StAnza comes of age with a festival programme set to ‘Bedazzle’

“…to be part of such a prestigious event, in the new Byre, is a delight for me.”

Clive Russell, Actor

 StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival celebrates its eighteenth year with a festival programme set to ‘Bedazzle’.  As one of the UK’s leading festivals, StAnza is marking its coming of age year with an outstanding line-up of literary talent.

 The annual festival which gets underway next week, will be launched by Fife actor and Game of Thrones star Clive Russell, followed by an opening night performance of Bedazzled: A Welshman in New York. The highly acclaimed show will see the Byre Theatre transformed into 1950’s New York and audience members transported back in time to the heady, bohemian world of Greenwich Village in the 50s.

 Commenting on his involvement with StAnza Clive Russell said: “I was brought up in Fife, and St Andrews was a place, as a family, we visited many times for picnics on the West Sands, films at the cinema, putting on the Himalayas, golf, and plays at the original Byre Theatre. Indeed one of my first experiences of theatre was an A B Paterson play at that unique venue so to be part of such a prestigious event, in the new Byre, is a delight for me.”

 Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone added: “We are absolutely delighted to have an artist of such talent and stature as Clive Russell launching the eighteenth StAnza festival. Not only does he connect with Fife, StAnza’s home, but he also shares a love of poetry and of course, not forgetting, he is a major international television star, currently watched by millions around the world in Game of Thrones.”

 Over five days Fife's historic university town of St Andrews will come alive to celebrate live poetry in all its forms around this year's themes of Unfinished Business and An Archipelago of Poetry.

The festival takes place from 4 to 8 March and boasts an impressive programme with headline acts including Simon Armitage, New Zealand’s first Poet Laureate Bill Manhire, along with three poets on their first appearance at StAnza, American poet Alice Notley, Sinéad Morrissey, currently Belfast’s Poet Laureate, and Ian Duhig. Winner of the 2014 Forward Prize for best collection and Forward First Prize for best first collection, Kei Miller and Liz Berry, respectively are also included in this year’s line up along with Helen Mort, recent winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection prize and Hollie McNish, winner of the Arts Foundation spoken word award.

 Eleanor Livingstone continued: “This is a very special year for StAnza and we have marked it with an ambitious programme which demonstrates the incredible creative talent there is within the poetry world. From our headline acts to some of the newest voices on the stage, our line-up is an eclectic, vibrant and exciting mix of performance poets and artists who will no doubt make 2015 a festival to remember.”

 Among the new voices in this year’s programme are spoken word poets Agnes Török, Toby Campion and Erin Fornoff. Agnes Török was the 2014 StAnza Poetry Slam winner and was awarded the Best International Spoken Word Show at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival for her show Sorry I Don't Speak Culture. Toby Campion was a finalist in the BBC Poetry Slam 2014 and the UK National Slam 2014 while Erin Fornoff who has performed at Glastonbury, won the StAnza 2013 digital slam.

 Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said:“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we look forward to StAnza kicking off next week, with Clive Russell set to launch the festival in style. StAnza is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our annual cultural portfolio, and the programme this year looks set to capture the imagination of audiences once more.”

 Other programme highlights include an exhibition by Will Maclean in collaboration with poet John Burnside, Writing Motherhood, A Shipwrecked House, Sealegs, and a Modern Don Juan. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in person, by phone and online. Full box office details are online at our booking page or telephone the box office on 01334 475000.  

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