summer tunes with a bit of drama

Thursday 10th July 2014

Another summer is upon us and our youngsters are busy attending Fèisean across the country, the Sgoil Shamhraidh Dhràma (Gaelic Drama Summer School) is taking place in Portree and Fèis Alba is providing training for Cèilidh Trail participants in Plockton. Participants are working towards Thursday 17 July when the Cèilidh Trailers and Sgoil Shamhraidh Dhràma will come together with a performance night in Aros, Portree mixing traditional music with a little more drama than usual!

17 young Gaelic-speaking actors are in Portree between 7 and 18 July taking part in the Sgoil Shamhraidh Dhràma, now in its seventh year. Working towards the performance evening under the direction of Daibhidh Walker and Angus Macleod, the young stars will be trained in a wide variety of stage and performace skills.

In recognition of this, the one hundredth year since the start of the Great War, this year’s theme is “War”, and participants will be looking at this subject through scripts, poetry and other material written and collected by Angus Macleod and Daibhidh Walker. Supporting Daibhidh and Angus will be Roddy Nicolson from Eden Court and Eilidh Daniels.

On top of the drama evening which will bring the fortnight to an end, a screening of the first-ever Gaelic feature-length film ‘As an Eilean’ will be held in Aros as part of the Sgoil Shamhraidh on Saturday 12 July from 7.30pm. Admission will be free of charge.

Dougie Beck, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s drama officer said: “Fèisean nan Gàidheal has taken the lead with this initiative since it was rekindled in 2008. Since then around 100 participants have been involved, some of whom have gone on to careers in the Gaelic arts world. In this Year of Homecoming we are delighted that Cara Coburn, who is engaged by Fèisean nan Gàidheal this summer on a Comunn na Gàidhlig work experience scheme, will be working at the Sgoil Shamhraidh. Cara was one of our first students, attending in 2008 and 2009. Our participants this year are from right across the country, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their hard work at the end of the fortnight.”

Six cèilidh trail groups are attending Fèis Alba, an intensive training week held at the National Centre of Excellence in Tradiaional Music, to hone their musical skills before they go out on the road in their home areas.

This year more than forty young musicians will receive guidance from top musicians and tutors Ewen Henderson, Sileas Sinclair and Fiona MacAskill. The Ceilidh Trailers, representing Fèis Fhoirt, Fèis an Earraich (Ceilear), Fèis Chataibh, Fèis Spè, Fèis Latharna and Fèisean Lochabair will also be involved in marketing, admin, PA, dance and other important aspects of traditional musicians’ lives.

The Cèilidh trailers will then go off to their local areas where they will play more than 200 times over the summer. Amongst the higher-profile events at which they will appear are the Glasgow2014 Festival on Monday 28 July in Glasgow, where several groups will appear together, and later on that day there will be a special event at the Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre where they will play with the fantastic group Breabach.

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