Taking place from 17 – 26 May at venues across the city centre, this year’s Perth Festival of the Arts line-up is one of the most diverse in the festival’s long history and has something which will appeal to people of all tastes. The Festival Box Office is getting ready to open at 10am on Monday 29 March.

Taking place over ten days at Perth Concert Hall, Perth Theatre and St. John’s Kirk, Perth Festival of the Arts has no fewer than 26 different events in this year’s programme, ranging from opera and big musical performances to contemporary art exhibitions and fun, thought-provoking stage shows.

Some things are different this year – a new venue, a new illustrator and a broadcast on Radio 2. Perth Theatre is open again after its spectacular refurbishment. We have really missed it. We love the Concert Hall of course and it means that we had to programme bigger shows because of the space. We have missed the intimacy of those quirky events we find on the Edinburgh Fringe and stage in the Theatre. We’ve got a new look designed by local artist, Jill Calder from Cellardyke. Every five years or so we commission a new artist to design our Festival brochure, posters and street banners. We are thrilled with Jill’s design which encompasses our broad programme.
We’ve also teamed up with the BBC, who are in town for the BBC Biggest Weekend, for a broadcast on BBC Radio 2. Our “resident house band” Jools Holland & his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra – who first appeared at Perth Festival of the Arts in 1998 – will be returning to the stage bringing Soft Cell star Marc Almond as his special guest. The concert will be broadcast on Radio 2.

English Touring Opera open the Festival with a stunning production of The Marriage of Figaro and a night of Rossini Arias. Two Scottish sopranos Rachel Redmond from Glasgow and Katherine Aitken from Dundee make their Scottish debut in the Figaro production. Scottish Opera will also be here with their trailer converted into an opera house with free shows beside the Concert Hall. The Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra with violinist Jennifer Pike, the youngest ever winner of the prestigious BBC Young Musician of the Year, close the Festival on the 26th May. More top drawer classical acts include Royal Northern Sinfonia, Lars Vogt, Tenebrae; and Children’s Classic Concerts will perform Peter and The Wolf for a Saturday Morning audience.
Grimethorpe Colliery Band – a Yorkshire-based brass band, stars of the hit film “Brassed Off”, play a night in Perth Concert Hall and for fans of Scottish bands the triple bill of The Elephant Sessions, Siobhan Miller and Fara will certainly be a highlight. The Elephant Sessions won Album of the Year and Siobhan won Scots Singer of the Year at the 2017 Trad Awards.

Among the names appearing in the festival’s stage shows over the ten days is crime-writer Val McDermid, who will be interviewed on stage at Perth Theatre by comedian and broadcaster, Fred MacAulay. Kirkcaldy’s McDermid has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and had her work translated into 30 different languages.

Ruby Wax will also bring her one-woman show ‘Frazzled’ to Perth Theatre as part of Perth Festival of the Arts programme, based on her best-seller ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’. The US-born comedy actress will give the audience an insight into mental health and the show is not recommended for those under the age of fourteen.
The Theatre also hosts ex Communard and broadcaster, The Rev Richard Coles, clarinettist Emma Johnson, an Edinburgh Fringe favourite show about “Ern and Ern” and an enchanting ballet The “Nutcracker and I” which is enhanced by digital animation projected onto the stage. The Flying Bridge Theatre Company travel up from Wales for the one man show “Between the Crosses”.
We always feature home grown talent and this year is no different singer/songwriter and violin player Hannah Fisher from Dunkeld gives a Saturday morning recital. She plays regularly with Idlewild, King Creosote and Roddy Woomble. Opera singer Donald Maxwell, also comes from Perth and gives his Farewell Concert in Perth Theatre after many successful years on the opera circuit. Young local talent is abundant in the daily free schools concerts in St John’s Kirk and in Perth Youth Orchestra who also play in the Festival.
Festival Chairman, Peter Rutterford, said of this year’s festival programme: “We’re delighted to announce this year’s Perth Festival of the Arts line-up and this year the focus has been to put together a programme that is diverse and will appeal to people of different interests.”
“We have some terrific classical and operatic performances to look forward to, as well as the fantastic arTay exhibitions curated by local art gallery Frames. We’ll also be welcoming big names such as Val McDermid, Ruby Wax, and Richard Coles for stage shows at the newly refurbished Perth Theatre, a venue we are delighted to have back open and available for the festival this year.”

This year’s festival takes place during an exciting month of music and entertainment in Perth and Kinross with BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend coming to Scone Palace in May, and Peter is hoping that people will come out in force to enjoy Perth Festival of the Arts and other events happening around the same time.

He added: “Perth is attracting some of the best names in the arts and music industry, and that can only be a good thing for the city and for Perth Festival of the Arts. We believe our programme caters for people with lots of different tastes, and hope that audiences will come along and enjoy our annual arts festival and the other great music, arts and cultural events taking place in Perth.”
For the full festival line-up including dates, times and ticket information visit the Perth Festival of the Arts website at https://www.perthfestival.co.uk. For further information about the festival, please contact the programme organisers at info@perthfestival.co.uk.