The Region’s Young People are the Leading Lights of the 2018 Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival.

young people
Young promoters David Whitaker, Victoria Bennet, Elizabeth Gordon, Lauren Asher and Ethan Thorpe Davies with Councillor .Adam Wilson picture is by Colin Hattersley

The 39th festival, which takes place between 25 May and 3 June, will include performances by Dumfries and Galloway’s bright young stars as well as a programme of exciting events brought to the region this year by young people, for young people.


The festival kicks off with a concert by the Scottish Ensemble of music by Mozart at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, on 25 May. The festival will be officially launched by young promoter and STAGE iT chair Lauren Asher at a civic reception on the evening.


The launch heralds the start of 10 days of 66 world class performing arts events in 44 venues in music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature and children’s shows across the region. Festival highlights include concerts by Gavin Marwick’s Journeyman and the Scottish Ensemble, in a one-off unique musical spectacular Impressions of Galloway at the Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries; two concerts by trad giants Talisk in Stranraer and Dumfries; brilliant comedy from Carina MacLeod, Fern Brady, Sofie Hagen and Alan Bissett; musical drama with Apphia Campbell in Woke and Right Lines Production’s Isle of Love; and an evening of opera and strings showcasing Sir Walter Scott in Music and Song with the Scottish Ensemble and Black Bird Opera.


For 2018, STAGE iT, a region-wide programme of theatre, music and performing arts events run by a young promoters group with the backing of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, will take place across the 2018 Year of Young People.


Supported by EventScotland’s Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund and the Holywood Trust, the project will host a number of quality live performances throughout 2018, kicking-off at the festival with an al fresco High Street Takeover on Saturday, 26 May at Dumfries Plainstanes. This event will include Block – a daring spectacle of aero-acrobatics from NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse; remarkable dance theatre from Janis Claxton’s pop-up duets, a showcase from local young musicians; a set from the exciting Tinderbox Orchestra; and a few treats from this year’s festival.


Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has received considerable support from its funders which include Creative Scotland, EventScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, the William Grant Foundation, the Robertson Trust and Annandale and Eskdale Community Benefit Company.


Festival director, Peter Renwick, said: “We are delighted to be launching the STAGE iT programme in the Year of Young People. This year celebrates the unique contribution young people make to our lives, businesses and communities.
“Our young promoters’ group has been working extremely hard to make a substantial contribution to performing arts in the region through the festival and our Arts Live programme, ensuring a sustainable and exciting future for the arts in Dumfries and Galloway.
“The festival is celebrating young people in a number of ways: our young promoters are programming events; young artists are performing alongside some of the big names at the festival; and we are offering half price tickets to all our core events to anyone aged 26 and under.”

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has become nationally renowned for delivering world-class performing arts events to venues across the breadth of the region, ensuring international award-winning performing arts are delivered to the doorsteps of even the most remote rural community.


Recognising the significance of the long-running annual event on Scotland’s cultural map, Dumfries and Galloway Council this year awarded the festival £14,000 from its Major Events Strategic Fund, with signature event status.


Adam Wilson, the Council’s Events Champion and Ambassador for the Year of Young People said, “It is great that the Arts Festival has created a platform for the region’s young people to influence this year’s festival and opportunities to participate within it.
“There are always plenty of surprises and high quality and quirky performances within the Arts Festival programme and this year is certainly no different. There are great events happening the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway for people of all ages, so don’t overlook the Arts Festival and pick out some concerts or shows to get along to.”


Tickets from the Midsteeple Box office on 01387 253383 and Wigtown Festival Company 01988 403222. Printed programmes are available from outlets across the region or online in digital format from