26 January, 2021

Pitlochry Announces Winter Words Festival 2021

Pitlochry Festival Theatre are thrilled to announce there WILL be a seventeenth Winter Words Festival for 2021. The building may be closed, but the determined team at Pitlochry continues to provide a constant programme for audiences, and that includes the annual festival, this year over a full week, 8-14 February complete with live Q&As!

Winter Words may be a little different this year – a smaller series of digital events - but it is live and interactive, and still brings together well-known, and -loved authors, playwrights, poets, adventurers, broadcasters and TV Personalities in one virtual place. And new for 2021 is an ALL ACCESS package – Winter Words Lovers can join all 12 online events PLUS receive recordings of them all to watch at their leisure for a period, shortly after the festival.

Pitlochry Festival theatre are delighted to be introducing multi-award-winning novelist and poet, Mark Haddon to Winter Words audiences. Mark is known for his series of Agent Z books - Agent Z and the Penguin from Mars was made into a Children's BBC sitcom; he also wrote the screenplay for the BBC’s Raymond Briggs's Fungus the Bogeyman.

But, Mark is best known for his Whitbread Book of the Year award-winning novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted for a hugely successful stage production by Simon Stephens and produced by the National Theatre. For Winter Words, Mark will be in conversation with award-winning Radio Producer, Polly Thomas, talking about theatre and literature working together.

Also featuring in this year’s line-up, Pitlochry welcomes back Neil Oliver, archaeologist, historian, author and broadcaster – best known as presenter of the BBC documentary series, Coast. Bestselling author of The Story Of The British Isles In 100 Places, join Neil on a global journey back in time to ideas buried in forgotten cultures and early civilizations in his latest book, Wisdom of the Ancients. Distilling their wisdom into twelve messages, Neil invites us to consider how these might apply to our lives today. The result is powerful and inspirational, moving and profound.

Actor, presenter and writer, Shobna Gulati - famed for playing Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street, along with roles in Dinnerladies and River City, as well as presenting Loose Women - has her first ‘visit’ to Winter Words this year. Her book, Remember Me?: Discovering My Mother as She Lost Her Memory is a memoir about caring for a parent with dementia and the memories that resurface in the process. Shobna will be in conversation with Pitlochry’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman, talking about her writing and her acting career.

Another new name at Winter Words this year is leading British television presenter, television and stage actor, Dallas Campbell. Dallas’ programmes explore the rich culture of science, engineering and technology and he is a familiar face from many magazine, quiz and live programmes including The Sky at Night, Airport Live, Bang Goes the Theory, The Gadget Show and Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Dara Ó Briain. Dallas’ book Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet, looks in-depth at the history, science and culture of human spaceflight.

Joining the festival in conversation with Pitlochry’s Associate Director, Amy Liptrott, is Scottish crime-writer and playwright, Denise Mina with whom Amy worked on the National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival series, directing Aleister Crowley Summons the Devil. Denise has now published 14 novels and also writes short stories and plays - as well as adapting Steig Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy as graphic novels - and will be talking about her most recent book, The Less Dead.

Liz Lochhead, former Makar, or National Poet of Scotland and recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, playwright and broadcaster, returns to Winter Words for 2021 in conversation with Elizabeth and reciting her poetry. While Kirstin Innes, whose first novel, Fishnet, won The Guardian Not The Booker Prize, will be talking about her latest book, Scabby Queen, as well as her love of performance - she might even be performing!

Olivier Award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm joins Winter Words for 2021. Morgan was commissioned by The Globe to write Emilia – about Emilia Bassano, writer of one of the first poetry collections by a woman in 1611, and perhaps the ‘Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets – which won the 2020 Nöel Coward Olivier Award for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play. Morgan will be in conversation with Elizabeth Newman about her work as a playwright and all things theatre.

Pitlochry fans will instantly recognise both actor Colin McCredie – best known for playing D.C Fraser in Taggart for STV - from playing Scrooge in the theatre’s 2019 A Christmas Carol, as well as their Santa in The Magic of Christmas, as well as professional photographer and author, Alan McCredie, having taken part in Winter Words in previous years. This year they have a double-whammy as the brothers team up, talking about their careers and lives in the arts, as well as their love of football and Alan's new book, Snapshot: Scenes and Stories from the Heartlands of Scottish Football around the gritty, alluring essence of Scotland’s national game.

Sunday evening sees a panel event, sponsored by the Highland Book Prize to close Winter Words - a trio of writers, listed or having won the Highland Book Prize: David Gange, Malachy Tallack and Kapka Kassabova, in a discussion focussed on writing about ‘place’. David is a nature writer, kayaker and historian writing about coastlines and sea-life, archaeology, religion and Victorian Britain. In 2016-17 he kayaked from Shetland to the Channel for his book The Frayed Atlantic Edge which won the Highland Book Prize. Malachy has written on a variety of subjects, including politics, literature, landscape and agriculture. The Valley at the Centre of the World was his debut novel set against the rugged west coast of Shetland, about family and inheritance, rapid change and an age-old way of life, and was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize. Kapka is a writer of narrative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction and her latest book, To The Lake is longlisted for the Highland Book Prize, and explores the human geography of two ancient lakes crossing Macedonia, Albania and Greece and how geopolitics imprint themselves upon individuals, families and nations.

Helping to celebrate their anniversary in 2021, former Chair of the theatre’s Board of Trustees, Colin Liddell will be talking about Pitlochry Festival Theatre at 70. Colin, Chair for nine years and a Trustee for 18, has recently taken up a new position within the Board to lead the Vision 2021 Committee overseeing the Theatre’s exciting and ambitious plans for future development, and presides over a marvellous archive of the theatre’s origins and documents, as well personal experience of the last 20 years’ developments.

Launching the Festival on the Monday evening, is a special event with Pitlochry’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman and Scotland’s most prolific playwright, David Greig, live and in conversation about all things Scottish Theatre. They will also share insights into their brand-new joint venture with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, where David is also Artistic Director, and audio production company, Naked Productions, Sound Stage.

New, immersive, audio digital theatre, Sound Stage follows the huge success of the work on Adventures with the Painted People last June, produced for BBC Radio 3, and features eight brand new plays from some of the UK's best loved playwrights. Premièring monthly, the season starts in March with ANGELA from Mark Ravenhill, followed by Roy Williams, John Byrne, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Lynda Radley, Jaimini Jethwa, Frances Poet, and Gary McNair, plus exciting announcements of stellar casts to come. Significantly, the venture seeks to create something of the buzz and experience of going to the theatre: mingling in a virtual bar-cum-chatroom before the show, bells ringing to announce the play’s start, and the option to stay afterwards for a post-show discussion.

All tickets will be limited this year – book now to avoid disappointment.

Click here to find out more and to book or email box office on boxoffice@pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com

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