ONE of Scotland’s hidden gems is to be the setting for a brand new celebration of music, film, dance and theatre.

Barbara Dickson, Rab Noakes and Capercaillie have all been lined up for the first ever Byre in the Botanics in St Andrews this summer.

Held in the town’s Botanic Gardens, the season runs from June 30 until August 6, opening with Les Miserables star Samantha Barks in concert to celebrate the launch of her new album. It is the only date in Scotland this year for Barks, right, who found fame on the BBC's I'd Do Anything.

JSLN Ballet from Berlin and jazz icon Jacqui Dankworth will also be appearing, while the Olivier-Award-winning Opera Up Close will be making their Scottish debut.

The programme has been drawn up by the town’s Byre Theatre, and as well as a main stage there will be a big screen showing classic films with a twist, along with major productions from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Glyndebourne.

“This is the first time our Botanic Gardens have been used to host live events and we look forward to welcoming both local residents and holidaymakers to experience some unforgettable nights out,” said the Byre’s artistic director Dr Michael Downes.

“We eagerly look forward to the first in what will hopefully become a much-loved annual event here in St Andrews.”


HIGHLIGHTS include the internationally acclaimed JSLN Ballet, who will present a new triple-bill including Niewelt’s adaptation of Fokine’s Petrouchka from the time of the Imperial Russian Ballet, with music by Stravinsky, and a very contemporary look at modern identity via a unique dance twist on a much-loved comedy classic.

To mark 400 years since the death of Shakespeare, jazz star Jacqui Dankworth revisits the musical settings of Shakespeare’s poetry inspired by and taken from the seminal album Shakespeare And All That Jazz, composed by her late father Sir John Dankworth. She will appear on July 8.

Also appearing are Scottish five-piece Breabach, who were voted Best Live Act and Best Folk Band at the Scots Trad Music Awards and have twice been nominated for Best Band at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. They will deliver their unique brand of contemporary folk music that has earned them international recognition on the world and roots music scene as one of the UK’s most dynamic bands.

They will play on July 9 with support from Fara, the fiery young fiddle and piano four-piece from Orkney.


MUSIC at the festival continues with the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys, who will travel from Louisiana to appear in St Andrews on July 16.

The band play a mix of traditional and modern jazz, blues, vaudeville and original music and went viral after more than a million viewers watched their cover of the Game of Thrones theme tune at BB King’s.

They are followed on July 22 by Scotland’s best-selling female album artist Barbara Dickson and singer-songwriter Rab Noakes, right, with support from Belfast singer-songwriter Anthony Toner. Friends for more than 40 years, Barbara and Rab will recall their early years playing in Scottish folk clubs and concert halls.

On July 23 Capercaillie will take the stage fronted by lead singer Karen Matheson. The band’s three-decade-long musical journey has taken them from the Brazilian rainforest to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon via the pop charts as the first band to take a traditional Gaelic song into the UK Top 40.


OTHER highlights include a critically acclaimed new English version of Bizet’s wildly popular opera Carmen from the Olivier Award-winning Opera Up Close.

Set in a torrid South American landscape of dust and concrete, where small-town boredom and machismo can turn nasty, Carmen captivates and provokes.

Sparks fly when she meets Jose, but as her passion cools, his turns to obsession. Unable to control his feelings, he descends into violence, but Carmen will not give up her freedom for anyone.

Opera Up Close will also mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, with songs, operatic arias and ensembles inspired by his plays and poetry.

Showstoppers from Verdi’s Macbeth and the wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing and Falstaff rub shoulders with well-loved songs like Schubert’s Who is Sylvia? and lesser-known operas inspired by the Bard.

Byre in the Botanics closes with performances of a new version of Macbeth by Bard In The Botanics on August 5 and 6.

For more information go to www.standrews byreinthe botanics. com