Scotland’s Largest Rural Performing Arts Festival is Here

The Black Denims

Across Dumfries & Galloway 23rd May – 2nd June 2024

For the last 45 years, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has brought world-class theatre, music, dance, comedy and spoken word to the heart of communities across the region. It’s a celebration of local and national artists and this programme is one you do not want to miss!

From circus acts in Castle Douglas and at Crawick Multiverse, to theatre performances with regional favourite James Rowland and Raymond Wilson who’ll bring his Made in Scotland show to the region this month! As well as the World Famous A Play, A Pie and A Pint to spoken word events with Chrys Salt and Richard Ingham and I AM LOUD bringing their South of Scotland Poetry Slam Heat to The Stove to name a few of the incredible shows set to grace the region this May.

The opening show for the Festival this year will be The Galloway SangStreams: Songs linking life, land and legacy by The Cairn Chorus at Easterbrook Hall on Thursday 23rd May. The accomplished community choir is teaming up with some of the regions best -known writers and musicians and adding dashes of art and science to produce an eclectic programme inspired by the environment. The project commissioned new poems from Penpont Poet Hugh McMillan who will act as raconteur throughout the performance and two new songs will be performed by Thornhill’s Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan as well as songs produced by Wendy Stewart, Dr Jo Miller, Moniaive Musician Lucy Smith and Jo Ray from Auchencairn will mix science and art with DNA plant analysis converted into sound.

On Sunday 26th May, The Galloway Consort will present their show Our Most Special Servant at St Michael’s & South Parish Church, Dumfries evoking the youthful joy and ever lurking danger of the Scottish Renaissance. In the evening, Aaron Jones & Rachel Walker performing at The Vault Arts Centre in Newton Stewart who ensure an evening of captivating live music and song with two of Scotland’s finest singers and musicians and supported by incredible young musicians through D&G Arts Festivals groundbreaking new youth strand UP YER AIRTS with Rose Byers and Lussa.

On the second weekend of the Festival, Scottish Opera will be visiting Wigtown County Buildings and Glencairn Memorial Institute in Moniaive where audiences can experience opera of the highest quality on a miniature scale with specially create 30 minute versions of Don Giovanni and The Merry Widow. They will also be touring the regions schools for three days prior to their public performances as part of a residency programme in partnership with the D&G Arts Festival.

Theatre will see a return of the partnership between the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and the World Famous Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint bringing their delicious lunchtime theatre offer with ROOST, performing 5 shows across the week in the Moffat Theatre (previously Old Well Theatre), Theatre Royal Dumfries and Stranraer Millennium Centre.

The Festival will also feature theatre from Raymond Wilson and his Made in Scotland 2023 play I Hope Your Flowers Bloom, a semi-autobiographical show and an insightful exploration of healthy masculinity and working class access to nature at The Studio in Moffat on Thursday 23rd May and The CatStrand, New Galloway on Friday 24th May.

James Rowland is heading to the region for the third time after two previous Sold Out runs with his new show Piece of Work to Moffat Town Hall on Monday 27th May, The Print Room in Wigtown on Tuesday 28th May and Glencairn Memorial Institute in Moniaive on Wednesday 29th May with an exploration about how the landscapes we exist within effect the way we think and feel and how searching for something is an end in itself.

The Authentic Artists Collective will bring When Mountains Meet to Castle Douglas Town Hall on Saturday 25th May, a breathtaking blend of gig theatre, storytelling and striking visuals, with a cast of international storytellers and musicians on an unforgettable voyage from the Scottish Highlands to the Himalayas.

Shona Cowie and Neil Sutcliffe present With the Devil’s Assistance in Eskdalemuir on Tuesday 28th May and Kirkcudbright on Wednesday 29th May telling the story of Maggie Osborne from the 17th Century who supposedly made a deal with the devil and is a purposeful examination of feminism, patriarchy and capitalism then and now.

Eight local people from New Galloway and the surrounding areas have also spent the last 5 weeks rehearsing and devising a play with Tricky Hat Productions, the community engagement project for over 50’s will take place at The CatStrand on Saturday 1st June and they will showcase their incredible new piece of work using a mix of film, music and theatre to explore stories and take inspiration from everyday life to challenge the pre-conceived ideas of life after 50.

Comedian Connor Burns will be bringing his show Vertigo from a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe last year to the Loreburn Hall Dumfries on Saturday 1st June, a punchline packed stand up show serving up superb material, brilliant delivery and proper belly laughs with Scotland’s fastest rising comedy star.

The Festival will also feature exciting spoken word performances from award winning duo Chrys Salt and Richard Ingham and their show Weavers of Grass at The Faed Gallery, Mill on the Fleet on Monday 27th May and RBCFT Dumfries on Wednesday 29th May as they continue their innovative collaboration, combining evocative narrative sequences with mesmerizing jazz and contemporary classical interpretations about Weavers separated by 5000 years.

The week will also see D&G Arts Festival hosting the I Am Loud South of Scotland Poetry Slam Regional Heat at The Stove in Dumfries on Friday 24th May as part of their 2024 nationwide Slam Series where 10 poets will compete for a £200 prize and South Slam Champion and entry into the Loud Poets Grand Slam Final. There will also be a workshop with the incredible team at I Am Loud at 1pm at The Stove on Friday 24th May so audiences can learn the tricks of the trade.

Dance will also feature in this year’s programme with The Willow Trio bringing their highly acclaimed show The Swan of Salen to The Swallow Theatre on Tuesday 28th May and Johnstonebridge Town Hall on Wednesday 29th May. A multimedia adaptation of the heartbreaking tragedy of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the parallel Gaelic legend featuring a unique blend of his iconic music and enchanting footage of stunning choreography projected behind the musicians.

As well as exciting indoor performances, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival will also be partnering with Cirqulation to present a special outdoor extravaganza in Castle Douglas with Castle Douglas Development Forum on Saturday 25th May and at Crawick Multiverse on Sunday 26th May, showcasing new work presented by leading national and local circus artists featuring amazing acrobats, skilful jugglers and fire show designed for everyone in the community to enjoy.

On Friday 31st May at Easterbrook Hall, they will host a celebratory Concert to mark 45 years with some of the incredible performers who have played a pivotal role both in the Festival and creating a thriving and vibrant performing arts industry across the region. Artists include Kate Kyle, Sarah Turner, Will Archibald, Claire Hastings, Cairn Chorus and The Lucky Doves. With a little something for everyone, they invite everyone to come and raise a glass to toast the history and heritage as well as the bright future of performing arts in Dumfries & Galloway.

The Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival are also working with their groundbreaking new youth brand UP YER AIRTS on a campaign to get audiences to #SupportLiveMusicDG so that they can bring more incredible national artists to Dumfries & Galloway in the future and also support the thriving local music scene. They are aiming to push the boundaries of what is possible for our region and will be putting on a gig ran by young people at the Loreburn Hall on Thursday 30th May with Valtos supported by Dlù & Tiderays.

Liam Russell, Creative Producer of UP YER AIRTS:

“We are looking to support the revival of the music scene in Dumfries. What better way to do this than put on a gig featuring a selection of emerging projects from across Scotland, in one of the most exciting new venues in the town. Support live music.”

Simon Hart, CEO and Director of D&G Arts Festival:

“Over the past five decades our festival has brought the work of leading Scottish and UK performers to venues large and small throughout Dumfries & Galloway. Over this time, we have also played an important role in helping to promote and showcase the skills and talents of locally based artists, both within the region and to audiences across the rest of Scotland. This year’s 45th anniversary programme has something for everyone, we look forward to welcoming you to one of our events this May.”

For more information and to book your tickets to any of the events in the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival 2024, visit their website: