50th Anniversary Programme Launch

Celebrating 50 great years of Scotland’s most unique festival of arts.
ALL the Arts. 50 Years. ONE Amazing Festival.

The city of Perth is ready to welcome both big internationally renowned names and the hottest emerging Scottish talent from the world of music, arts and culture this May for the 50th Perth Festival of the Arts.

As one of Scotland’s leading independent arts festivals, Perth Festival of the Arts continues to diversify around its long-standing classical core.  From orchestras, opera and rock artists, to contemporary art, comedy and stage shows, the Festival appeals to different tastes and encourages people of all ages to enjoy new arts experiences.

2022's Anniversary Festival offers one of largest programmes in recent years, featuring no less than 40 concerts and events in seven venues around the city between 18 – 29 May. With all the sparkle of an opening night, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a stellar line-up of singers present an eclectic programme of opera’s most moving pieces in The Brewin Dolphin Gala Opening Concert on 19 May at Perth Concert Hall. The venue will play host to other large-scale Festival events including Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra with special guest Eddi Reader, the BBC Big Band performing cinematic favourites inspired by the James Bond franchise, and award-winning Scottish folk artists Siobhan Miller and RURA.

In the more intimate setting of Perth Theatre, festival goers can enjoy the hit Broadway and Las Vegas musical Friends! the Musical Parody, which remembers the lives of six wacky 20-somethings from the Manhattan-based TV phenomenon that ruled the 90s. Scotland’s touring opera company Opera Bohemia make their Perth Festival debut with a chamber version of Puccini’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly, promising to be a memorable night for opera lovers and newcomers alike.

 Well-known faces from film and television will also feature, with presenter and comedian Simon Amstell bringing his critically acclaimed show Spirit Holeto Perth.Pianist Lucy Parhamis joined by Narrator and actor Tim McInnerny – known for his roles in Blackadder, Notting Hill and Game of Thrones – to explore the life and loves of composer Claude Debussy. One of the most prominent wildlife presenters and filmmakers working today, Gordon Buchanan, brings his anniversary show 30 Years in the Wild, while restaurant critic, MasterChefjudge and writer Jay Rayner entertains with his show My Last Supper: One Meal, a Lifetime in the Making.

A powerful Scottish production comes in the form of Thunderstruck written and performed by David Colvin and directed by Tom Freeman. The international award-wining production concerns the legacy and mythology of Pitlochry bin man and bagpiper, Gordon Duncan, who flew beyond the summit of his art and changed Scottish music forever. From the USA, the Festival brings Eleanor’s Story – a two-part dramatic production detailing the incredible true-story of a young American girl in Germany during WWII.

An exciting array of concerts and workshops span churches and cultural spaces around the city, including the ever-popular arTay exhibition of contemporary Scottish art in a large tented gallery. St John’s Kirk of Perth will host award-winning choir Tenebrae and internationally-based opera singer Rowan Hellier with pianist Sholto Kynoch, while one the world’s leading saxophonists Tommy Smith brings his acoustic solo saxophone concert in Perth Cathedral St Ninian’s. A specially curated concert by The Cross Trust features a range of outstanding Scottish classical and jazz musicians.

Children and families can enjoy a range of arts events, from opera for babies and toddlers, an illustration workshop with Jill Calder, and Children’s Classic Concerts show Django’s Journey -a jam-packed hour of toe tapping tunes with a gypsy jazz theme. Local artists Perthshire Brass take the outdoor stage in St Paul’s Church Plaza and young choristers and musicians from Perth & Kinross will perform in concerts throughout the festival run.

The final weekend of the festival launches SCOTLAND TRENDING– a 2-day festival weekend in a large marquee outside Perth Concert Hall. The free event runs each afternoon into the evening and features the best rising stars in indie/rock and singer-songwriters. Bands taking the stage include funk soul powerhouse Tom McGuire & The Brassholes as well as Perth’s exciting music export the underground pop band Parliamo.

Audiences can also enjoy a trip down memory lane in a 50thAnniversary Exhibition in Perth Museum & Art Gallery. The exhibition features reviews, archives and photos from the past, as well as sharing memories from audiences, artists and the Festival team.

The Festival’s closing concert and major rock concerts are still to be announced.

Festival Chairman, David Brand said of this year’s festival programme: “May 2022 will be a particularly special festival, marking not only 50 years but a return to a large-scale, live festival after two challenging years for the arts industry. We are looking forward to major celebrations in the city. Our programme offers entertainment, inspiration and new arts experiences for people of all ages. Whether you’re a fan of rock music, drama, comedy, visual arts or classical music and opera, there will be something for everyone.”

Tickets are on general sale from Monday 21st March 10am, with one week’s pre-sale for Festival Friends. For details of the line-up including dates, times and ticket information visit www.perthfestival.co.uk.