Electrifying theatre


Until 10 years ago, The Occasion theatre company, in its various guises, were regular visitors to SEALL.

It was a pleasure to welcome back founders Peter Clerke and Catherine Gillard to SEALL at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in another of their highly creative works, The Monster and Mary Shelley, which is currently touring Scotland.

It has been 200 years since the bright and precocious teenager Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley published her book Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, and The Occasion puts Mary in the spotlight as she reflects on the circumstances which formed her unconventional lifestyle and their interrelationship with the creation of her nameless creature.

This is a captivating portrait of a young woman whose radical ideologies and unruly modus vivendi, considered monstrous in the 19th century, had been stitched together by the influences of her parents, her husband and the associated company they kept. Her creature was her salvation, the spark of life that justified her existence, and echoed the challenge to her perceived identity within a disapproving society as the “monster abhorr’d”.

Catherine Gillard puts on a convincing and spell-binding performance as the charismatic Mary and ably manages to place a contemporary mood into what is intrinsically a Gothic setting. The only other character in the production is the creature which sits brooding under wraps behind her and provides an almost silent alter-ego to which she can bounce off her reflections and animate her tale.

Stewart Ennis’ script is profound and compelling. His themes of love, loss, place and identity are delivered with empathy and understanding; often dark but punctuated at intervals with spells of bright humour to bring light to the mood.

The production is brought together by an atmospheric backdrop of shrouded shapes and some clever lighting that accentuate and enhance the changing moods and events in Mary’s life and it was a privilege to get to know her personally through a simple yet illuminating and brilliant piece of theatre.

It is a delight to present theatre of this quality to SEALL. Small-scale theatre companies are sometimes over-looked by rural audiences, one of the reasons being the presumption that they may disappoint. In Scotland alone, there are many companies just like The Occasion with a staggering diversity and range of work who are touring excellent theatre pieces that enlighten, educate, inform and entertain, just like The Monster and Mary Shelley. They deserve our strong support and a robust applause.

We look forward to the next visit by The Occasion.

 

 

Young Fiddle Bursary at Alasdair Fraser’s Summer Camp

Do you know of a young fiddler looking for a place at the SMO Fiddle camp?

SEALL is offering to give one young fiddle player from the Skye and Lochalsh area the chance to attend the prestigious Alasdair Fraser Fiddle Camp at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in July. The bursary will cover fees and accommodation, Anyone between the ages of 18 and 26, who is on a low income and who has a basic knowledge of fiddle playing, is invited to apply, regardless of ability.

The course takes place between 21 and 27 July and includes a range of unique workshops, lively performances and the opportunity to get to know other musicians and participate in group work for all abilities. Classes are held daily and sessions/concerts are enjoyed nightly, with a huge final public cèilidh on the 27 July.

The camp, which runs alongside a cello course by Natalie Haas, holds the unique honour of being the only one taught by Alasdair in the whole of the UK, and each year students from Scotland and around the globe return to join Alasdair and Natalie in creating a unique experience on Skye.

SEALL production manager, Marie Lewis, said: “Twenty eighteen is the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People and a celebration of an inspiring and gifted generation of creative thinkers and high achievers.

 “The year, in particular, is about providing opportunities for young people to achieve and grow by showcasing their extraordinary contribution to communities, innovation, the environment and culture.

“We wanted to play our part in this celebration for young people in Skye and Lochalsh and came up with the idea of a bursary for Alasdair Fraser’s Fiddle Camp week. We are focusing on an independent young person who would benefit from the experience but whose income is too low to be able to afford the fees and accommodation.”

The course is attended by over 100 fiddle players from all over the world who come to play and learn the instrument in a fun, friendly and non-competitive environment.

Marie added: “This really is an excellent course. People return every year for the experience and the week gets booked up very early in the year. It is already fully booked.

“Alasdair brings people together to make music, regardless of ability. He has people who play in philharmonic orchestras playing alongside complete beginners and everyone feels as if they are a member of a big musical family. What is also good about this course is that it is very democratic. There is no selection process, no pressure to achieve and attendees here make friends for life.

“We would encourage applications from anyone from Skye and Lochalsh who is between the age of 18 to 26, looking for a very special chance to make music and friends in one of Scotland’s most beautiful environments.”

For further information and an application form, contact Marie on 01471 844207 or email marie@seall.co.uk. Deadline for applications is Friday, 18 May.

Ross and Ali

Dynamic musical duo Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton are taking their anticipated new album out on the road and will stop off for a concert on Skye this month.

The partnership between these two multi-instrumental Scots trad giants from Perthshire has received a number of high profile awards since 2015, including BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo in 2017 and a nomination for the same accolade this year.

Together Ross (who plays Border pipes, whistles, cittern, banjo and harmonium) and Ali (Highland pipes, whistles, guitar, tenor guitar and harmonium) have been described as “rugged and inventive yet true to the tradition”. Over the years they have become major figures in the Scots trad music scene, following the footsteps of Gordon Duncan and Martyn Bennett.

Ali said: “We both grew up through the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band and were lucky to have Gordon Duncan as our mentor. Gordon let us see the possibilities that can happen with the bagpipes and instilled a passion in us to play them with other instruments.

“We really get a huge buzz from playing Scots trad music so I guess that’s why we choose it over other genres. Its the music that excites us!”

Celebrated Scottish Kirkhill fiddle player Duncan Chisholm described the pair as “two complete musical minds, connected first and foremost as lifelong friends.”

Ali explained: “We’ve been playing and jamming together since we were in our early teens and spent a lot of time sitting in bedrooms, listening to music and coming up with our own music, so it’s very natural to get material together. I suppose there’s a mutual understanding about each other that allows the process of making music very easy.”

Ross and Ali are touring their new album Symbiosis II and come to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, An Talla Mhòr, on Friday, 27 April.

Ross said: “Symbiosis II is a continuation of the work we’ve been producing as a duo over the last few years. Once again, it is an album of mostly self-penned music. This time we decided to go bigger on the production. The album is a bigger band sound, complimented by the talents of Duncan Lyall on Moog and synths, Martin O’ Neill on bodhran and kit, Steve Byrnes on kit, and Patsy Reid on strings.”

The concert begins at 7.30pm and, as is customary at SEALL’s traditional music events, young local musicians will open the night. Malin Lewis, fiddle and pipes; Lewis McLachlan, tenor guitar; and James Bauld, flute and whistle, all from Plockton’s National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, will play a set.

Ross added: “Trad music has become very popular with younger people and the standard that the younger ones are at now is pretty incredible.

“It’s very important to encourage young musicians to perform and write music. The folk scene is thriving at the minute. It’s constantly growing and evolving. It’s a great opportunity for young musicians to perform alongside professional bands as it gives them a taste of what it’s like to be a full-time musician. Allowing for them to consider this as a viable career option.”

The event takes place at 7.30pm and is sponsored by Fearran Eilean Iarmain who will be hosting gin and whisky tasting sessions during the evening.

Other events coming up at SEALL are a concert by legendary Irish musician Andy Irvine on 21 April at An Talla Mhòr and a rare visit by the Travelling Gallery to Broadford on Saturday 28 April in the car park outside Café Sia. 

TO RESERVE YOUR SEATS FOR ROSS AND ALI, CLICK HERE

SEALL’s Memory sharing session

SEALL has been promoting since 1991. Have you been coming to SEALL events for some time? Have you got stories relating to concerts, theatre and events? SEALL is a member of The Touring Network who are also creating an exhibition relating to Highland-wide touring in the last 20 years. They are running a Memory-sharing session on Saturday 31 March, from 6-7pm just before the Mike Vass concert. Please let us know you are coming by going HERE

Blasad Gàidhlig – Gaelic on Holiday

Every Wednesday, 3-4pm – An introduction to Gaelic

Abairtean, ainmean-àite, eachdraidh, cultar…

Gaelic is the native language of this area and you will find it all around you, on place-names, road signs and spoken by many in the community. Come along for an informal introduction to the Gaelic language and culture and learn a little Gaelic. For complete beginners. Fàilte ron a h-uile duine! Saor an asgaidh. Everybody welcome! Free entry. In the meeting room, upstairs in the Iain Noble Building, across the road from the main entrance to the College Campus.

SEALL all go to the end of December

SEALL is delighted that we have been given the go-ahead by Creative Scotland with our programme of events up to the end of December. A generous funding package allows us to expand our events and develop our quality management of those events (thankyou Marie Lewis and Sara Bain) from March to the end of the year.
We are now working hard to complete funding for the Skye Festival in July and August.

The Full Colour Programme is HERE

SEALL’s new Spring 2018 full colour programme has been sent to the printers so will be available very soon. Then you can sit in the comfort of your bath and digest the wonderful list of events up to June. Download your copy of the SPRING  PROGRAMME

‘Cèilidh’ A sell-out

“Imagine a cèilidh that could wake the dead” The Herald

 “Beautiful Gaelic songs … with plenty of humour and successfully captures the cèilidh spirit” The Wee Review

For this week, a lively and fun piece of musical theatre capturing the true spirit of the cèilidh comes to the north and south ends of Skye.

Gaelic language-based Theatre Gu Leòr brings Cèilidh to Kilmuir Hall tonight (22 March) and to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, TDC main hall, on Friday. Both shows begin at 7.30pm.

Wild, outspoken and buried face down on the Isle of Harris, poet Màiri Ruadh is back from beyond the grave, with one last night to resurrect the true meaning of the cèilidh. She has fire in her belly and is determined never to be silenced again.

Cèilidh is a new play full of live music, songs and stories. It is subtitled and suitable for anyone with or without Gaelic, but only those ready for a cèilidh like no other!

Look out for event changes

Once we publish an event it then gets into all sorts of public listings. If the event has to be changed it is impossible for us to change all those listings. So always keep a look out here for changes, or make sure you are getting our weeklly email or find us on Facebook.

SEALL at Showcase Scotland

SEALL was well represented at the recent 5-day Showcase Scotland gathering in Glasgow as part of Celtic Connections. They met with over 120 international festival and event organisers, attended meetings and the Trade Fair, and worked hard all day and all evening seeing more than 25 different bands. It is tiring work but someone has to do it. We also distributed 300 Skye Festival postcards around the venues.