Light the Blue festival to return in June

Aberdeen Performing Arts have announced the return of its youth arts festival, Light the Blue. The events take place between 10 and 18 June, with almost 30 events planned across six venues over eight days. The festival boasts its biggest-ever lineup and most ambitious programme yet.

Light the Blue caters to a wide range of ages, from 5 up to 25, with events suitable for everyone. It's a celebration of the performing arts, incorporating music, film, dance, workshops, and drama. International and world-class performers will share the stage with the best and brightest young creatives from the region.

What is Light the Blue?

Light the Blue 2023 will showcase performances and collaborations with organisations from Scotland and beyond. This includes the Traverse Theatre, Citymoves Dance Agency, Mahogany Opera, North East Scotland College, Orchard Brae School, Scottish Youth Theatre, Eden Court Youth Theatre, and many more.

The festival aims to be accessible, offering many free and pay-what-you-can events. Moreover, the festival paves the way for future youth arts projects by asking audiences to donate.

Big Gig

The highlights

The festival will kick off on Saturday, June 10, with events and performances aimed at young families. The highlight of the day will be the Pop-Up event. This takes over the Bon Accord Centre's Roof Terrace for an afternoon of free pop-up activities for young people and their families. It includes and interactive outdoor show Unicorn Dance Party, The Dab Hands. There will also be performances from Citymoves Dance Agency and Academy of Expressive Arts.

Light the Blue 2023 will culminate with two spectacular performances. First is The Magical Music of Harry Potter on Sunday 18 June. A spectacular performance by Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Music Hall . Secondly, the festival will host a performance from the Madison Youth Choir from the USA and ACE Voices Intergenerational Choir at Queen's Cross Church.

Light the Blue promises to be an exceptional event. It provides a platform for young creatives to showcase their talents, participate in workshops and collaborate with world-class performers. It's also an opportunity for the community to come together, support the arts. It celevrates the creativity of young people in the region.


What else to expect

One of the highlights is the flagship education project by Traverse Theatre called Class Act, which challenges secondary-aged pupils to become artists and writers, creating brand-new creative work. Throughout the project, pupils from five local schools will develop scripts that will be performed on stage by an ensemble of professional theatre-makers. This is an excellent opportunity for young people to express themselves creatively and showcase their talents.

Another event to look forward to is The World Through My Eyes, a specially commissioned installation piece in collaboration with Orchard Brae School. The exhibition invites audiences to view the world through the eyes of a young person with complex needs. The project is a collaboration between visual artist Jenny Hood and drama artist Saffron Gillies. It aims to explore how we navigate the world from different perspectives.

Open Door Rehearsal

Produced by young performers

The Fuse performances are another exciting aspect of the festival, featuring four separate events showcasing participants from across Scotland, including Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Youth Theatres. The series features new and devised work produced and presented by young performers, some created with support from leading Scottish theatre company Visible Fictions. This is an excellent opportunity for young people to showcase their creativity and talent in the performing arts.

The festival also features the Snappy Operas Showcase, which is the culmination of a school engagement project. Pupils from Hanover Street, Gilcomstoun, Riverbank, and Westpark Schools will showcase performances from their ten-minute pieces. The Snappy Operas project is a school programme by Mahogany Opera that introduces primary-aged children to the essential elements of opera – singing, acting, and making – in a fun and colourful way.

Step Into the Music Industry

An exciting insight

A Step into the Music Industry is another exciting event at the festival, which provides secondary school students with an insight into the music industry. The event will begin with an interactive look at the different creative areas and subjects taught at NESCOL, providing a unique opportunity to discover and explore various aspects of the music industry. The festival culminates in a live set and Q&A from North East singer/songwriter Rhona Macfarlane.

The festival will end with a multi-artform takeover of the Music Hall, featuring pop-up performances, film screenings, dance, and music. The evening will finish with The Big Gig, featuring an evening of music and gigs from various youth groups, including Big Noise Torry, Aberdeen Jazz Youth, Scottish Tradition and Culture Youth, Aberdeen City Council Music Service, and Orchard Brae’s Makaton Choir.

Meet the team who keep the WayWORD Festival on course

The WayWORD Festival returns for its third outing next week, hosted by the University of Aberdeen. The student and volunteer-led literary festival runs from 20 - 25 September. And for the first time, most events will be held in person.

WayWORD will feature workshops, author events, book launches, panel discussions and performance nights. And keeping it accessible, a BSL interpreter will be available at all performances, and online performances will be captioned.

There are several big names to look out for this year. These include Monica Ali, Raymond Antrobus, Christopher Brookmyre, Jenny Colgan and Bee Asha Singh, Alan Spence, Booker Prize-winner Douglas Stuart, Nan Sheperd and Esther Woolfson and more.

We spoke to team members, Kirsty, Elisa and Stacey about the festival and who they are looking forward to seeing this year.

WayWORD committee member, Stacey

Let's start out by telling us a little about each of you

Kirsty: I studied MA English and Scottish Literature and MLitt Creative writing at UoA and started as a student committee member in 2020 but have since been employed by the WORD Centre for Creative Writing assisting in the devising and delivering of events, including WayWORD.

Elisa: I am a fourth-year student in English with Creative Writing at UoA. This is my first year being part of the WayWORD’s student committee. So I am using my creativity and determination to help with the organisation of events. That can be by giving new ideas to develop and spread the WORD, but also by designing graphics to promote every event online. I will be chairing the live-streamed conversation with Maya MacGregor at Hazlehead Academy on Thursday 22nd September, 1:00 pm - 2:45 pm.

Stacey: I am a former student of North East Scotland College and I’ve done courses in Media & Communications as well as Technologies in Business. I am a committee member of this year’s WayWORD festival. This means I have been planning my own event as well as promoting a range of events and the festival in general. I will be co-chairing an online event, Discussion: Gaming as a Narrative Art Form, on Saturday 24th September 10:30 am - 12 pm.

2020 was a pretty wild time to start a festival. How did it come about, and how did plans change to accommodate the covid pandemic?

Kirsty: We started planning in 2019, so we were already 5 months deep by the time covid was on anyone’s minds! On so many occasions we were faced with difficult decisions, from moving workshops online to potentially postponing the entire festival!

In the end, we stuck with our original dates and embraced the power of zoom, which was a wholly different vision from the brainstorming in 2019.

WayWORD committee member, Kirsty

There's an increased community and school programme attached to this year's festival. What can folk expect from that?

Kirsty: We are all about community and have spent several months in Hazlehead Academy working with pupils to create these events.

We never anticipated how innovative and ambitious these groups would be. They approached each task with so much thought and took their events very seriously. They considered the impact on the audience and the impact on the wider community. How much it would cost; logistics; potential guest speakers; impact on diversity and inclusion.

Elisa: Creativity, diversity, and inclusion, as Kirsty rightly pointed out, but I would also add humility.

It was absolutely wonderful to see the young people of Hazlehead Academy organising the events not thinking about themselves and about who they would like to see and what they would like to do. Instead they worked on what their audience would love. I believe that is something very rare today. To put others first instead of yourself, not be too egotistical. And these teens really did that well.

Their thinking was broad and thorough. And some of them who were very shy overcame that. They can be very proud of what they did, and I am sure our guests and participants will feel how much fun they had helping us with the festival.

WayWORD committee member, Elisa

You'll be seeing a lot more people in person this year, what extra challenges does that bring?

Kirsty: There is the added challenge of travel and accommodation logistics which we have only done on a much smaller scale but it is now nearly the entire programme!

Elisa: To do as well as last year? No, seriously, we have to think a lot about attracting people and making the trip to in-person events worth their time, which is not always an easy thing. But to be utterly honest with you, I think seeing more people brings much more excitement than challenges on the team!

Stacey: With previous festivals being held fully online in 2020 and semi-online in 2021, it will be interesting to see how 2022’s festival will come together with more events in person than online. The building will be quite busy with guests, audience members, team members, and volunteers so it may be a challenge to manage a lot of people and make sure everybody knows what they are doing.

Christopher Brookmyre

Building a festival like this takes a great deal of work and organisation. How does the university provide additional support?

Kirsty: We are partly funded by the University and have access to some of their support teams, such as Media Services, Marketing, and Estates, who all help to make things happen on the ground, and catering who will be providing a food shack this year.

WayWORD is run by The WORD Centre for Creative Writing. Its part of the School of Language, Literature, Music, and Visual Culture. So we have access to some of their resources such as the venue, King’s Pavilion. Staff from across the university offer to mentor the students who organise the festival. And many academic staff help to pitch ideas, contact speakers, and chair events as well.

Our Creative Director Dr Helen Lynch wears many hats and pulls together all the different strands of the university support. It is a real team effort between WayWORD staff, wider University Staff, and the students.

Jenny Colgan

The whole festival is programmed by students and young people. Why was this important for the WayWORD Festival, and what benefits does that benefit those who volunteer?

Elisa: More than being a youth-led festival, I believe WayWORD invites different generations of people to exchange and broaden everybody’s artistic views.

Students get the opportunity to learn about new things, just like professors and adults that help them. It is a constant act of sharing. That’s what made me embark on the journey and join this third iteration.

I am a very introverted and anxious person, and as I am not a native speaker. I don’t have much confidence in speaking with local people. But I love sharing about books and art in general. So volunteering in WayWORD really pushed my boundaries. It helped me find people with shared interests that were eager to listen to my broken English.

Stacey: It is beneficial having the festival programmed by students and young people because they know what kinds of topics younger people are interested in and to engage them to come and check out what’s on offer at the festival.

As the only college student on the committee who has never studied at university I felt scared being in an environment I know very little about. I worried that I wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the group. But that fear soon disappeared when everyone was so kind and welcoming to me.

Being on the committee has helped me to come out of my shell more and developed my confidence. I definitely don’t regret signing up!

Monica Ali

What events are each of you particularly looking forward to at the WayWORD Festival this year?

Stacey - Performing Identities, North East Writers and Chamber Music Scotland, Fan Fiction Panel.

Elisa - Maya MacGregor, Tattered Memory: Memoir with Timothy C. Baker & Helen Taylor, Rachelle Atalla, C. J. Cooke.

Naomi - Tattered Memory: Memoir with Timothy C. Baker & Helen Taylor, North East Writers and Chamber Music Scotland, Raymond Antrobus.

Kirsty - Michael Pedersen, Scottish Contemporary Drama: Debbie Hanan in conversation with Lucy Hinnie, Padraig Regan & Naush Sabah.

Find out more about the WayWORD Festival

Thank you so much to Kirsty, Stacey and Elisa for taking the time to talk to us. You can get more info about this year's WayWORD Festival, and all the guests at

Although all events are free, ticket booking is required. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Book of Deer goes on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery

The Book of Deer, a 10th-century text, has returned to the North East after hundreds of years. Aberdeen Art Gallery will display the rare pocket gospel which is on loan from Cambridge University Library.

There are several inspiring illustrations in the Book, including formal full- and half-page representations of the authors of the four gospels. Later additions in the margins show human figures, animals, birds and shapes. The unknown writer has appealed directly to the reader at the end of the book. "Let anyone who reads this book pray for the soul of the wretch who wrote it."

There is a remarkable cultural importance to the Book of Deer in Scotland, especially in the North East. It is the earliest surviving Scottish manuscript. The author wrote the text primarily in Latin between 850 and 1000.

Oldest example of written Gaelic

It is the Book’s Gaelic notes which are truly remarkable. The additions dating from the 1100s are the oldest known surviving examples of written Gaelic. The monasteries at Deer and Pitfour in Aberdeenshire are mentioned, as well as other places like Ellon and Pitfour in Angus. They tell how St Columba and his follower Drostan travelled to the area from Iona and were given the land by a local leader after his son recovered from a serious illness thanks to Columba’s prayers. Columba gave the land to Drostan to found a church. An archaeological dig is underway, as part of the Book of Deer Project 2022, to find the site of the early medieval monastery.

The Book of Deer | Reproduced by permission of Syndics of Cambridge University Library

As well as the Book of Deer, Aberdeen Art Gallery will display four medieval Aberdeen Burgh Register volumes that also contain illustrations. Aberdeen's civic archive has been running continuously since 1398, making it the oldest and most complete in Scotland. The archive also contains the earliest eight volumes dating from 1398 to 1511. They are recognised as being of outstanding historical significance to the nation by UNESCO.

The exhibition is part of a wider programme in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire delivered by The Book of Deer Project and its partners. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has supported the exhibition to celebrate the Book of Deer’s temporary return. It includes talks and tours, storytelling, creative writing, illustration and textile workshops, family trails. There will also be a special Gallery Late event at Aberdeen Art Gallery on 30 September which invites revellers to ‘party like it’s 1399!'

Splendid little book

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor David Cameron, said: “I congratulate all the partners who have worked together to bring the Book of Deer ‘home’ to the North East for the first time in hundreds of years. There can be no doubt that the ‘splendid little book’ is one of Scotland’s greatest treasures.

He also added, “Visitors to the Art Gallery will have a rare opportunity to see it up close, as well as the chance to learn more about its significance and what it can tell us about this fascinating period in Scotland’s history through the associated programme of talk and activities.

Anne Simpson, Chair of the Book of Deer Project, said: “The Book of Deer Project is delighted to realise its long-term ambition to have this precious wee book exhibited in the North East of Scotland where it can be seen by the many visitors to Aberdeen Art Gallery. It’s such an important part of Scotland’s history and culture, that’s perhaps not as well-known as it should be.”

The Book of Deer will be on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 9 July until 2 October. Admission Free.

Fresh new plans for Lemon Tree

Aberdeen Performing Arts have announced that The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen’s iconic live venue, is set to get a striking refresh. They've moved the project on to the next stage after approving a new outline scheme. They will now also begin a fundraising campaign.

They have planned a new studio, foyer, café, meeting room, and an accessible entrance on Shoe Lane. There is also a proposal to create a new outdoor seating and performance area within an urban cottage garden. Although Lemon Tree Lounge and Lemon Tree Studio will continue to exist, the team will work to improve improve staging, sight-lines, technical facilities, and accessibility.

Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Travis, Texas, Mogwai, Public Service Broadcasting and also Emeli Sandé have performed at the iconic city venue. In addition, the Lemon Tree is an essential stop on the performing arts tour circuit.

The board unanimously adopted the proposed scheme and agreed to move to the next stage of design development. They will also submit an application for planning consent by year's end. Previously Aberdeen Performing Arts commissioned architects to undertake a study to look at options for upgrading the venue.

Discovering tomorrow's legends today

Jane Spiers Aberdeen Performing Arts Chief Executive said: “2022 is the 30th anniversary of the Lemon Tree. In that time, it has built up an enviable reputation nationally and internationally for discovering tomorrow’s legends today and supporting homegrown talent.

“The plans retain the informal, friendly, intimate, off-beat style and story that is so unique to the Lemon Tree and are focussed on creating a more accessible, integrated environment and experience for audiences, artists and employees alike.”

The plans for the Lemon Tree also align with Aberdeen City Council’s commitment to regenerate the city centre. A new culturally-integrated development at Queen Street will also hopefully bring tangible benefits to the local economy and community.

Shape the next chapters of Aberdeen's story

Culture Aberdeen, a partnership of cultural organisations in the city, have welcomed the proposals. Dr Duncan Cockburn from Culture Aberdeen was clear about the benefits of expanding the Lemon Tree. He told us, “This development has the potential to be a distinctive feature of the Aberdeen economic development story”

He also added that it was a great opportunity for arts and culture, artists and creative practitioners to help shape and drive the next chapters of Aberdeen’s story.

Richard Murphy Architects have been working on the project. They have undertaken several transformational arts and cultural projects. Past work includes the Stirling Tolbooth, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre Peebles. Furthermore, they have worked on Perth Theatre and the New National Centre for Music in Edinburgh.

Aberdeen Performing Arts chair Craig Pike told us, “The Lemon Tree has a special place in Aberdeen’s story and we are now setting the stage for a bright future which will benefit communities, business and the cultural sector in the city. Aberdeen Performing Arts has also pledged to get the fundraising campaign underway, we hope everyone will join us on the journey and get behind this exciting project for the city and nation.”

Back to Light the Blue

Light the Blue youth festival will return to the city this June to celebrate the best and brightest local young talent. Venues will host a dynamic and energetic programme of dance, music, film, and spoken word performances. These will take place from Thursday 16 - Saturday 18 June.

Young people across the region and beyond will have the opportunity to get involved, spark conversation, collaborate and celebrate their talent while experiencing an inspirational event program. Light The Blue is a bold and exciting addition to the North-East’s cultural programme. This is an event created by and for young people.

Susan Whyte of Aberdeen Performing Arts, Susan Whyte, said: “Light the Blue is a snapshot of young talent across Aberdeen and beyond, right now.

“The aim of the festival is to spark imaginations and start conversations. To bring young creative minds together and create unforgettable experiences. So we’re really excited and proud to be showcasing these talented, creative artists and performers.

Light the Blue | Thursday

Music Hall’s Big Sky Studio will be the venue for the opening performance of the Light Blue Festival on Thursday, 16 June. In honour of the city and its achievements, Aberdeen Performing Arts' Young Company and Grampian Hospitals Art Trust will perform 'All About People'. The Foresterhill campus community is the focus of this short film with a mixture of sound, imagery, and live performances from the Young Company. Also, A live beatbox set by Jason Singh will set the tone for the festival weekend.

Light the Blue Festival 2022 | Jason Singh

After that, the first event of the Fuse multi-bill series will be held at the Lemon Tree. The program for the show will include performances from the Aberdeen Performing Arts Senior and Intermediate Youth Theatres, City Moves and Ten Feet Tall Theatre Company. Their performances will showcase the talents of young people through theatre, dance, and film.

Finally the day will close with a DJ set by Jason Singh featuring soul, funk, spiritual house, reggae, bhangra, drum and bass, disco, garage, Afrobeat, and more.

Light the Blue | Friday

The Friday, 17 June event schedule will include free workshops on Hip Hop and a scratch night for emerging artists.

Featuring works in progress by young creatives, this exhibition has been curated by young people from open call submissions and mentored by professional artists. Furthermore this is an opportunity for emerging creatives to test out new material in front of a supportive audience.

Light the Blue Festival 2022 | Zoe Graham

Continuing the Light The Blue festivities, the SC&T Youth Concert is taking place at the Lemon Tree on Friday night. Young folk musicians from around North East Scotland will perform together with some of the country's best musicians to showcase group and solo performances.

Light the Blue | Saturday

An array of free workshops will be offered on Saturday, including workshops on making audio performances and devising performance materials. In addition, Ten Feet Tall Theatre and Aberdeen Jazz Festival will provide insights behind the scenes. While Belmont Filmhouse will host a film screening.

On Saturday, the city's latest up-and-coming musicians will perform at the Bon Accord Roof Garden for a free concert. Learn how to collect and share happiness with The Happiness Collectors, an interactive journey of silliness and sound. Fuse events continue at the Lemon Tree with performances from Aberdeen Performing Arts Junior and Intermediate Youth Theatre, City Moves Dance, Castlegate Youth Theatre, and Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre.

Light the Blue Festival 2022 | Evan Duthie

Light the Blue will present a show with a theme of 'Light the Way'. It will include outdoor pop-ups and cabaret performances hosted by drag star Jordy Delight. Performers will include spoken word, drag, theatre, and music artists. Amongst them will be activist/performance artists Ink Asher Hemp & Mal Fraser, and local singer-songwriter AiiTee. Light the Blue 2022 will conclude with DJ Evan Duthie's under 18s Club Night at the Lemon Tree.

Most events across the programme are completely free, with donation options for selected events. Light The Blue Festival Producer Jordan Blackwood said: “Whether you are taking part in Light the Blue or coming along as a member of the audience, it is a fantastic way to support youth arts in the region. The festival has a fresh and exciting feel, developing new talent in a professional way while allowing young people that hint of rebellion that they deserve.

Events Calendar

Check out Light the Blue Festival on Aberdeen Events

Find more events and activities in the Aberdeen Events Calendar

Rise Up! celebrates black and POC creatives 

Rise Up! is a brand new event coming to Aberdeen this month. The weekend will highlight and amplify the voices of black and POC creatives from Aberdeen and throughout Scotland.

We Are Here Scotland has partnered with Aberdeen Performing Arts to curate the event. Performances, talks, workshops, and community spaces are all part of the festival, which runs from 13-14 May.

Here are some of the many exciting acts set to perform over the weekend's packed line-up.

Ica Headlam

We Are Here Scotland Director Ica Headlam told us: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts on Rise Up! We feel that it is a very important and unique opportunity to spotlight a variety of Black and PoC artists and performers from the North East of Scotland and further afield. With a variety of performances, free panels, and workshops, we hope these events bring new and diverse engagement for Aberdeen’s creative community.”

Friday 13

In Our Own Words is an evening of performance by artists of colour, exploring and celebrating themes of identity, culture and a sense of place in Scotland.

Poetry at Noon is a spoken word artist and poet who believes that art is an extremely powerful tool for personal and social transformation. In her performance poetry, she analyzes and discusses experiences of trauma, political upheaval, migration, and motherhood that she experienced while growing up in Sudan.

Aiysha is a singer-songwriter from Aberdeen. Many will remember her powerful performance at the Black Lives Matter Aberdeen protest in 2020. She also featured in a BBC documentary highlighting Aberdeen's RnB and Hip Hop scene. Aiysha is set to release her debut release as an artist later this year.


Saturday 14

Known as a songwriter and sound smith, Kapil Seshasayee is both a polymath and a true original. Combining the influences of Scott Walker, Blood Orange, Arca, and Richard Dawson into a singular sound.

Rapper Chef has made waves not only because of his music career but also due to his contribution to the community. An ingrained part of his character is his desire to amplify the voices of those around him. He joins Danny Cliff on a lineup which also includes Glasgow based rapper Clarissa Woods and DJ and visual artist DIJA.

One Mississippi takes place at the Lemon Tree at 7 pm. Described as a hard-hitting play that explores how the impact of childhood experiences shapes men’s adult lives, One Mississippi blends humour and storytelling with powerful elements of physical theatre to create an uncompromising insight into what takes us to breaking point.

Danielle Jam

Focusing on Black and POC voices

The weekend will also feature a number of discussions focusing on the issue that black and POC creatives face in our white-dominated creative industries. A series of free talks and workshops taking place at the Music Hall Big Sky Studio on Saturday 14 May cover topics including representation within Scottish creative industries, climate narratives, knowing your worth, and culture and identity as an artistic influence among others.

Ica Headlam and Briana Pegado from We Are Here Scotland will host a talk about how Black and POC need to take the initiative to support their communities by building support structures and community organisations. While Tomiwa Folorunso will host a talk about how there needs to be a change in a predominantly white-dominated industry.

Rachel Thibbotumunuwe, learning manager at Aberdeen Archives, Art Gallery and Museums will discuss how North East Scotland can support Black and POC creatives and artists. There will also be a panel exploring the importance of representation in the industry, hosted by podcast producer Halina Rifai

And much more besides

This is just a small taste of what is on offer at Rise Up! See the Aberdeen Performing Art website for details on all the speakers and performers. Tickets are also available from APA.

Events Calendar

Check out RISE UP on Aberdeen Events

Find more events and activities in the Aberdeen Events Calendar

Aberdeen Performing Arts head Ben Torrie said: “Providing a stage for emerging talent and creating space for all voices to be heard is so important for a thriving artistic environment. Rise Up! is a hugely significant addition to Aberdeen’s cultural calendar this year. The sheer breadth of talent from the artists taking part is incredible. This festival is a fantastic opportunity to discover more about the diverse range of creatives here in the North East and beyond.

K:ART | Bringing Art Outdoors

Aberdeen’s Kekun art studio and Polka design studio have teamed up to create K:ART. They have designed this innovative mobile exhibition system to help artists easily display their work outdoors. They’ve developed a versatile design, aiming to support as many artists and art styles as possible.

The K:ARTs will be able to pop up in various public spaces around the city, either on their own or in groups. The units will become outdoor art spaces, enabling artists to create and transport installations, display works of art and sell their products. Quickly erecting art hubs for the public to visit and interact with.

The idea has been driven through funding that Elev8arts were awarded Creative Funding by Aberdeen City Council.

Breaking the reliance on indoor spaces

The team first set out to think of inventive ways to get around the challenges that the pandemic had caused artists during the pandemic. Particularly looking at their reliance on traditional shows in indoor spaces.

Online shows helped to some extent. But not enough was being done to make use of outdoor spaces. These provide a much-needed aspect of social interaction that's just not available in digital environments. At the same time, hospitality venues had quickly pivoted to outdoor spaces…even here in Aberdeen.

Circumstances are constantly changing as restrictions come to an end. But regardless of what happens in the future, the opportunities for such a model of engagement and display are endless.

Artists Mary Butterworth, Jon Reid and Jenny Hood are the team at Kekun Studio. They are excited about K:ARTs' potential to provide artists with freedom of expression and alternative methods of interaction with their communities.

K:ART model on display at The Anatomy Rooms

They explained: "We'd love to see K:ART being used in different ways with artists creating unique mini-exhibitions across the city. At this stage, we're trying to keep the feedback process open and inclusive so that we can make the design as adaptable to as many different artists' needs and practices as possible. We're excited to see the final prototype and where it might lead the project in the future."

Keeping K:ART simple makes it versatile

Callum Barrack from Polka design studio worked on the physical creation of K:ART. His recent work includes the design work at the Greyhope Bay Centre. He, along with the team at Kekun, recognised that the design of K:ART was hinged around keeping it light and versatile. This principle will allow artists the freedom to adapt to their imagination and needs.

Having gone through various design revisions. Design factors included display, versatility, and practicality, as well as materials, size, weight, storage, and manoeuvrability. Modifications to the base unit can lead to other variations. Larger two-person units, mini-units, or units with specific tailored purposes. And so it's adaptable as possible to give artists the freedom to explore their use of K:ART.

We're excited to see what artists can make of K:ART, and can't wait to see them on the streets of the city. The potential to quickly and easily turn a park or a street corner into a pop-up art gallery is a fantastic prospect for Aberdeen.

The teams at Kekun and Polka are currently looking for input from artists in the city. If you think you might benefit from using a K:ART, please check out their project summary and fill in the short survey.

Feedback for the project is open until 21st April 2022.

Filmmaker crowdfunds supernatural 'Nights'

Nights is a feature-length crime drama currently being filmed in Aberdeen. It explores addiction, broken relationships, and the supernatural. This passion project has been self-funded until this point, but writer/director Omid Farkhondeh is now crowdfunding the film, with hopes to complete it later this year.

Production is currently about halfway through. A bank, nightclub, and train are among the more expensive locations in the next half of the project. This is why the team are asking for help from the public. Donations will go towards paying the cast and crew, finding locations, and arranging travel.

Director Omid Omid Farkhondeh on the set of Nights

The importance of teamwork on Nights

Teamwork plays a big role in bringing Nights to life. Together with cinematographer Alex Thomson, producer Rachel Venturini, editor Matthew Lukowski and sound operator Colin Harris, the group has thrived since they attended the same college. They have collaborated on a number of projects over the years, but this is their biggest one yet. It’s hoped that Nights will kick-start their careers in the industry.

With Nights, the team hope to create something unique by combining aspects of genres we all know and love. It aims to be as moving as it is exciting in tackling topics that we all care about, from relationships to toxic masculinity to addiction.

In addition to donations from the public, the filming will be supported by Creative Scotland, which has teamed up with Crowdfunder to offer up to £80,000 in funding to 20 creative projects throughout the country.

We loved hearing about this project. Our old friend Chef shared a post about it on Instagram. Intrigued, we reached out to ask a few questions.

The challenge of a project spanning several years

Making a feature film is a big bold undertaking. Who is Omid Farkhondeh and why have you embarked on this project?

I’m a filmmaker based in Aberdeen. Having studied a variety of media-related courses in Nescol and in there, found a strong passion for film. I quickly found I wanted to be a writer/director and I'm determined to make that a reality.

I find short films are a great way to tell short-form stories, enhance filmmaking skills and are quickly achievable (at least compared to a feature film), however, I find myself more attracted to feature-length stories where we can live through different experiences that our normal life may not offer - or on the flip side, it can be very personal, giving space to think more about deeper subjects.

One reason I'm making this film is it's less likely a career can thrive off of short films. Feature filmmaking can be employment potential for hundreds of people, depending on the size of production. I also enjoy the challenge of a project spanning several years, rather than weeks - the story I wrote in 2018 earned my commitment to see it as a finished film.

Crime, relationships and things that go bump in the night

Having watched the teaser trailer, we’re excited to see Nights once it’s finished. Without giving too much away, what is the film about?

It’s crime/drama with a supernatural twist. Crime, addiction, broken relationships and things that go bump in the night. Our protagonist, Adam, delves deeper into the world of crime to gain money in an attempt to save his girlfriend Sarah from her drug addiction. However, a sudden betrayal leads to supernatural consequences.

It's about a lot of different things that are important to me, relationships, what people do for love, mental health, addiction. It also has some more "fun" genre elements like supernatural and revenge thriller, but to me, it's a drama more than anything, supported by the other elements.

The process of making a film is by no means a smooth one. Can you tell us about the challenges you’ve encountered?

It has been a difficult project to keep alive, and moments, when it came to a stop, have been heartbreaking. Covid, recasting, struggling with finance to fund it and more have all been major challenges. But with the Crowdfunder, and finding a team as passionate as me, I'm confident we'll see it through to the best it can be.

I'm lucky to have found such talented, good people who are as passionate as me, so I want to give them their due and create something we're all proud of.  Definitely a team effort in getting over the hurdles though.

Something beautiful and personal

How has Aberdeen played a backdrop for this project?

Aberdeen has worked well as a backdrop for the film and will continue to add to the story. I treat it as a playground for us - a gothic "unknown" city in the film that could have all types of characters, but also something beautiful and personal comes with that - using places I've known for years as a fictional space has led to more creativity, not less.

You clearly have a lot of hopes and dreams attached to this project. What are your ambitions for the film?

I hope the film is something we're proud of as a team, but I do have hopes for it to succeed in film festivals across the world. We also plan to have the Nights premiere in a local cinema, that will be the day I can say "we've done it", although there will be more work in getting it to streaming services such as Amazon Prime.

Showing support, and staying in touch

How can people help and get updates on the filming?

The Crowdfunder is the best way to support us. If you donate you'll have an option to receive updates we put out. However, following @Nightsfilm on Instagram, or UNRealityFilms on Facebook is another good way to keep up to date over the next few months.

Thanks very much to Omid for telling us all about Nights. It's a brilliant project and we can't wait to see it at the cinema. The team successfully achieved over double their initial target, but the Crowdfunder remains open until mid-April. Further donations will help the film reach its full potential, and it's a great way to be part of the project yourself.

Steph Poster

Rob Poster

Hazlehead Academy becomes Aberdeen's first school to be awarded the LGBT Charter


Hazlehead Academy becomes Aberdeen's first school to be awarded the LGBT Charter

By Kevin Mitchell

The LGBT Charter, run by LGBT Youth Scotland, is a programme that enables an organisation or school to proactively include LGBTI people in every aspect and provide a high-quality service to students, clients and service users.

After a series of projects within the school for LGBT History Month with artists ‘Outlines Collective‘, a mural wall was designed and painted on the wall by artists Kirsty Lawie, Naomi Christie and Hazlehead pupils to celebrate the school’s creative positivity and awareness and proactive inclusion.

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Our man Grant chats with the cast of Mamma Mia at HMT!

Mamma Mia is in Aberdeen and POST sent the lovely Grant Martin along to HMT to give them a warm welcome! As usual, Grant went one step further! This time trying to blag a spot as the fourth Dynamo!

Watch the video above, tell us what you think on YouTube and if you want to share your own story or if there a show you are looking forward to in the future? Let us know!

Join our newsletter!

But just before you continue reading, please consider signing up to our monthly newsletter. It’s a great round up of what's happening in the city.

No spam, just a collection of stories and images from the heart of Aberdeen. We use your email address solely for the purpose of administering the email newsletter. By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.