Traditional Scottish singer Sheena Wellington to launch StAnza 2017
The wait is finally over as tickets for this year’s StAnza festival go on sale. With the full programme now online, the box office is open for the much anticipated event which takes place in March in St Andrews, Fife.
StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival lasts for five days from 1st to 5th March and features around 100 events, many of them free – a diverse range of performances, readings, music, drama, talks, workshops and a masterclass, open mic events, films, exhibitions and installations. StAnza is the place to hear your favourite poet, discover new voices, meet other poets, writers and publishers and enjoy the energetic buzz of the beautiful and historic town of St Andrews.
Festival director Eleanor Livingstone said: “We’re delighted to announce that tickets are now on sale for StAnza 2017 which is special in many ways, but notably because this is our 20th festival. This year’s programme is a wonderful mix of new talent and old friends of StAnza returning to mark this exciting milestone.
“The countdown is now well and truly on for this year’s festival, with the stage set for another fantastic few days where we look forward to welcoming the world to Fife to enjoy a celebration of poetry in all its forms.”
The annual festival this year opens with John Agard’s quirky re-visioning of the notorious New World Enterprise of Christopher Columbus.
Agard, one of Britain’s foremost cross-cultural voices, known for his mischievous satirical wit and winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, takes on the voices of Columbus, The Atlantic Ocean, a native shaman and The Mighty Mosquito. An uproarious voyage in verse – with songs – that mixes the subversive tides of cabaret and calypso. Directed by Mark C. Hewitt with music by Thomas Arnold of Stomp’s Lost and Found Orchestra, creating a one man show like no other.
The opening night show will launch the five day festival with a line-up including internationally acclaimed poets from all over the world. Among the big names to perform at StAnza’s 2017 are British poet Alice Oswald, winner of the Costa Poetry Book prize and previous winner of the T.S. Eliot prize, Scotland’s new Makar, Jackie Kay and Kathleen Jamie, winner of the Saltire Book of the Year Award. They will be joined by poet, critic, biographer and professor at the University of St Andrews, Robert Crawford and Jim Carruth, appointed poet laureate for Glasgow in 2014. Vahni Capildeo, recent winner of this year’s Forward Prize, Scottish poets James McGonigaland A.B. Jackson as well as Sarah Howe, winner of the T.S Eliot prize for her first collection Loop of Jade . Hard-hitting British poet Patience Agbabi, Zambian poet, Kayo Chingonyi and Jacques Darras from France are also included in the programme.
The festival will be launched by traditional Scottish singer Sheena Wellington who has previously performed at one of the early StAnza festivals and returns to celebrate the 20th year. Sheena famously sang Robert Burns’ A Man’s A Man For A’ That at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and connects with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in which StAnza is taking part.
StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes which interweave with each other to give each annual festival its own unique flavour. This year’s first theme On the Road showcases poetry inspired by and reflecting on travel and migration, while the second theme The Heights of Poetry looks at how poetry engages with Scotland’s high places, and the poetic connections between Scotland’s hills and mountains and those elsewhere.
Following on from the success of StAnza’s focus for 2016, on German poetry and culture, this year’s festival will have a dedicated language focus on French, under the title, La Nouvelle Alliance which will see various French speaking poets taking part along with other events with a French connection. Through La Nouvelle Alliance and the theme The Heights of Poetry, StAnza will engage with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in person, by phone and online. Full box office details are online at the booking page or telephone the box office on 01334 475000. The printed brochure will be available later this month.