November 2015

Invitation Goes Out to Join the Big Burns Supper Volunteer Crew

29 November 2015

Festival’s 2015 Volunteer Co-Ordinator Heads to Downing Street

People across Dumfries and Galloway are being offered the chance to play a key role in one of the region’s biggest and brightest annual events.

Big Burns Supper and the Burns street carnival provide great opportunities for volunteers – these can include being part of the team at the Spiegeltent where big-name acts like The Beat, Black Grape, Eddi Reader and Jason Byrne will be appearing.

The role of our volunteers has been so important and impressive that it has come to national attention.
Moira Priestley, the 2015 Volunteer Co-Ordinator, has been invited to 10 Downing Street for a reception hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The event, on 2 December, has been organised just after St Andrew’s Day to celebrate the achievements of Scots who have received Mr Cameron’s special Points of Light Award for those who have made an exceptional contribution to their community.

Moira attended an earlier reception when she originally received the honour, in January, which was given for her role in leading an army of 200 BBS volunteers.

The social care worker from Dumfries, said: “It was a surprise to receive the award – I loved being a volunteer and being part of the Big Burns Supper family.

“It’ll be a lovely treat to go to Downing Street and meet all these other people from across Scotland and find out about the projects they have been involved in.

“I’d really encourage people to get involved and volunteer with Big Burns Supper, it’s lots of fun, you pick up all sorts of skills and meet some really interesting people.

“But what’s most exciting is being part of a big event from the early stages, helping pull the whole thing together – when it finally happens you get a real ‘proud mum’ moment.”

Every contribution is valued. No previous experience is needed and there are roles suited to people of every age.

This time people are being invited to join specific teams, so they really get the most from the experience.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “As well as being a great experience, there are some great benefits from volunteering.

“All our volunteers get access to shows and events. We also provide creative industry training for anyone who is interested in learning about the work we do.”
Right now there are vacancies in the:
• Carnival Crew: Crucial to the success of this event, our volunteers help us glue, stitch, saw and everything else that goes with creating costumes and floats. It’s really lively and supports young people and community groups to take part in the carnival.
• Bar Crew: We need an energetic crew to help us serve those drinks in the glitzy Spiegeltent bar. If you have a smiley face and you know what it feels like to wait for a drink, you’re hired!
• Spiegeltent Crew: An elite team – delivering all of the Spiegeltent operations which range from front of house to production and technical elements.
• Event Crew: Help make sure that our outdoor events run safely and that the public can navigate the festival easily. They are on the front line on carnival day acting as stewards for the procession.
• PR Crew: Our press team work around the clock to make sure that all the artists’ stories, news and gossip gets through the right channels on time. These roles are in our media centre, and include welcoming members of the press to venues, and making sure they have a great time.

Big Burns Supper takes place from 22-30 January and the carnival is on Sunday, 24 January.

Anyone who would like to volunteer should register online at www.bigburnssupper.com.

Brightest Ever Big Burns Supper Packed With Fun For 5th Birthday

29 November 2015

Dumfries winter festival lines up The Beat, Eddi Reader and Jason Byrne plus spectacular carnival, cabaret, folk and trad

The line-up for the fifth Big Burns Supper has been unveiled with headliners including Black Grape, Jason Byrne, The Beat and Eddi Reader.

The nine-day festival in Dumfries, from 22-30 January, will be overflowing with party spirit from start to finish and will bring thousands of people onto the streets for the annual Burns Carnival, which takes place on Sunday, 24 January.

Big Burns Supper 2016 has received support as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme.
On the Bard’s birthday itself there will be the festival’s own fifth birthday party, featuring special guest performers, and a family Burns Supper for around 300 inside the mirror-lined Spiegeltent which is the event’s main venue.

Another major highlight of BBS 2016 is Le Haggis III which sees a triumphant return to Dumfries of the saucy and spectacular Caledonian cabaret after its award-winning run at the Edinburgh-Fringe. As ever it will be a feast of Scottish and international circus, aerial dance and music – featuring some of the country’s best young trad and folk musicians.

There will also be a strong emphasis on children’s entertainment with the arrival of Celtic Circus, a Spiegeltent show with acrobatic thrills and spills to delight a younger audience.

Dumfries children themselves take command for a series of By Kids activities. One will be the pop-up Salon 1962, where adults will have their nails and make-up done by enthusiastic Lochside Primary School pupils. The most daring will also have their hair cut!
Graham Main, Artistic Director, said: “It’s our fifth birthday, so we want Big Burns Supper 2016 to be huge fun for everyone. It will be packed with great music, comedy and cabaret plus a fabulously colourful street carnival.

“We’re offering a really joyful mix of the current and the classic – and a great chance to dig out your Harrington, trilby and DMs.

“As one of Scotland’s fastest-growing winter events we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of people from all across Scotland, the rest of the UK, Ireland and beyond for an event which celebrates all that’s best in life.”

As a “thank you” to the Big Burns Supper’s many loyal supporters the festival will be bringing back some highly popular acts from previous years. These include the magnificent singer songwriter, and huge champion of Rabbie Burns, Eddi Reader and also the wonderful Inner Mongolian musicians of Anda Union.
There will be a new performance and bar area at the Spiegeltent where audiences will find themselves in the capable hands of Big Burns Supper 2016 Mistress of Ceremonies the ever-bonnie, if occasionally unshaven, Misschief Amor.

There will be a host of other superb shows from Irish vocalist Camille O’Sullivan, the Scots trad Treacherous Orchestra, comedian Andrew Maxwell and Irish folk act the Dublin Legends.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Big Burns Supper, which is now in its fifth year, is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our Scottish identity. I congratulate the festival organisers for another impressive performance line-up and I’d encourage friends, families and loved ones to come together to take part.

“The celebrations are part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme which this year has been provided with a record £390,000 of funding to support 21 key cultural events in 15 local authority areas across the country.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “The Big Burns Supper has fast become a real favourite of our regional events calendar and it’s fantastic to see it attracting more and more visitors to the region every year. It’s a unique, exciting and vibrant celebration which embodies and befits our national Bard. The event is brimming with spirited character, spontaneity, irreverent humour and bawdy fun, and is underpinned by great music and story-telling.

“With its superb line-up of talent and packed programme, next year’s Big Burns Supper promises to be bigger and better than ever before. It will definitely be an unmissable highlight of the New Year so I hope as many people as possible will come along and enjoy the party atmosphere in Dumfries throughout the festival’s nine days.”

Lesley Douglas, Principal Teacher of Lochside Primary School, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the children and they are really excited about taking part in the carnival and in Big Burns Supper. It brings them a whole breadth of new opportunities and fits perfectly with the Curriculum for Excellence.”

Tickets for Big Burns Supper are now on sale at www.bigburnssupper.com and from the box office at 28 Munches Street, Dumfries or by calling 01387 271820. Box Office is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Big Burns Supper is a registered charity and is funded by Holywood Trust, Robertson Trust, Scotland’s Winter Festival programme, and through Dumfries & Galloway Council’s event strategy, and sponsored by 8020 Communications, and Electric Theatre Workshop.

Free - working with the media event for businesses and budding PRs

29 November 2015

Big Burns Supper hosts Dumfries masterclass

Big Burns Supper head of PR Matthew Shelley is hosting a free masterclass for people interested in working with the media.

The event, which takes place at the Electric Theatre Workshop in Munches Street, Dumfries, on Saturday 7 November at noon, is a chance to learn about how to run a PR campaign.

It is ideal for young people who are thinking about a future in communications or for those wanting to promote their own businesses.

The event will also be a chance to find out about some exciting media volunteering opportunities with Big Burns Supper 2016. Media volunteers can get practical experience of press and social media work for one of Scotland’s biggest and brightest winter festivals.

Matthew said: “Media work can be really good fun. It gives you the chance to do all sorts of unusual things and meet some remarkable people. It’s also essential for anyone running their own business to understand at least the basics, so they can make sure they stand out from the crowd.

“Passing on these skills is something I really believe in and it’s great that Big Burns Supper is dedicated to helping people pick up new skills.”

Matthew is a communications and PR specialist working in the arts and cultural sector. In addition to working for Big Burns Supper he also works for well-known organisations like Spring Fling.

The first half of Matthew’s 25 year career was spent in journalism and he has worked for many leading titles, for example as a Scotsman news editor and as features editor of the Bristol Evening Post.

The PR Masterclass is free but ticketed and places are limited. To reserve a place simply sign up on the Big Burns Supper Facebook page or email Matthew at MJHShelley@hotmail.co.uk or call 07786704299.

Join Musicians, Dancers and Singers for the Big Burns Supper Free Fringe

29 November 2015

A great event taking local performers into the community

The Big Burns Supper Free Fringe is attracting everyone from singers, poets and musicians to dancers and a magician – and now it’s set to get bigger.
The event gives local people a chance to show off their talents by putting on free shows – just like performers flock to do at the Edinburgh Fringe.

In this case the idea is that the performances will also take place in and around the communities where people live rather than in the town centre.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “This is something very new for us and Dumfries and we had no idea what to expect when we put the call out for performers.

“But the response has been really encouraging so we have decided to expand the Free Fringe even further – so if you’ve got the talent and ambition to put on a public performance then get in touch with us and make it happen.”

Among those already signed up is singer Elia Davidson, who will be performing their own original works plus some covers alongside her friend her friend Kate Kyle.

Elia said: “We’re both excited to be part of the Big Burns Supper and are looking forward to having another chance to play our music to a local audience.”

And a local poet known as Ginger added: “It’s tremendous to take part in the festival fringe, a unique and magical event held in oor toon.’‘

The Free Fringe is also an opportunity for Big Burns Supper to carry out some talent spotting for future shows and events.

Sign up at http://2014.bigburnssupper.com/about-us/take-part.php or contact Jack Finlay for more information at jack@electrictheatreworkshop.com.

Those signing up should think of a short, sharp and appealing way to sum up what they do – sell it to us and potential audiences in a maximum of 10 words.

Big Burns Supper 2016 will take place over nine days from 22 to 30 January, with a whole host of shows and entertainment wrapped round the Bard’s birthday – there will also be the fabulous Burns Night Carnival.

Acts Invited to Take Part in the new Big Burns Supper Free Fringe

29 November 2015

Free shows and events planned throughout communities in Dumfries over the annual nine day festival

Big Burns Supper 2016 will have an exciting new feature – the Free Fringe, giving local talent the chance to perform for audiences across Dumfries.

The initiative will bring entertainment to the doorsteps of thousands of Doonhamers as part of the festival’s 5th birthday celebrations

And the call is going out now for musicians, dancers, poets, comedians and others to sign up and get the chance to show what they can do.

The idea is that the Free Fringe will take entertainment of every kind into the community, with activities being planned across the north of Dumfries.
Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Director, said: “As a community-based organisation we want to knock down barriers between people and performers wherever possible.

“One of the best ways we can do this is to enable local performers to go out into the community and entertain people for free.”

It’s also a great way for Big Burns Supper to help discover and promote talented people of every kind.
Graham said: “The Free Fringe is part of our ongoing search for the region’s top talent – and our belief that you can find talent hiding in all corners of our community.

“Our award winning show Le Haggis proves that local people can rise to the challenge if we give them the platform to shine.

“We promise that our local audiences will give Free Fringe entertainers a hearty cheer and lots of encouragement to get up and do a turn!”
Sign up at http://2014.bigburnssupper.com/about-us/take-part.php by 2 October at 5pm, or contact Jack Finlay for more information at jack@electrictheatreworkshop.com.

Those signing up should think of a short, sharp and appealing way to sum up what they do – sell it to us and potential audiences in a maximum of ten words.

Those that take part in the Free Fringe will be included in next year’s Big Burns Supper programme alongside international and national acts.
Big Burns Supper 2016 will take place over nine days from 22 to 30 January, with a whole host of shows and entertainment wrapped round the Bard’s birthday – there will also be the fabulous Burns Night Carnival.

Irish Inspiration Celebrated at Major Scottish Burns Night Festival

29 November 2015

Top Irish talent at nine-day event and carnival inspired by huge success of St Patrick’s Day celebrations and Dublin Fringe

Irish talent including comedians Jason Byrne and Andrew Maxwell, vocalist Camille O’Sullivan and the Dublin Legends are taking top spots in Scotland’s nine-day Big Burns Supper festival.

The link is more than coincidental as the event’s artistic director, Graham Main, learned his trade at the Dublin Fringe Festival and as the youngest ever producer with Dublin Opera Festival.

Indeed – it’s largely thanks to Ireland and what it has achieved with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations that Big Burns Supper exists in the first place.

January 2016 will be the fifth Big Burns Supper and one of the main attractions is the annual Burns Carnival, taking place on Sunday 24 January, which was directly inspired by Graham’s experiences working on Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade.

He said: “Working in Ireland had a huge impact on me and when I saw what has been done with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations I realised we should take it for our inspiration and start to turn Burns Night into a big, fun and public celebration.

“My home town of Dumfries was ideal for this as it’s a place he lived, loved, reveled and wrote some of his greatest work.

“Big Burns Supper is now one of Scotland’s fastest growing winter festivals and is developing all the time – and as it’s our fifth birthday I wanted 2016 to do something to really mark those Irish connections.

“What we’re offering is a rich mix of the current and the classic, for every taste and age group with an event which is shaped by the spirit of Burns and takes joy in all that’s best in life.”

Other well-known names at the festival include Black Grape, The Beat and Scottish singer Eddi Reader, the Scots trad Treacherous Orchestra and comedian Andrew Maxwell.

Big Burns Supper 2016 has received support as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme.

The event, from 22-30 January, will be overflowing with party spirit from start to finish. On the 25th, theBard’s birthday itself, there will be the festival’s own fifth birthday party, featuring special guest performers, and a family Burns Supper for around 300 inside the mirror-lined Spiegeltent which is the event’s main venue.

Another major highlight is Le Haggis III which sees a triumphant return to Dumfries of the saucy and spectacular Caledonian cabaret after its award-winning run at the Edinburgh-Fringe. As ever it will be a feast of Scottish and international circus, aerial dance and music – featuring some of the country’s best young trad and folk musicians.

There will also be a strong emphasis on children’s entertainment with the arrival of Celtic Circus, a Spiegeltent show with acrobatic thrills and spills to delight a younger audience.

Dumfries children themselves take command for a series of By Kids activities. One will be the pop-up Salon 1962, where adults will have their nails and make-up done by enthusiastic Lochside Primary School pupils. The most daring will also have their hair cut!

As a “thank you” to the Big Burns Supper’s many loyal supporters the festival will be bringing back some highly popular acts from previous years. These include the magnificent singer songwriter, and huge champion of Rabbie Burns, Eddi Reader and also the wonderful Inner Mongolian musicians of Anda Union.

There will be a new performance and bar area at the Spiegeltent where audiences will find themselves in the capable hands of Big Burns Supper 2016 Mistress of Ceremonies the ever-bonnie, if occasionally unshaven, Misschief Amor.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Big Burns Supper, which is now in its fifth year, is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our Scottish identity. I congratulate the festival organisers for another impressive performance line-up and I’d encourage friends, families and loved ones to come together to take part.

“The celebrations are part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme which this year has been provided with a record £390,000 of funding to support 21 key cultural events in 15 local authority areas across the country.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “The Big Burns Supper has fast become a real favourite of our regional events calendar and it’s fantastic to see it attracting more and more visitors to the region every year. It’s a unique, exciting and vibrant celebration which embodies and befits our national Bard. The event is brimming with spirited character, spontaneity, irreverent humour and bawdy fun, and is underpinned by great music and story-telling.

“The celebrations are part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme which this year has been provided with a record £390,000 of funding to support 21 key cultural events in 15 local authority areas across the country.”
Tickets for Big Burns Supper are now on sale at www.bigburnssupper.com and from the box office at 28 Munches Street, Dumfries or by calling 01387 271820. Box Office is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

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