Organisers of The Big Burns Supper have revealed the full programme for the 2022 festival with a hugely expanded range of events and shows returning, in-person following last year’s shift online due to the pandemic. With a firm focus on supporting the recovery of the local community and freelance economy, the 11th edition of Scotland’s largest contemporary Burns celebration is set to reignite the dark winter nights with cultural celebration from 14 – 30 January 2022.
Burns Night Live (25 Jan) returns bigger than ever with Eddi Reader playing the Spiegeltent in a live show that will also be streamed free to the world, with special guest appearances from a variety of different artists on the night.
The comedy programme for the festival is expanding to include Susie McCabe, Christopher McArthur, Basil Brush, Rich Hall, Ray Bradshaw and the hit comedy, An Evening Without Kate Bush as well as a new project featuring local children as stand-up comics in Stand-up Dumfries! joining the previously announced Nish Kumar, Russell Kane and Rosie Jones.
The festival is increasing its range of talks and demonstrations with environmental scientist Dr Tara Shine set to share her views on How to save your planet one day at a time, Bake-off winner Edd Kimber will give a bakery demonstration in The Boy who Bakes, and members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) will give a talk about how they supported miners during the 1980’s strikes.
Gay rights activist Panti Bliss also performs her smash hit show, High Heels in Low Places. Her speech in 2014 about homophobia went viral, was broadcast around the world, remixed by Pet Shop Boys, caused a parliamentary meltdown, and fed into Ireland’s marriage equality referendum success.
Music artists include the Yoruba Woman’s Choir from South Africa and the Brass Funkeys and fans of musical theatre will be treated to the six-piece musical theatre show, The WestEnders with Jill Nalder, the woman who inspired Russell T. Davies C4 show ‘It’s a sin’. Theatre events include a new collaboration with The Vault Festival showcasing new contemporary theatre including Fringe First winner, Bobby & Amy, set amongst the devastation of the foot and mouth pandemic that hit farming communities in the late nineties and Apphia Campbell plays Nina Simone in the ground-breaking drama Black is the Colour of my Voice.
Over 190 free shows and events will help to showcase and support local talent including The Lutras, The Dangleberries, Emily Smith & Jamie McLennan, Zoe Bestel, Lewis Fergusson and Chasing the Train at the brand-new Festival Hub in Loreburn Hall, also showcasing the best of local food and drink. The festival will close to the Sunday Tribute Sessions featuring tribute acts from across the UK including The Complete Stones Roses, The Small Fakers, Fleetwood Bach, Abba Revival and Rocketman.
Families will also be able to take part in the World Haggis Tossing Championship at the town’s Mill Green. Family programme includes Peppa Pig on Stage and Baby loves Disco and a new interactive family treasure hunt across Dumfries. A new event, The Free Family Ceilidh will take place after Dumfries Carnival bursts back onto the streets, featuring feature a community cast of over 3,000 participants from 30 primary schools.
Young people will continue to be centre stage at the festival with a schools showcase project every morning in the Spiegeltent, and recent school leavers will be treated to the graduation events that they missed due to the pandemic in Lost Prom Night Party.
A wide range of interactive Burns events allow residents and visitors a chance to explore the beauty and history of Dumfries and include a Burns Cycle Tour with Cycling Dumfries and a two-hour tour of Burns sites in Dumfries, The Burns Tour! by Solway Tours. A newly commissioned tour Burns before Banksy highlights Burns’ role as a graffiti artist in key locations across Dumfries & Galloway. Local historian Hugh McMillan will also lead a WW2 Walking Tour of Dumfries, with particular focus on how the Norwegian Parliament was based in the town.
Graham Main, Chief Executive of Big Burns Supper said: “There has never been more of a compelling time to bring people back together. Audiences and artists have missed each other and our new three-week model will help them do just that. Our focus on local artists, produce and experience will also allow everyone to enjoy, explore and rediscover Dumfries & Galloway.”
Tickets are available from 12noon on Thursday 21st October via www.bigburnssupper.com, in person at the Creative Hub in the Loreburne Shopping Centre or by calling 01387 733717.