Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival Unveils Its 2022 Programme

Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival returns in 2022 with a world class programme combining theatre, music, dance, comedy and spoken word. The Festival will bring artists and audiences alike together again, in and around venues across the region and online from the 20th – 29th May 2022.

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A 10-day celebration of local and national artists that sits at the heart of Dumfries and Galloway’s arts scene, the Festival once again boasts a packed programme of incredible work taking in every corner of this vibrant region.

Building on the instilled pride in the region from their 2021 festival, the 2022 programme explores changes in their new world, climate change and local regeneration, new diverse voices and stories that resonate with local people. From hilarious comedy exploring life as a disabled person in a postapocalyptic world to a celebration of queer, Scottish folk music; jaw dropping aerial theatre to dinosaur family adventures; and ceilidh celebrations of local artists, food and music to dance the night away, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this May throughout this exciting, and varied programme.

This year’s programme encompasses the best of Scotland’s performing arts scene with a focus on bringing audiences and artists together again in person, to share in their love for the performing arts, and connect with their communities. The Festival will shine a light on the best that the region has to offer, celebrating the local food and stunning environment alongside the curated programme.

Melanie Purdie, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival’s Strategic & Creative Director said, “We look forward to inspiring and engaging audiences, artists, venues and communities across the region this year – offering escapism through a vibrant and diverse programme of word-class performance. We are proud to celebrate and promote local artists, and welcome back national companies, returning to venues, outdoor locations and online screens this May.”

The 43rd Festival will open with music from Bogha-Frois, who bring queer folk musicians based in Scotland to perform and collaborate together, in the Theatre Royal, Dumfries. On the final day of the Festival at the stunning Crawick Multiverse in Sanquhar, Oi Musica will present The Tubes – a brand new street music band – before joining up with D&G Dance for the culmination of D&G Dance Dare, a challenge to get the whole region dancing, before the Festival closes with acclaimed circus theatre company Paper Doll Militia’s powerful aerial circus performance Egg – the final stop in its long awaited national tour at Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries.

Throughout the Festival, top names in comedy will visit Dumfries and Galloway, including Britain’s Got Talent winner and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Lost Voice Guy with his show Cerebral LOL-sy will be visiting the Theatre Royal in Dumfries and award-winning comedy duo Your Dad’s Mum with their Partridge-esque cabaret game show at Birchvale Theatre in Dalbeattie.

Theatre will see award-winning Scottish company Vanishing Point present The Metamorphosis: Unplugged at The CatStrand in New Galloway and The Quarrymen’s Arts Centre in Creetown; a brand-new partnership with the Glasgow Oran Mor’s famous A Play, A Pie and a Pint bringing their delicious lunchtime theatre offer with The Infernal Serpent, performing 6 shows across the region in Moffat, Dumfries and Stranraer, a modern twist on an age old story that looks at how and why we protest; and Tickbox, a one-woman play in Scots-English and Urdu which interweaves the journeys of two Scottish Pakistani women united by blood, passion and determination at Eskdalemuir Hub & The Swallow Theatre, Whithorn.

For young audiences, Starcatchers and Andy Cannon present family friendly adventure Spike! A dinosaur caper, a magical story about the passing of time told through theatre and dance at the CatStrand in New Galloway.

In film, Sanctuary Queer Arts, Scotland’s newest arts organisation for LGBTQIA+ artists, present THREADS, a new film from Sanctuary’s First National Queer Young Company – a group of 10 LGBTQIA+ artists aged between 18 – 25 – celebrating a year of queer creativity and togetherness at The Studio Theatre, in Moffat.

In music, The Galloway Agreement & Tom Pow present The Village and the Road at the Glencairn Memorial Institute, an evening of music and words; established local musicians will join together for A LIFE IN MUSIC at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries with world-class local artists including renowned classical musician Alex McQuiston and Scottish Soprano Claudia Wood; and Sounds of Stage iT will celebrate the musicianship and creativity of young people across the region at The Usual Place in Dumfries.

New for 2022, the Festival introduces The Gatherings – The Gallovidian Gathering in Stranraer and The Doonhamers Gathering in Dumfries – brand new ceilidh nights which will bring together local artists for an evening of music, storytelling, theatre and dance, with local food and drink on offer. With cabaret seating, a host will guide audiences through an evening of fantastic performances, a light bite of Scottish food, followed by a chance to dance the night away with The Whirlygig Ceilidh Band. These gatherings offer a new night out for friends and family to share together and fully immerse themselves in the Festival atmosphere.

In 2021, the 42nd edition of the Festival saw the introduction D&G Arts Festival at Hame bringing artists directly into audience’s homes online, in response to the challenges of the pandemic. The platform will continue this year, bringing more accessibility to the Festival programme and runs alongside the in-person events so that we are still celebrating and sharing with those audiences who can’t attend in person.

Online performances will include Sunday’s Child present Afloat, an online theatre piece set during a climate apocalypse in Dublin; Townsend Theatre Productions’ Farewell Leicester Square, a one-man show that chronicles Britain’s first Black bus driver, Joe Clough; film Skookum Jim and The American Dream from Chrys Salt Productions and Thin h/as h/air, a solo exploration from Scottish Dance Theatre company member Pauline Torzuoli showcasing her incredible choreography.

Relaunched in October 2021, Support for Ambition, the initiative that enables local venues and artists to present performance events in the region, will see artists present performances as part of the Festival. Their successful awardees include D&G Dance present Something Smashing, a chance for dancers and musicians to improvise together, experiment and play within each other’s artforms; Cultural Connections presents Lady Nairne – Scotland’s Secret Songstress, with music and narration to tell the tale of prolific but anonymous composer Lady Nairne; well-loved community choir Cairn Chorus present Sing for Trees, their spring concert, and Tales from the Drove Roads will see a respected folklorist share stories following a three course meal.