We’ve launched our programme! Read all about it (and don’t forget to book your tickets..)

20th June 2017

We’ve launched our programme!  Read all about it (and don’t forget to book your tickets..)

2017 Programme

Comedian and broadcaster-turned-chef Hardeep Singh Kohli will add spice to our cultural feast as headliner of this year’s programme. He’ll be cooking curry for guests on the opening night, as an entrée to a line-up which includes successful novelists Simon Mawer, J David Simons, SG Maclean, and Cynthia Rogerson, STV’s Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby, prizewinning poet Jo Shapcott, acclaimed young Scots singer Siobhan Miller, accomplished musician and author Malachy Tallack, rising star pianist Christina Lawrie, critically fêted playwright and novelist Alan Bisset,  and award-winning Edinburgh band The Blueswater.

Our opening night sells fast, and this year’s will be a particularly tasty treat, so book your tickets today

The popular Wine and Crime afternoon features Nicola Upson, who is joined by fellow crime writers Louise Welsh and Lesley Kelly. The crime theme continues with a talk on miscarriages of justice by Hannah Quirk, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law at Manchester University. Malachy Tallack will talk about his book The Un-Discovered Islands - An Archipelago of Myths and Mysteries, Phantoms and Fakes  -  islands once presumed to be real but no longer on the map,  and writer James Miller tells of the horrors of travel in the Highlands and Islands through time.

You can buy a joint ticket for all three Wine and Crime talks, or singly if you prefer.

Three acclaimed poets - Jo Shapcott, Wayne Price and Owen Lowery - are set to appear at Nairn’s Little Theatre in an afternoon of poetry, to be followed later by Alan Bisset, winner of the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Writer of the Year in 2011, who brings his feisty Falkirk heroine to Nairn, in his ‘one-woman’ show, the Moira Monologues.

Highlights of the music programme at the Festival include award-winning Edinburgh band The Blueswater, celebrating 100 years of  the Blues, while the Festival’s popular ‘trad’ night features lauded young traditional singer Siobhan Miller ,  supported by Malachy Tallack, also an accomplished musician.  Pianist Christina Lawrie, hailed as a ‘rising star’ by International Piano, will perform at an event celebrating the life of late local arts patron Gordon Macintyre, co-founder of Nairn Pottery and founder of the Nairn Performing Arts Guild. The Musick Fyne Soloists are joined by the period instruments of Coronach, including recorders, lute, harp, spinet, viol and chalumeau, to evoke all the elegance and beauty of Renaissance Scotland and France in a memorable performance of the finest 16th-century chansons and partsongs.

The Festival’s programme cover was designed by artist Fiona Rodger, well known in the area for her beautiful mosaic at Nairn’s Little Theatre; her cover design celebrates a local inventor’s attempt to fly. The original artwork will be on display at the Court House during the festival, together with a display of painting and photography by five selected Highland artists. Up-and-coming glass sculptor Shaun Fraser will also show work at KEEK at the Seamen’s Victoria Hall, as part of the fourth New Highland Contemporary exhibition.

Photography is a strong thread this year, with Inverness-based Charlie Phillips, Scottish Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2012, talking about his work, which will be on display at Nairn ‘s Community and Arts Centre, alongside Harris-based artist  Beka Globe’s stunning black and white landscape photography. Nairn: One Day – Many Lives, a display of selected photographs taken by local residents on a single day (30th June) in Nairn, will be curated by Nairn Camera Club. Design Director at Glasgow School of Art’s new Creative Campus, Don McIntyre, will talk about his work and give a tour of the Campus, which is housed in newly refurbished Italianate buildings on Altyre Estate.

Dr Natasha Ferguson, Treasure Trove Unit Officer, will talk about Scottish Treasure Trove discoveries; hobbyist metal detecting enthusiasts are invited to bring along their own ‘finds’.  Ian Riches of the National Trust for Scotland gives an introduction to estate records and archives, while his NTS colleague Jennifer Melville, Head of Curatorial and Conservation Services, investigates the links between the Brodie and Gordon families, via a portrait of a beloved dog by Sir Edwin Landseer, and unsung Scottish Victorian poets are put under the spotlight by Strathclyde University’s Professor Kirstie Blair. 

The Festival’s ever popular Kids’ Day is on Saturday 16th September – with free activities for young people including street art, mosaic and mandala making, felting, pottery, photography tips from Nairn Camera Club, and singing and storytelling with national storyteller Lilian Ross.  Also for families, One Man Shoe is a fun theatre performance by Jango Starr – a workshop precedes the show, where children can learn magic tricks and clowning skills.

Gaelic language events, supported by the Gaelic Books Council, include award winning writer and broadcaster Seonag Monk reading for her acclaimed first novel, ‘Mil San Ti (Honey in the Tea)’ and Margaret MacLeod, Catriona Murray and Ishbel Murray discuss the relationship between MacLeod, an acclaimed singer and leading member of trailblazing Gaelic group Na h-Òganaich and ‘The Melbost Bard’ Murdo MacFarlane, in readings, and song. Both talks will feature a simultaneous translation into English.

Local author events feature Dion Alexander, giving a evocative account of island life on Colonsay, Kathy Fraser on life on a Highland estate, BRM Stewart discusses cybercrime and Sam Derbyshire reads from her recent work.  Writers can also take part in a ‘Meet the Publisher’ event with Thunderpoint Publishing, and a creative writing workshop with J David Simons. Members of local writing group, The Pen and I, will read from their work, and the Festival seeks to draw out new writing talent with a poetry competition supported by Dollar Academy, with ‘Challenge’ as a theme and open to all.

The festival programme features talks, poetry readings, guided walks, artist workshops, and exhibitions taking place around Nairn and beyond, and poetry, illustration and photography competitions. To see the full programme and book online for Festival events, visit http://www.nairnfestival.co.uk.

Other festival highlights include:

‘A Taste of the Festival’ - a free food fair showcasing local artisan fare, with live music and cookery demos, takes place on Saturday 2nd September.

Beside the Bothy Fire - John Burns, mountaineer and actor, and Bob Pegg, storyteller and musician, lead the audience in a riot of songs, stories, poems and laughter about the hills, the people who walk them and the creatures that inhabit them.

 William Mather the Festival’s resident portrait artist, will rove the streets of Nairn in search of subjects throughout the Festival.

Off the Peg – an exhibition of works on paper, returns to Nairn’s shop windows. After Hours Art - a late opening evening for exhibitions at selected venues on Thursday 14th September. Exhibitions of work by Nairn Academy students and ‘Magnificent Me, Flying’ childrens’ art competition winners will be at Nairn Community Centre.

Art in Healthcare Exhibition and Talk: A talk will be given by the Chief Executive of the Art in Healthcare charity Margaret O'Connor.  The exhibition includes artwork from emerging and established Scottish artists. 

Artist Leo de Feu will talk about his work portraying Scotland by Rail.

Art workshops take place throughout the Festival with artist Morag Smith, writer Mairi Sutherland, and ceramic artist Sula Grigg.

Two apple tours will be held - one in Gaelic, one in English - by Nairn’s Orchard group.

Buster Keaton returns by popular demand in silent film ‘The Three Ages’ at Nairn’s Little Theatre.

Local schools will benefit from talks from authors Cynthia Rogerson, Barbara Henderson and storyteller and singer Linda Macleod.

The Festival Finale rounds off the Festival with a night of rock and pop songs sung by a choir formed especially for the Festival, led by Rock Therapy and accompanied by Rock Therapy’s band.

Some of our events sell out very quickly - book your tickets now, to avoid disappointment!