7 January, 2021

Pitlochry launches first Winter Ensemble for 70th year

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is delighted to announce that to celebrate the start of its 70th anniversary year, it will, for the first time in its history, be creating an exciting Winter Ensemble of 21 actors from Scotland and further afield.

Unlike previous ensembles at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, the ensemble will be entirely creating new work online during the winter months.

Although the circumstances of COVID have been awful and, like all theatres, Pitlochry Festival Theatre has experienced a hard time, the theatre has tried to reflect on the positives. Inspired by the theatre’s Summer Ensemble ‘going digital’ – due to the postponement of the theatre’s Summer Season - Pitlochry Festival Theatre wanted to continue its important work through into the winter to enable them to keep connected with their audiences, both local, throughout the UK, and across the globe.

The Winter Ensemble will work with the theatre’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman, and PFT’s Associate Directors to generate artistic content for audiences to enjoy worldwide. They will also take part in readings, development projects and other artistic activity.

The Pitlochry Festival Theatre Winter Programme will feature:

  • #PFTLightHopeJoy- An online programme of diverse content: monologues, book readings, bite-sized gems of joy like fun facts, poetry, stories, songs, music and engagement and participation activities.

  • Young Explorers- a series of new works especially for children

  • WritersRoom- a space to support writers to develop their new work

  • The theatre will be working in partnership projects with organisations like the National Trust for Scotland, Fèis Tatha, local and other theatres across the UK

  • Poetry Fields- a digital programme that will make use of the theatre’s natural environment to welcome audiences onsite to have meaningful experiences through curated aural engagement. The Winter Ensemble will create audio work to be heard by audiences as they experience the outdoor spaces in the theatre’s beautiful gardens.

  • This work will also be produced alongside devised and curated works selected by the Winter Ensemble.


The Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Winter Ensemble includes: Olivier award-nominated Clare Foster (Consent, West End; Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory); Colin McCredie (Taggart, ITV); Kirsty Stuart (Faith Healer, Pitlochry Festival Theatre; The Duchess, the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh); Jessica Hardwick (Barefoot in the Park, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh); Damian Humbley (Lend me a Tenor, Merrily We Roll Along, West End; Local Hero, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh); Richard Standing (Faith Healer, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Brian Ferguson (Beats, Sixteen Films); Anne Odeke (The Winter’s Tale, Royal Shakespeare Company); Michelle Chantelle Hopewell (The Princess Switch: Switched Again, Netflix); Greg Powrie (Frankenstein, Selladoor Productions); Deirdre Davis (River City, BBC Scotland); David Rankine (Blithe Spirit, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Fiona Wood (Blonde Bombshells of 1943, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Gordon Houston (Aleister Crowley Summons The Devil, National Theatre of Scotland); Kenny Boyle (Lost at Christmas, Magic Monkey Films); Barbara Hockaday (The Crucible, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Ali Watt (A Christmas Carol, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); MJ Deans (Ferry Tales, National Theatre of Scotland); Olivier Huband (Barefoot in the Park, Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Bea Webster (The Winter’s Tale, Royal Shakespeare Company) and the BAFTA Scotland-nominated Lois Chimimba (Noises Off, Lyric Hammersmith).

Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman said:

This is a seminal moment for Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Our first Winter Ensemble will be vital to our work next year. I am personally over the moon to share this news, especially for our 70th Anniversary. By creating PFT’s first Winter Ensemble, we intend to celebrate actors and their artistry. Actors are vital to our work. We pride ourselves on being an actor’s theatre: an important home for actors. We can’t wait to get started. And to continue our work to produce a safe space for artists to create incredible performances and, therefore, life-changing experiences for our audiences. Bring on 2021!”

Winter Ensemble member Anne Odeke said:

“I can’t wait to get started with the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Team and the rest of the Winter Ensemble in the New Year. We are planning to make some really important work in the coming months, and I know how much it will speak to people’s hearts and minds, especially now. Safe to say, we are excited to get started together to continue the brilliant work of the Summer Ensemble; to bring more light, hope and joy to the public as well as make some amazing new work for the awesome audiences to enjoy too.”

Pitlochry actor Greg Powrie said:

“I’ve had a long and joyful history working at PFT over many years, so I’m thrilled to be returning to be part of the Theatre’s first Winter Ensemble. I’ve lived in the Pitlochry community for a number of years so I’m passionate about making some great work for our local communities and reaching new audiences too.”

Actor Colin McCredie said

“I’ve loved working at Pitlochry Festival Theatre the last couple of years so I’m excited to be part of their first Winter Ensemble and cooking up some great new things for audiences to enjoy online and outdoors! It’s going to be a real celebration of all things theatre and art and nature!”

Actor Clare Foster added:

"I came to Pitlochry in 2019 to experience the Summer Season. I thought the work was incredible, so I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the Theatre's first Winter Ensemble. I also fell in love with the place, so I am really looking forward to producing some great new pieces for the PFT audiences, old and new, to enjoy in the coming months. I am passionate about how we reach people during this difficult time and how we make great work which helps them feel more connected to each other and the rest of the world. I know this Ensemble is going to work hard to do just that."

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