibition of FVOS participants in their wonderful exhibition space. The biggest thanks of all goes to the artists and makers of FVOS who open their doors and their art for all to see and appreciate".


&Collective Gallery exhibition - Jai Llewellyn

Jai Llewellyn artwork

Jai Llewellyn Boundaries and Divisions

Jai Llewellyn‘s paintings and prints are about the process of mark making, the history of a line seen through an abstract picture of the future. Llewellyn often works between painting and printmaking, both disciplines informing each other, both focusing in on relationships, juxtapositions of old and new, growth and decay, construction and deconstruction. The result is a wonderful abstract expressionism that relies on graphic mark making and a clean use of line.

Exhibition runs 10th July 2014.

&Collective Gallery also exhibits original hand-made art works, sculpture, ceramics, prints, glass works, jewellery and crafts.

Maple House, 28 Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, FK9 4HR
t - 01786 359864 e - info@andcollective.co.uk w - andcollective.co.uk


JD Fergusson talk in Stirling

the red shawl by JD Ferguson

A leading Scottish artist is to come under the spotlight at the University of Stirling. JD Fergusson will be the subject of a free lunchtime talk at the University's Pathfoot Building on Wednesday 11 June. Alice Strang, senior curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh - currently hosting a major exhibition on Fergusson - will present the lecture.

The University of Stirling's Art Collection holds 17 works by the acclaimed painter; eight are currently on loan to the National Gallery for the exhibition.

To find out more about the Stirling lecture, and to book a place, visit http://stir.ac.uk/ii

Fergusson - one of the artists known as the Scottish Colourists - was born in Leith in 1874. He moved to Paris in 1907 where he assimilated and developed the latest developments in French painting. In 1913 he met the dance pioneer Margaret Morris (1891-1980), who became his life-long partner. Morris, her technique, pupils and Summer Schools, became the main sources of inspiration for Fergusson's work, before his death in Glasgow in 1961.

The Fergusson lecture at Stirling is part of the University of Stirling's events for Universities Week. The Fergusson exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art runs until 15 June.

To find out more, see art at Stirling


Stirling TOP Festival 2014

Stirling's Top of the Town Arts and Heritage Festival For Children, Young People and Families

The first ever TOP Festival, Stirling’s Arts and Heritage Festival for Children, Young People and Families will take place on Saturday 14th June. Happening in the historic heart of Stirling, arts and heritage organisations and the Council, are offering a programme of exciting and inspiring activities for children, young people and families.

From music to dance, drumming to medieval warfare, coding workshops to comedy, visual arts to heritage trails we hope there is something here for everyone and all ages. Look out also for street performances throughout the afternoon from young people supported by Conflux and also from the Kakatsitsi Drummers who will be performing at the Tolbooth in the evening.

All the daytime activities are FREE thanks to funding from Stirling Council and support from each of the organisations involved. Our hope is this makes it accessible to all. Some need to be booked before the 14th June and others you can just drop in on the day. We look forward to meeting you and hope you have a great afternoon.

To find out more visit topfestival.org


Bannockburn Live

Only 40 days to go until Bannockburn Live

bruce and bohun in 3D

Only 40 days to go until Bannockburn Live. A fantastic two day event happening on 28-29 June, commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

The event has something for everyone and is a celebration of Scottish music, food and history. Be transported back in time and visit 1314, experience the sights and sounds of 14th century Scotland in the medieval encampments from the forges’ sharpening weapons to the kitchens getting food ready for the troops. See one of the spectacular battle performances professionally choreographed by Clanranald known for their work on blockbuster films like Gladiator, Thor II and Robin Hood.

Fast forward to 2014 and hear some of the best Scottish music including Dougie MacLean, Julie Fowlis, King Creosote to name but a few. In Storyville see Scotland’s history brought to life through music, discussion and debates celebrating Scottish history and culture. The line-up includes music from Karine Polwart, Bella Hardy and talks from authors Alistair Moffat and James Robertson. Plus there are lots of activities for children from hand-on crafts to trying out medieval sports.

Looking to trace your Scottish roots? Meet members from around 40 clans and families and learn more about their connections to Scotland.

And when you’re feeling hungry, tantalise your taste-buds with the textures and flavours of Scotland’s fantastic produce in the Land of Food and Drink.

So make sure you’ve got your tickets. Find out more and book online today at www.bannockburnlive.com

Find out more at Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre


May

Mysteries of medieval skeletons revealed at Stirling Castle

Findings from the analysis of the nine skeletons uncovered at Stirling Castle in 1997 will be presented in Silent Witnesses - Trauma Tales from Stirling Castle, a talk held at the castle on 24 May at 7.30pm. The discoveries will be presented by Dr Jo Buckberry, an expert in battle trauma from the University of Bradford who carried out the analysis, and found that some of the individuals may have died or sustained injuries during sieges of the castle in the Scottish Wars of Independence (1296-1357).

The nine skeletons, which have been broadly radiocarbon dated to the period of conflict, consist of seven males, one female and a baby. Analysis has found that most suffered blunt trauma injuries, with some showing evidence of TB, scurvy and rickets. One male skeleton has over 100 fractures, while the female skeleton has skull injuries consistent with being struck by a weapon such as a poleaxe or mace. The evidence of both blunt trauma and periods of malnutrition are consistent with sieges, when both falling rubble and close conflict were a danger.

Stirling Castle was besieged repeatedly during the Wars of Independence. It changed hands between the Scots and the English a number of times and it is unclear whether the skeletons are Scottish or English. Evidence suggests, however, that they were of high status. They enjoyed the kind of rich diet which was common among the medieval nobility, while the fact that they were buried within the castle walls – something which was unusual in medieval times - suggests that they were people of a high social standing.

The graves were discovered by a team from Kirkdale Archaeology within a fragment of what was subsequently recognised as the earliest upstanding building within the entire castle, the royal chapel dedicated to St Michael by King Alexander I in the early years of the 12th century.

Dr Jo Buckberry will also be on hand to discuss her findings from 12-4pm on 24 and 25 May as part of The Road to Bannockburn event at the castle, when visitors will be able to find out more about the Battle of Bannockburn. Scottish and English soldiers will be setting up camp, while there will also be weaponry demonstrations, a sword school and opportunities to learn more about how the knights who fought at Bannockburn would have dressed.

Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning for Historic Scotland said, "The discovery of the nine skeletons at Stirling Castle continues to teach us more about how people lived and died in the castle in the 13th and 14th centuries. Dr Buckberry’s ongoing research helps to bring history to life, offering fascinating details about everything from diet to injury and cause of death. Her talk, a Year of Homecoming 2014 event, promises to give a fascinating glimpse into castle life during the Scottish Wars of Independence."

Dr Jo Buckberry said, "The patterns of injury seen in the Stirling Castle skeletons is completely different to what we usually see in the medieval period, when most battles were fought hand-to-hand using swords and other weapons, and they stand out as different to other skeletal populations associated with medieval battles."

“The isotope analysis undertaken as part of this project was done in collaboration with Dr Janet Montgomery, Durham University and Prof Julia Lee-Thorp, University of Oxford.”

The Road to Bannockburn will take place at Stirling Castle on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May and is included in admission to the castle. Silent Witnesses - Trauma Tales from Stirling Castle will take place at Stirling Castle on Saturday 24th May at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10-£15 and can be purchased at the castle or online at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk


Two stunning new sculptures are wowing visitors to the University of Stirling

Shelagh Atkinson artwork

"Where is the 4th Dimension" has been located outside the University's Cottrell Building. The piece - in Lasa marble on a black granite plinth - was created by Scottish sculptor Kate Thomson.

A second piece - "Bijin" by Thomson's partner artist Hironori Katagiri - is located in the Japanese sculpture courtyard at the University's Pathfoot Building. "Bijin" was inspired by a series of Japanese Ukiyoe portraits: "Bijin" means beautiful and elegant lady in Japanese.

Both artists have created other works on show around the University's main Stirling campus. Jane Cameron, the University's Art Curator, said, "We're delighted to welcome these new additions to our art collection. They add to the stunning landscapes we have around the University campus - and we encourage people to come on site and see them."

Sculptor Kate Thomson has been working on the international stage for the past 25 years. After graduating in Fine Art from Newcastle University, she worked for 3 years as a community artist in the Gorbals in Glasgow, where in 1989 she was also one of the six Founding Directors of the Glasgow Sculpture Studios, before starting to work on site-specific public sculptures for parks, gardens, and buildings all over the world, from inner city re-developments and prestigious new building projects, to established sites like the British Embassy in Tokyo. Kate's work is abstracted from the human form and landscape, exploring relationships in physical, cultural and social space. Her beautifully crafted marble pieces use form to articulate light and life, and touch on something essential yet unique in all of us.

Hironori Katagiri was born in Kesennuma, Japan and studied art at Miyagi University Of Education. He has exhibited internationally and creates many of his works for public commissions. His work can be found in public and private collections all over the world; within the UK they can be seen in Cambridge and at The University of Stirling. During the Mid-80s Katagiri came to Aberdeen to work in the Scottish Sculpture Studio in Aberdeenshire and in 1988 he co-founded the Glasgow Sculpture Studios.


April

Andy Murray awarded honorary degree by University of Stirling

The University of Stirling will honour reigning Wimbledon and Olympic Singles tennis champion Andy Murray tomorrow, with a doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to tennis. The graduation ceremony at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence will bring the British number one tennis player back to his sporting roots - to the training base where he honed his skills as a young boy.

Commenting on his award, Andy Murray said, "I am honoured and very grateful to receive this award from the University of Stirling - an institution which is recognised internationally for its sports research and facilities. I trained on the courts at the Scottish National Tennis Centre at the University of Stirling when I was growing up and I remember playing against the students which was great fun. I know there are many talented junior players practising there every day and I’d encourage them to keep working hard towards their goals."

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, will present Andy Murray with the award of Doctor of the University. He said, "We are delighted to welcome back Andy Murray to the University campus. One of the greatest athletes of his generation, Andy has broken the boundaries of British tennis and elevated the profile of the sport to new levels. His exceptional sporting abilities, diligence and tenacity make him an inspirational role model to our students and to people across the world."

"We are proud to provide pathways – through our facilities, sports scholarships, research and coaching – to help high performance athletes reach their full potential and achieve at the highest level. The success of so many current and former students is proof of the winning combination of sport and study. We are grateful to Andy for his continued support of the University and honoured to recognise his extraordinary talent and contribution to tennis by conferring him with this award."


Easter events for all the family at Stirling Castle

At Stirling Castle, children will be given the chance to attend ‘fool’s school’ as part of A Stirling Easter. They’ll be able to find out about the role of the jester in the royal court and will have the opportunity to learn some of the tricks jesters might have used to entertain the royal household.

Visitors will also be able to meet Pickles the Bear and Hamish the Highlander and participate in fun outdoor games in the gardens. A Stirling Easter will take place at Stirling Castle from 12pm on 20 and 21 April.


The Beautiful Cosmos Of Ivor Cutler

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler is a musical and visual journey based on the songs, stories and poems of one of Scotland's most iconic exiles. Conceived and Directed by Matthew Lenton. Created by James Fortune, Sandy Grierson and Matthew Lenton

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler weaves together the music, prose, poetry and biography of Ivor Cutler to tell the story of a remarkable life, from birth, through boyhood, to old age and death. Created by a team of internationally renowned artists, this Vanishing Point and National Theatre of Scotland collaboration will celebrate the work of one of Scotland's truly unique artists.

A Jewish, Scottish, Londoner, Ivor Cutler was a wholehearted eccentric whose music and words range from the whimsical to the disturbing. A true maverick, Ivor Cutler was the only artist to have been played on Radios 1,2,3 and 4. He was signed by all the major record labels, influenced the Beatles and was championed by John Peel.

The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, on Friday 25 April at the macrobert, Stirling University 7.30pm. Get your tickets now, they're are going fast.

SEE Whats On at macrobert Stirling


&Collective Gallery exhibition Shelagh Atkinson

Shelagh Atkinson artwork

Shelagh Atkinson - In and Out of Place

The exhibition is body of work which explores personal landscapes of the mind using the medium of screenprinting. Suited to Shelaghs method of working which by her definition is about the process, and the build up of layers upon layers. Within these layers stories can be woven, stories about personal identity and connectedness, and ponderous on the recurring motifs that are selected from her data base of imagery about "place". The urban and natural environments, which she inhabits, feeds her process, the use of colour reflects the abundance of the seeing, the experience, the felt force within these environments.

Exhibition runs 18th April - 29th May 2014.
Join us at the preview Friday 18th May 7-9pm.

Maple House, 28 Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, FK9 4HR
t - 01786 359864 e - info@andcollective.co.uk w - andcollective.co.uk


£1,000 REWARD for finding man who kicked pigeon to death in Stirling

Stirling – PETA is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man who kicked a pigeon to death in Stirling's city centre. The incident took place in Port Street at 14:15 on 4 April. The man was in his late 20s and was wearing a blue jacket and denim jeans and pushing a pram in the company of a woman. The group Warns That Animal Abusers Are Likely to Escalate Behaviour Unless Stopped.

"It is imperative that any community faced with the abuse of animals take measures to find the culprit or culprits and stop the violence", says PETA spokesperson Ben Williamson. "Animal abusers are a danger to everyone – they take their issues out on whomever is available to them, human or non-human."

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Forth Valley Wildlife Crime Officer PC Malcolm O'May on 101.

For more information about helping animals, visit PETA.org.uk.


Wallace and Bruce letters to go on display at Stirling Castle

Rare medieval letters relating to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce are to be exhibited together for the first time. The exhibition entitled "Wallace, Bruce and Scotland's Contested Crown" will open at Stirling Castle next month and brings together two unique manuscripts which provide a fascinating insight into the different paths taken by these two leaders in securing the Scottish crown.

On display will be a 700-year-old letter from King Philip IV of France to his agents in Rome commanding them to ask Pope Boniface VIII to support Wallace. Written in November 1300, the letter was discovered in the Tower of London in the 1830’s and is currently on loan to the National Records of Scotland from The National Archives in London. In 2011 a panel of experts concluded that it was likely to have been in Wallace's possession, although how and why remain unclear.

The Wallace letter will appear alongside a letter to King Philip IV of France. Dating from 1309 it was written by Scottish barons attending the first parliament following Robert the Bruce’s seizure of the throne in 1306. Their declaration of support for Bruce as the rightful king of Scots marked an important moment in the recognition of his crown. The document is preserved in the National Records of Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said, "The bringing together of these documents for the first time will provide a fascinating insight into one of the most turbulent periods in Scotland’s history. This is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to view these rare and special documents which provide a tantalising glimpse into the lives and legacy of two of Scotland’s most famous historical figures."

Tim Ellis, Keeper of the Records of Scotland and Chief Executive of the National Records of Scotland, said, "The death of Alexander III in 1286 triggered a dynastic scramble that came to a head in 1306, when Robert the Bruce seized the Scottish throne. This exhibition brings together for the first time two archival treasures connected to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and adds to our understanding of this fascinating period of Scottish history. We're delighted to be holding the exhibition which has been made possible through support from Historic Scotland and The National Archives."

The "Wallace, Bruce and Scotland’s Contested Crown" exhibition will form part of a series of events at Stirling Castle which will tell the story of the events leading up to the Battle of Bannockburn, which marks its 700th anniversary this year. This will include a living history event "The Road to Bannockburn" and an exhibition of paintings by renowned artist Iona Leishman.

Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience for Historic Scotland, who operate Stirling Castle said, "Stirling Castle played a key role in the events leading up to Bannockburn. The siege of the castle was the catalyst for Edward II to send a 17,000 strong army to Scotland who met Bruce’s men at Bannockburn so it provides a fitting location to tell the story to visitors."

"Over the weekend of the 24th and 25th May, the Road to Bannockburn living history event will explore the events that led to this decisive clash. Visitors can find out about the tactics and weapons of the armies and join our forensic team in discovering more about the injuries sustained by the soldiers."

“Meanwhile Iona Leishman’s exhibition of paintings will provide a poignant overview of the realities of war. Together with the Wallace and Bruce exhibition they will provide visitors with an insight into one of the most famous periods in Scotland’s history."

The "Wallace, Bruce and Scotland’s Contested Crown", exhibition which is part of the Year of Homecoming programme, will open at Stirling Castle on 3rd May and will run until 1st June.


Emily Smith at Stirling Tolbooth

Emily-Smith photograph copyright Archie MacFarlane

Scottish folk singer EMILY SMITH is touring to support the launch of her new album ECHOES, where she returns to her first love of traditional song. Emily will be at Stirling Tolbooth on Thursday 3 April. Her gift for finding a personal connection in these passed-down, anon-penned words is still at the heart of her craft. But this is a bold new phase in her music and with it comes what she describes as "a new Scottish sound".

Recorded over the space of a year, Echoes expands the core group of musicians with whom she’s previously played by adding a guestlist of true greats. Joining multi-instrumentalists Jamie McClennan and Matheu Watson, bassist Ross Hamilton and percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir are none other than Jerry Douglas, Aoife O'Donovan, Kris Drever, Tim Edey, Natalie Haas and Rory Butler. Together they’ve created an album with one foot planted firmly in Emily’s home of Dumfries and Galloway and the other in the unspoiled heartland of Nashville.

Echoes is unshakeably Scottish but with farther, wider horizons. From remembered ballads like the murdery Twa Sisters and the mythical King Orfeo to contemporary but no less timeless songs such as Bill Caddick’s gorgeous John O’Dreams and Darrell Scott’s The Open Door.

Time has passed ridiculously fast since Emily was named BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year back in 2002. The accolades continued as she won the USA Songwriting Competition in 2005, Scots Singer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2008, and she received two nominations in the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. In that time she’s toured the world, thrilling audiences from Cambridge Folk Festival all the way down to the National Folk Festival in Australia, via Europe, Russia, Canada and New Zealand.

In 2013 Emily toured as part of the Transatlantic Sessions extended family, singing with the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Eric Bibb and Teddy Thompson - adding to an impressive list of onstage collaborators which also includes Richard Thompson, Eddi Reader and Beth Neilson Chapman.

For more information, please visit http://www.emilysmith.org/

"One of Scotland's most adept singers" Mojo

"One of the finest traditional Scots voices around, pure and poised..."

Thursday 3 April 8pm
Tickets £13/£11 conc
Tolbooth, Jail Wynd, Stirling, FK8 1DE

SEE Whats On at Stirling Tolbooth


Wallace Monument re-opens on Saturday 5th April 2014

Wallace Monument image

2014 will be an important year for Scotland - and for Stirling - with the city set to mark the 700th Anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn, one of the highlights of Scotland’s second Year of Homecoming.

The National Wallace Monument re-opens to visitors on Saturday 5th April from 10am, following the most extensive refurbishment undertaken in the 145-year history of the building. We're looking forward to welcoming visitors old and new - so whether it's a first-time visit or you want to come and rediscover the story of Scotland's National Hero - we look forward to welcoming you to Stirling's famous landmark.

A major redevelopment of the interior galleries has been completed and interpretive exhibition design specialists Campbell and Co. from Edinburgh have been carrying out the refurbishment project. Each of the three distinctive galleries within the tower, designed by the Victorian architect J. T. Rochead, will be completely re-modelled, providing visitors with a new perspective on the life of Scotland’s national hero, and on his famous victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Find out more about the Wallace Monument


Doug Allan In the Company of Giants

Saturday 12 April 2014 - 7.30pm at macrobert Stirling

"My passion lies with the big animals" - That's how multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan (Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Ocean Giants, Wild Cameramen at Work) introduces his new show "In the Company of Giants".

What's it like to face a hungry polar bear and its cubs as they emerge from their den? Or to swim eye to eye with an enormous Southern Right Whale? And how does it feel to be stalked by killer whales in the straits of Gibraltar?

Join Doug for an unforgettable evening of extraordinary animal adventures and unique wildlife film footage. Ask Doug questions about his encounters and travels, and discover what it's like to be up close and personal with nature's biggest creatures.

"Wildlife cameramen don't come much more special than Doug" Sir David Attenborough

SEE Whats On at macrobert Stirling


Illuminations 1874 exhibition at Pathfoot

Karen Strang image

The Art Collection and Groundswell invite you to a public lecture discussing the exhibition Illuminations 1874 - new work by the artist Karen Strang, currently on display in the Pathfoot Building at the University until 16th May 2014.

Falkirk-born artist Karen Strang will talk about her new exhibition at a free, public lecture On Sunday April 6, at 2 pm. Her show, "Illuminations 1874", has been inspired by the life of French poet and libertine Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud. It opened at the University’s Pathfoot Building on 14 March and runs until 16 May. Karen and art historian Helen Beale will visit the venue to present a talk on the exhibition. The event is open to staff, students and members of the public. Admission to the talk and exhibition is free of charge.

Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was born in 1854 in the north of France. His life and highly suggestive poetry inspired (amongst others) Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Picasso, and Ginsberg. Karen said, "I was inspired to explore the life of Arthur Rimbaud as a rebellious art student - enamoured of all things revolutionary. He has continued to fascinate and influence me over these many years. Three years ago I revisited his writing and attempted to solve some of the mysteries of his life and work, including the question of his disappearance in the second half of 1874. These artworks are my answer to the burning question – where was he."

Jane Cameron, the University’s Art Curator, says, "The artworks in this exhibition are displayed in chronological order, reflecting the life of the poet, and are directly inspired by the few existing images of Rimbaud. The eclectic style of the pieces displayed emphasise Rimbaud’s role as a proponent of modernism and punk, with far reaching influence on the cultural pioneers of the 20th century. We’re delighted to be able to show Karen’s work at the University and look forward to welcoming her back to our Pathfoot Building on Sunday, April 6, to talk about the exhibition with the support of Helen Beale."

SEE more about Stirling University Art Collection


Loving Food pop-up night

Loving Food pop-up night

Tickets are now on sale for Loving Food's first pop-up restaurant night at Cowane's Hospital, Stirling on Friday 4 April. You might have seen their lovely, old Citroen H Van around town. They aim to serve great food in unique locations around Stirling and Cowane's Hospital will be the first of a few they have planned for this year. All will be different and quirky. The menu isn't street food this time, it's a four course menu with a free drink on entry plus some entertaining street magic. We'll be serving modern Scottish craft beer from the new Fallen Brewing Company based in Kippen along the road, and wine is from Woodwinters in Bridge of Allan. The guys have kindly matched both their beers and wine with our menu and you can try them out or go your own sweet way.

Tickets are £29 per person and include four course menu, a free drink on entry plus some magical entertainment to keep you amused throughout the evening.

Find out more at Whats On Stirling


One of the Trossachs’ most famous sites re-opens its doors for spring

One of the Trossachs’ best-loved historic attractions is set to re-open on 1 April after being closed for the winter months.

Inchmahome Priory in the Lake of Menteith closes over the winter period, however it will welcome visitors once again when it re-opens on 1 April.

The priory, which dates from 1238 was an Augustinian monastery and much of the 13th century church remains. Famously, it sheltered the infant Mary, Queen of Scots in 1547.

Susan Loch, Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement at Historic Scotland, which runs the site said; "Staff are getting ready to welcome visitors from around the world to the site once again. Spring is a lovely time of year to visit one of our properties, and Inchmahome Priory is just one of a number of Historic Scotland sites around the country which closes over winter before re-opening to the public in time for the Easter weekend. This year we’ve got lots of exciting things planned for visitors across our properties, from costumed performances to events to mark the Year of Homecoming 2014."

Find out more about Inchmahome Priory


March

Stirling exhibition on the work of Scots author Iain Banks

A new exhibition on the work of Scots author Iain Banks is being officially opened at the University of Stirling. Banks studied English and philosophy at the University in the early 1970s. The exhibition, in the University Library, is entitled "Parallel Worlds" and showcases foreign editions of Banks' works, as well as a sculpture inspired by one of his most famous books "The Crow Road". It will be launched at a public event on the University's main Stirling campus on Thursday 20 March, at 6.30 p.m.

Ken MacLeod - a close friend of Banks and the writer of over a dozen novels - will speak about the author. Mr MacLeod is currently editing a book of poetry featuring his and Banks' material, due to be published next year. There will also be refreshments after the launch.

Karl Magee, the University Archivist, said: "The exhibition highlights the international appeal of Banks' fiction and shows the variety of ways his work was presented in different countries around the world. The volumes on display are part of a larger collection of almost 200 editions of Banks' work translated into a range of languages and designed to reflect the tastes of readers in a range of markets including France, Germany, Israel, Russia and South Korea. The exhibition also features a book sculpture commemorating Iain Banks which was presented to the University by the Edinburgh International Book Festival last September".

Find out more at Whats On Stirling


&Collective Gallery exhibition Louise Ritchie

Louise Ritchie artwork

The process of painting for Louise Ritchie is about constructing atmospheric spaces and responses where light and colour are layered and punctuated by motifs that allow the eye to travel in and around the painting. The physicality of paint, the variety of scale and surfaces, are all integral to the development of the work. This creative curiosity and the compulsion to make a mark provide a flexible framework which has developed into a very personal visual vocabulary and expressive dialect. This language composes itself in the way that a piece of music is gradually built up with melody and harmony. Colour expresses the dynamics of loud and soft, while rhythm and balance promote a sense of movement and pace.

The process of painting for Louise Ritchie is about constructing atmospheric spaces and responses where light and colour are layered and punctuated by motifs that allow the eye to travel in and around the painting. The physicality of paint, the variety of scale and surfaces, are all integral to the development of the work. This creative curiosity and the compulsion to make a mark provide a flexible framework which has developed into a very personal visual vocabulary and expressive dialect. This language composes itself in the way that a piece of music is gradually built up with melody and harmony. Colour expresses the dynamics of loud and soft, while rhythm and balance promote a sense of movement and pace.

The paintings on canvas and board discs, Perspex prints and stitchworks produced for Colour Flood express the larger, painterly gesture as well as the smaller more intimate and intense pieces. All of them focus on the vivid power of colour with expressive fluid washes and free flowing brush marks composed alongside gentle thread lines, graphic tonal blocks and tiny drawn marks revealing themselves only on closer examination.

Exhibition runs 7th March - 17th April 2014.
Join us at the Preview Friday 7th March 7-9pm.

Maple House, 28 Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, FK9 4HR
t - 01786 359864 e - info@andcollective.co.uk w - andcollective.co.uk


Creative Stirling Pecha Kucha Style Event

Creative Stirling is developing a new range of Pop Up events for 2014, including Pecha Kucha Style nights. These are free events tailored to connect the creative community through highly engaging, fast paced speaker’s nights, while also showcasing a local artist. Creative Stirling Pecha Kucha style events will span a variety of unusual venues in Stirling, and feature speakers from various sectors, from business to the arts.

They were first developed in Tokyo in 2003. It is a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each along with dialogue. The concept was developed to create informal and fun gatherings where creative people can get together and share their ideas, works and thoughts. Pecha Kucha nights have gone viral globally, now happening in over 700 countries.

The first Pecha Kucha style night in early February at the Burgh Coffee House in Stirling was a great success. Speakers included artist, lecturer and Indie Publisher Ewan John, Animator and illustrator Selina Wagner whose clients include STV and CBeebies and Stirling Fringe Festival Director Barry McDonald. Each speaker offered great insight into their work and passions, and attendees were highly engaged in this new format of event.

Creative Stirling CIC Director Joe Hall stated, "Pecha Kucha style nights are the type of event that Creative Stirling thrives on. One of the main purposes of our organisation is to create platforms for local creatives and to bring people together through arts and culture. As a pilot event we were impressed with the range of people we attracted and the speakers themselves did a fantastic job. Great presentations and no one was ready to leave when the event ended."

"It was interesting to discover that such a variety of talent exists in Stirling and it fascinates to me think what the next one could be like based on the pilot event I attended."

The events will run on the first Friday of every month and the venue will change each time. The next Pecha Kucha event is scheduled to take place on Friday 4th April in the Burgh coffee house 7-9pm. Speakers attending are a social entrepreneur/activist/change maker, musician/playwright, graphic artist and a featured visual artist.

Entry to the event is free, however you need to register your interest by email to enquiries@creativestirling.org


A heavenly gift for the Stirling Smith

Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum artist June Carey RSW

This year is the 140th birthday of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, the gift of Thomas Stuart Smith (1814-1869) to his family town. To celebrate it, artist June Carey RSW, also a native of Stirling has gifted two angels who will fly into a permanent position over the door of the main gallery. The angels share a gold star and star dust between them, in homage to T. S. Smith’s Art Gallery, and carry significant objects from the Smith’s collections.

The male angel has the Guildry Ring of 1340 over his left arm. The female angel has the Key of Stirling over her right arm. Both have images of the Stirling Heads on their arms and are tattooed with June Carey's love poems.

June Carey has spent months perfecting the size, shape and content of the mural to suit the spaces in the Smith’s archway. Elspeth King, Director of the Stirling Smith said, "Paintings for the architectural spaces in public buildings in Scotland are a rarity. With this work, the artist has complemented the classical architecture, given meaning to the collection, beautified the building and thanked Thomas Stuart Smith in the only way in which a good artist can be thanked – with a beautiful work of art, which will endure."

Colin O’Brien, Chair of the Smith Trustees and a member of Stirling Guildry said, "Many objects from the ancient Guildry of Stirling are in the Smith’s collections, and we deeply appreciate seeing the importance of the Guildry symbolised in this precious Stirling painting."

An outstanding Scottish artist, June Carey has a lifetime’s work behind her, which she has drawn together in a special book, The Art of June Carey: Seeing through the Dreams. Prices are £16.99 (paperback) £22.99 (hardback) and £120.00 (limited edition hardback with etching).

This is an opportunity to buy an important work encompassing a slice of Scotland – and Stirling’s – art history in a year which his significant for all of us. The installation costs of the mural have been met with money from the Janey Buchan Memorial Fund. Janey Buchan (1926 – 2012) was a Trustee of the Stirling Smith, Member of the European Parliament for Glasgow 1979 – 1994, and was actively involved in all of the creative arts - music, theatre, film making and museums and galleries.

SEE Whats On at Stirling Smith


Pop Up Poetry Slam

Creative Stirling CIC, in collaboration with Stirling Makar Anita Govan, present Pop Up Poetry Slam, Stirling’s debut poetry slam taking place in the basement of Mediterranea Bar and Restaurant on Thursday 13th March 7.30pm-10pm.

Stirling Makar Anita Govan will be leading the Slam and keeping everyone on track. Anita has been a driving force behind many creative events and artistic communities in Scotland, with a particular passion for poetry. She initiated the first poetry slams in Scotland and has performed with many leading Scottish and international poets, including Bob Holman (USA) and Canadian World Slam Champion Shane Koyczan. She also received five stars for PoeJazz Spoken World in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2009 she performed at Glastonbury Festival and this year she was commissioned to write a video poem for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Local musician End of Neil (Neil Stewart) will be compere on the night and also keep the audience engaged playing original tracks. The event will culminate in a performance by Stirling based Americana Swing Trio The Precious Penny Pluckers. The event will be a great creative outlet for local talent, showcasing dynamic, passionate, accessible and fun poetry works.

If you would like to participate or learn more about competing please email Anita Govan: stirlingmakar@gmail.com

Tickets are £3 and available to purchase via Eventbrite in advance https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pop-up-poetry-slam-w-stirling-makar-anita-govan-tickets-10370669953 or on the night.

Find out more at Whats On Stirling


Bannockburn Live

Looking for a great day out? Bannockburn Live is a fantastic two day event happening on 28-29 June, 10:00am - 7:00pm. Commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. The event has something for everyone and is a celebration of Scottish music, food and history. Be transported back in time and visit 1314, experience the sights and sounds of 14th century Scotland in the medieval encampments from the forges’ sharpening weapons to the kitchens getting food ready for the troops. See one of the spectacular battle performances professionally choreographed by Clanranald known for their work on blockbuster films like Gladiator, Thor II and Robin Hood.

Fast forward to 2014 and hear some of the best Scottish trad music on the main stage. In Storyville listen to great discussions around Scotland and see recitals capturing the essence of Scottish history and culture. Plus there are lots of activities for children from hand-on crafts to trying out medieval sports.

Looking to trace your Scottish roots? Meet members from around 40 clans and families and learn more about their connections to Scotland. And when you’re feeling hungry, tantalise your taste-buds with the textures and flavours of Scotland’s fantastic produce in the Land of Food and Drink.

King’s Tickets £75
Family Ticket £55
Adult (14+) £20
Child (5-13) £12.50
Children under 5 go free

All ticket prices shown are excluding booking fee and postage Book online today at www.bannockburnlive.com Location: The Battle of Bannockburn Centre, Glasgow Road, Whins of Milton, Stirling FK7 0LJ


March at macrobert Stirling

macrobert cinema is packed full of amazing movies to see you right through to the end of March. Oscar nominated The Wolf of Wall Street (until 20 Feb) and then Inside Llewyn Davies (21 - 27 Feb), the incredible Dallas Buyers Club (14 - 19 Mar) and the heart-achingly brilliant Her (21 - 26 Mar).

February Live Highlights include - Icarus Theatre Collective present Ibsen's classic Hedda Gabler, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre with Socks in Space and join Janice Galloway at macrobert for an informal and enlightening look back at her 23 year career.

SEE Whats On at macrobert Stirling


February

The Circus of Horrors in Scotland

circus of horrors

The last couple of years has seen the profile of The Circus of Horrors jump tremendously after rampaging into the finals of Britain's Got Talent and then appearances on various subsequent TV shows, The X Factor, The Slammer, Daybreak, Fairground Attractions, Who wants to be a Millionaire, Body Shockers and Fake Reaction. This combined with the release of the Dr Haze autobiography Mud Blood and Glitter have certainly made it an exciting time for The Circus of Horrors. The media profile is continuing with large editorial and images in almost every national newspaper and a further appearance on This Morning and more pending TV shows including a Discovery Channel special.

The current tour saw another giant leap for the show when it begins a series of dates in The Lyric theatre in London's West End, the first time a circus has appeared in a West End Theatre for 100 years and a fitting way to celebrate 18 bloody years of Shock n’ Roll. In addition to the London dates they will be engaging in a huge British tour, taking in around 100 venues in pretty well all of the UK’s major cities from Aberdeen to Truro. The show started it’s gruesome beggings at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival and became an instant hit, touring all over the world from Chile to Chatham, Argentina to Aberdeen, Japan to Jersey including festival appearances with Alice Cooper, Eminem, Motley Crue, Oasis, Iron Maiden, The Manic St Preachers and many more.

The West End shows were particularly significant, taking the extreme to the mainstream without compromise and proof of how far the show has come. The latest incarnation ‘London after Midnight’ is inspired by the film of the same name. Set in plague ridden London and climaxing with the Great Fire of 1666.

The story twists and turns with grisly murders and sensational shocks – all interwoven with some of the greatest and most bizarre circus acts on earth, sword swallowers, knife throwers, daredevil balancing acts, astounding aerialists, a dwarf strong man, a Guinness World Record holding ‘hairculian’ hair hanging beauty, sinister sisters, gyrating and fire limboing acrobats, dislocating contortionist and much more.

Performed by an almighty cast with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek and the devil driver rock n’ roll of Dr Haze and The Interceptors from Hell.

The Circus of Horrors – London After Midnight is on tour throughout the UK. If Quentin Tarantino had directed Cirque Du Soleil then you would be only half way there.

"The Circus of Horrors completely WOWED the audience" The Daily Mail.

"A Bloody Great Night Out" The Times

"Freaking Awesome" The Sun

"Bloody Good Fun - Barnum Would be proud" Time Out

"Circus Without A Condom" The Telegraph

"Bloody Marvellous" Edinburgh Festival

"Blood Thirsty and Burlesque" The Independent

"I loved it and I’m sure the royal family would love to watch this". Simon Cowell.

"Fantastic, that’s what I call entertainment". David Hasselhoff.

"Like The Rocky Horrors show on acid" Amanda Holden

"I have never been as scared in all my life". Ant or Dec (never know which ones which).

"Totally Unbelievable" Scott Mills, Radio 1

"You have to go and see this if, one day something will go wrong and you will be able to say I was there" Graham Norton.

Scotland Tour Dates

FALKIRK Town Hall Sunday 16th Feb
01324 506177

ABERDEEN Aberdeen Music Hall Monday 17th Feb
01224 641122

MOTHERWELL Concert Hall Tuesday 18th Feb
01698 274545

GLENROTHES Rothes Hall Wednesday 19th Feb
01592 611101

GLASGOW Glasgow Barrowlands Thursday 20th Feb
0141 2045 151

INVERNESS Eden Court Friday 21st Feb
01463 239841

KILMARNOCK Palace Theatre Saturday 22nd Feb
01563 554900

DUNDEE Whitehall Theatre Sunday 23rd Feb
01382 434940

For tickets and info please visit www.circusofhorrors.co.uk


Scotland's Gardens Stirlingshire Openings

You can once again visit gardens in the Stirlingshire area over the next few months. Major plant sales are at Kilbryde Castle and Gargunnock House. 40% of the money raised at the Garden Openings towards the owners chosen charity, the net remaining to SG Beneficiaries. Most gardens offer stalls and teas.

Snowdrops remain as popular as ever and properties will be opening in February and March to enable visitors to enjoy the stunning displays of these flowers. There are 4 of Scotland’s Gardens opening locally for this annual Snowdrop festival.

Gargunnock House 1st February to 16th March
Kilbryde Castle Sunday 23rd February
West Plean House Sunday 2 March
The Linns Sheriffmuir Sunday 9 March

SEE full details at whats on around stirling


Bannockburn 700 event cut by a day

A three day event to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn is being cut by a day. Bannockburn Live was originally a three-day event but now it will take place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June, with hours extended until 7pm. 2,000 tickets have been sold with adult admission starting at £20.

Robert the Bruce led the Scots to victory over the forces of King Edward II of England and the Battle is one of the most significant events in Scottish history. Bannockburn Live will feature a realistic re-enactment of the battle involving 300 people, with performances three times each day. Choreography is by Clanranald who have worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, Robin Hood and Thor 2.

Scotland's story will be told through music, song and spoken word and there will be a clan village and food and drink village.

Due to open in March, The new Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre, will not open to general admission ticket holders during the Bannockburn Live event. The visitor centre will only be open to 'King's Ticket' ticket holders who will be permitted exclusive access as part of their enhanced ticket package.


Behind the scenes at Bannockburn Visitor Centre

With less than a month to go until the opening of the new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs has been given a preview of the attraction.

The highly-anticipated new visitor centre – which is due to open on 1 March, ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle on 23 and 24 June - uses cutting-edge technology to bring the battle to life for visitors, offering an experience which is unlike any other available in the UK. State-of-the-art installations are used to interpret and explain the events which led up to the battle, and its consequences.

A collaboration between Historic Scotland and The National Trust for Scotland, the Scottish Government has committed 5 million to the project through Historic Scotland, and 4.1 million has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The opening of the centre will form a key part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations and promises to attract significant visitor numbers to the Stirling area.

Fiona Hyslop was given the opportunity to experience the interactive exhibits and meet the Battlemasters who guide visitors through the attraction. Cutting-edge motion capture technology is used to immerse visitors in a 3D medieval battle, while they are also given the chance to lead a division of soldiers from Robert the Bruce and Edward II’s armies in a dramatic battle simulation.

A massive 3D map of the landscape gives a bird’s-eye view of the battle, showing both the present-day terrain and the land as it was in 1314, and visitors can ‘meet’ computer-generated representations of some of the individuals whose lives would have been impacted by the events of 23 and 24 June 1314.

This is the first heritage attraction in the world to use motion capture technology, famous for creating characters in film such as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The CDDV - a partnership between the world leaders in 3D visualization at The Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio (DDS) and heritage experts from Historic Scotland - worked with The Clanranald Trust for Scotland who have provided combat fighting for over 180 film productions, including Gladiator and Robin Hood, to develop authentic fight choreography. The CDDV also filmed live horses with the guidance of Toby Capwell from the Wallace Collection to develop the equestrian animation.

A range of short 3D films transport the visitor back to 1314, the night before the battle, to witness some of the physical preparations involved in battle and cavalry training, surrounded by 270 degree, massive screens, for a truly immersive experience. This prepares the visitor for the innovative Battle Game, where they can take command of the knights and soldiers who fought in 1314 and pit their wits against their fellow visitors on a virtual battlefield.

Designed by Scottish architecture firm Reiach and Hall, the building takes a sensitive approach to the battlefield site. Careful conservation of existing monuments on the site has been undertaken and the new building adopts a modern interpretation of traditional farm steadings and a large courtyard, bringing the historic and contemporary together in an inventive and dignified way.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said, "The Battle of Bannockburn was a pivotal event in Scotland’s history and as we approach the 700th anniversary of the battle, I was delighted to be given a preview of the exciting new Bannockburn Visitor Centre. State of the art technology is used to tell the story of the conflict in an informative and engaging manner, revealing the impact it had at both an individual and a national level. The centre is housed in a striking building designed by Reiach and Hall, which enhances the experience for the visitor, reminding us of the value that a sense of ‘place’ has for all of us and the important role that the built environment plays in enriching our lives."

Sir Kenneth Calman, Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland said, "Our charity is proud to have been charged with the care of this important site since the 1930s. The Trust’s aim is to tell this place’s story with academic accuracy and balance, in the most compelling way we can. We have worked with world-leading experts from a range of disciplines to create this unique experience which is a true testament to their impressive talent and innovation, and which will provide visitors with an unrivalled insight into medieval battle and the events of June 1314."

Historic Scotland News


St Ives exhibition now on display at Stirling University

copyright Stirling University Art Collection

Stirling University Art Collection is currently hosting an exhibition of work in the collection created by artists associated with the Cornish coastal town of St Ives. St Ives began to flourish as an artist’s colony in the 1800s, but in the 1940s, due to the mix of characters and artists living and working there, it took on a particularly significant role in the development of modern art in Britain.

Scottish artist Margaret Mellis and her husband Adrian Stokes, an art critic, moved to St Ives at the outbreak of war in 1939. They soon drew other artists to the town, including Ben Nicolson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo who together established an international artist colony and outpost for the abstract avant-garde. Wilhelmina Barns-Graham arrived in St Ives in March 1940 on a travel grant from Edinburgh College of Art, unable to travel abroad due to the war. She too had been drawn there by Mellis, who was a college friend from her time at Edinburgh College of Art.

Although Mellis left St Ives in 1946, Barns-Graham stayed on, maintaining a home and studio right up until her death in 2004. Once the war ended Nicolson, Hepworth and Barns-Graham were joined by a new stream of artists, among them Paul Feiler, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton and John Wells, who were drawn to St Ives and settled there to live and create. Between them these artists had a decisive effect on the development of painting in Britain in the second half of the 20th Century. As well as artists who took up permanent residency in the town, there were others who made short visits, such as Julian Trevelyan and Graham Sutherland.

The exhibition will be on display in the Pathfoot Building gallery until March 2014.

SEE whats on at Stirling University Art Collection


2014 Banner for the Smith

Twenty textile artists have collaborated on the new banner, sewn by the members of the Stirling and District Embroiderers Guild.

With the 140th birthday of the Smith, the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn, the centenary of the Great War, and the 50th anniversary of the Stirling – Dunedin twinning, the Year of Homecoming 2014 is a special year for Stirling and the Guild members have created a new work of art to mark it.

Drawing all of the threads of history together has been a year-long labour of love for the artists. Depicted on the banner is the Stirlingshire landscape, wild flowers, and some of the best built heritage – the Castle, Wallace Monument, Bannockburn, Cambuskenneth Abbey, the University and the Smith itself. The Stirling Heads make a special appearance.

The banner has been skilfully constructed in three parts, allowing each of the parts to be displayed separately, in different places, if required in future. Provost Mike Robbins, who is also a Smith Trustee, welcomed the Banner to the Smith.

The Banner is in the Stirling Threads exhibition in the Stirling Smith, which runs until 6 April and includes everything from a Bishop’s Preaching Scarf to a pair of shoes made for a fairy and finely embroidered evening bags.

SEE Whats On at the Stirling Smith


The Bible - The Complete Word of God

The Reduced Shakespeare Co. return with The Bible - The Complete Word of God (Abridged)

They're back. And this time, it's Biblical. After last year's sold out performance of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), this Feb the three cultural guerrillas of The Reduced Shakespeare Company return to macrobert with hit show The Bible - The Complete Word Of God (Abridged).

As impossible as it may seem, in just an hour and a half the bad boys of abbreviation will tackle all religion's big questions in a rollicking roller-coaster ride from fig-leaves to final judgement.

Did Adam and Eve have navels? Did Moses really look like Charlton Heston? And why isn't 'phonetic' spelt the way it sounds? Whether you're Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, Atheist or Jedi, you're guaranteed to find the answers you never knew you wanted at macrobert for ONE NIGHT ONLY on Thursday 13th February.

SEE Whats On at Stirling macrobert


January

Celebrating the work of Robert Burns at Stirling Castle

Stirling and Edinburgh Castles will be celebrating all things Robert Burns this weekend with a programme of events exploring the life and works of one of Scotland’s most famous sons. To mark Burns’ Night, events will take place from 24-26 January and will include activities for all ages.

Burns visited Stirling Castle in 1787 and was so affected by the history of the place that when he returned to his lodgings he etched the now-famous Stirling Lines into a window pane in his room with a diamond-tipped pen. The lines lament the demise of the Stewart Dynasty and the ruinous state of the castle at the time, which is said to have aroused Burns’s Jacobitism.

At Stirling Castle, a series of special tours will take the route of a normal castle tour but will include recitals of Burns’ poetry and prose. For the little ones, Burns for Bairns is a series of fun tours of the castle especially for children, designed to teach them more about the bard.

Visitors of all ages can try their hand at composing a few lines about their visit to Stirling Castle in the manner of Burns in a pop-up Poet’s Corner. Youngsters will even have the chance to enter their work into a competition to win a voucher for the gift shop. Furthermore, in the Great Hall the castle’s chef will teach visitors more about the history of the Burns’ Supper and Deanston Distillery will be hosting whisky tastings in the gift shop.

All events at Stirling castle are included in the cost of admission. They form part of the Year of Homecoming 2014’s programme of events celebrating Scotland’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Learn more about one of Scotland’s most famous sons in a programme of events that will entertain children and adults alike.


PGA Ryder Cup Heritage Exhibition

The Ryder Cup has become famous worldwide, and every two years the best players from Europe and the United States compete to win this iconic tournament. As Gleneagles host the Ryder Cup in 2014. The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is pleased to announce that it will be the first Scottish host for the PGA Ryder Cup Heritage Exhibition.

Golf fans will be able to follow the story of the Ryder Cup from its creation in 1926 at the Wentworth club, through to the 2014 tournament.

The exhibition is in Gallery 2 of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. ADMISSION FREE. There will be a programme of Events to follow shortly.

SEE Whats On at the Stirling Smith



Fourteen anniversaries to mark Stirling 2014

Stirling Council Libraries and Archives Service has unveiled a list of 14 historical events of interest to mark Stirling 2014. Stirling has witnessed a number of key events over the centuries that have helped to shape the future of Scotland, Britain, Europe and in some cases – the world.

Stirling Council archaeologist Murray Cook said: "People know about great battles like Bannockburn, but there have been many other fascinating events across the centuries. During 2014, we’ll be inviting local residents and visitors to join us in finding out more about our remarkable past."

Murray has selected two key anniversaries to highlight – the witchcraft trials of 1659 and the preparations for the D-Day landings of 1944. He said, "A dozen women were tried for witchcraft over the space of two days in March 1659. The charges were nonsense and the consequences were awful. Those found guilty were banished and would be strangled to death if they ever returned, and those found innocent had their lives ruined – accusations of that sort would stick, whatever the judgment."

"But where the witchcraft trials showed brutality and intolerance, the D-Day story was very different.The Allies managed to smuggle plans for the German fortifications off the French coast out of Europe in a biscuit tin. They built huge secret replicas near Sheriffmuir and tested different techniques and explosives. This was absolutely critical to the success of the D-Day landings."

The 14 key events chosen by Murray and his team at the Libraries and Archives Service are

1.January 2nd – 8th, 1746 Jacobites in Stirling, and February 1st, 1746, explosion at St Ninians Church
2.February 13th, 1637 Cowane’s Hospital founded
3.March 22nd – 23rd, 1659 Trial of 12 women for witchcraft in the Tolbooth
4.April 1st – 8th, 1820 Radical Uprising (Baird and Hardie executed September 8th, 1820)
5.May 24th – 25th, 1425 Trial and execution of Murdoch Duke of Albany at Stirling Castle and Mote Hill
6.June 6th, 1944 D-Day landings (Second World War)
7.June 11th, 1488 Battle of Sauchieburn and death of James III
8.July 28th, 1914 Declaration of War (First World War)
9.July 29th, 1567 James VI crowned
10.August 6th – 14th, 1651 Civil War (siege of Stirling by General Monck)
11.September 11th, 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge and the inauguration of the Wallace Monument 1869
12.September 9th, 1513 Death of James IV at Flodden Field
13.November 13th, 1715 Battle of Sheriffmuir
14.November 1314 The first post Bannockburn parliament.

A varied and high-quality programme of events is being developed for Stirling 2014 including two Homecoming 2014 Signature Events – Bannockburn Live and the Armed Forces Day national event.

News item from Stirling council website


New Year, New Season at the macrobert arts centre

Spring 2014 is the macrobert's biggest season yet, presenting the very best of theatre, comedy and dance for all ages. From classics like Hedda Gabler and Swan Lake to raucous new comedy Wendy Hoose, the return of their ever-popular Let's Dance season featuring the premiere of Northern Ballet's Three Little Pigs, brilliant family theatre with Visible Fictions, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and macrobert's own Too Many Penguins. Also visits from top comediens Alex Horne and Craig Hill among many others. We're sure there's something in there for everyone.

January is the perfect month to curl up in macrobert's cozy wee cinema to catch some great new films.

With Disney's Frozen for the families, brand new Hollywood smash The Butler and the sequel to everyone's favourite comedy, Anchorman 2, we're pretty sure there is something for everyone.

January also sees the very first National Theatre Live broadcast, with Coriolanus, starring Tom Hiddleston, being screened live from London's Donmar Warehouse on 30th January, and we're pleased to say Curry and Movie Thursdays are BACK with Palme d'Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Colour on 16th.

SEE Whats On at Stirling macrobert


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