WHEN Glasgow multi-arts venue The Arches closed in 2015, much was lost. Consistently forward-thinking, always curious, it programmed some of the most interesting and memorable work made by similarly spirited artists, musicians, writers and theatre-makers.

Its club nights were often the best of their kind, the kind of events where you could get your face painted and dance with folk of all ages. In its Behaviour festival, it showcased the best in contemporary performance from around the world, other parts of Britain and here in Scotland, where it nurtured the likes of Kieran Hurley, Nic Green, Gary McNair and FK Alexander – thought-provoking, vitally relevant performer-writers long among the cream of this nation’s offerings.

FK Alexander’s new piece, VIOLENCE, features among the work presented this month as part of Take Me Somewhere, a festival which builds on The Arches’ searching legacy.

Featuring artists from Belgium, Austria, Canada, Lebanon, Ireland and England, Take Me Somewhere aims to offer “a space for crucial, diverse voices from here and abroad that take us somewhere in our personal and collective journeys, understanding the globalised and multicultural world we live in, voices that allow us to consider where we are now and envisage what a future somewhere could be”.

“The Arches meant a lot of different things to different people and, in terms of the arts community, I think they understand what was lost in terms of opportunities for artists working in different and radical ways,” says LJ Findlay-Walsh, who became Take Me Somewhere artistic director following the appointment of TMS founder Jackie Wylie as artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland.

Findlay-Walsh and Wylie led the artistic programming at The Arches from 2008 to 2015, something which made the transition to festival director a smooth one.

“I did wonder if I might feel quite on my own but one of the things that makes Take Me Somewhere so specific is that we have things happening in every corner of the city,” says Findlay-Walsh after noting that she and Wylie will “always find a way to be ambitious together”.

Other venues include Tramway, where Ireland’s Dead Centre will perform Hamnet, their acclaimed solo work about Shakespeare’s son, and the CCA, where Scotland’s Ultimate Dancer perform For Now We See Through A Mirror Darkly, a piece described as an “eerie choreography of confusion”.

In addition there’s Museum of the Moon at Maryhill’s Mackintosh Cross Church, where English visual artist Luke Jerram’s detailed sculptural creation of the lunar surface forms the centrepiece of its own festival (see next Saturday’s National for details) and the city’s Botanic Gardens, where Tania El Khoury’s intimate installation piece As Far As My Fingertips Take Me will feature in the Kibble Palace.

“She worked with Basel Zaraa, who is a Syrian and Palestinian refugee and asylum-seeker,” explains Findlay-Walsh of El Khoury. “It’s an installation that you can participate in where Basel basically inks his story onto your arm while you listen to his story on headphones. 

“It looks very beautiful and intriguing. As you go about your daily or Sunday stroll, you can come across this.

“Although some of Take Me Somewhere’s work is quite future-facing and innovative the festival is not just for an initiated arts audience. I feel really strongly about that. I like the idea that everybody, including people who aren’t necessarily looking for a cultural experience of an afternoon, could happen across this piece.”

As part of its first edition in 2017, Take Me Somewhere produced a publication titled Glasgow’s Review of International Performance, where contributors wrote about their most memorable international performance experience in the city.

“What was staring us in the face was that these kind of large-scale international festivals can define eras and define us as a city,” says Findlay-Walsh.

“Bringing in the most forward-thinking work from around the globe has ripple effects that exist far beyond sitting in the theatre. They can determine how close you feel to global conversations and global dialogue."

Take Me Somewhere runs from May 16 to June 4. Listings at takemesomewhere.co.uk