Celebrating the Arts 2020

Thanks to everyone who joined us on Facebook, from 21st to 30th May 2020 to mark what would have been our 2020 Perth Festival of the Arts. Read on to enjoy the highlights of our #CelebrateTheArts initiative. 


Over the 10-day Festival period in May 2020, we shared videos, recordings, music and news from some of our 2020 Festival Artists on our Facebook page.

During these difficult times when we are missing live performances, we aimed to connected together online, celebrating the talents of the artists due to appear at the Festival and learning more about them and their work. 

arTay online exhibition

For the first time ever, the Festival’s renowned ArTay exhibition of contemporary Scottish art will be going online. Curated by Frames Gallery, the four-day exhibition will run on Frames Gallery website, opening 10am Thursday 28 May and closing at midnight on Sunday 31 May. The exhibition has already gained the support of 90 artists, with over 250 works on sale, making it one the largest online art exhibitions during these times. All works will be available for viewing and sale.

Opening our celebrations...

Our 10-day celebration of the arts began with an incredible memorised performance of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony by the Aurora Orchestra who, along with Nicola Benedetti, were due to open our Festival this year. Enjoy an excerpt below. 

Perthshire Photographic Society were due to host an exhibition of photographic prints at St John's Shopping Centre throughout the 10-day Festival. Instead of their planned exhibition, they have created a special Perth Festival of the Arts online gallery, where you can enjoy a varied and stylish showcase of their members' work. We're grateful to all their members for sharing their talents with us and creating this diverse exhibition. 

On Friday 23rd May, we shared two short interviews with longstanding Festival Director, musician and member of Perthshire Brass, Craig Dennis. Craig shares an insight into his favourite festival memories, the most interesting artists he's met and how he's spending his lockdown days.


As the day went on, we sharing all the episodes of Jools Holland #StayHome and #PlayBoogieWoogie piano series, his new piano masterclass, and into the evening, links to Later... with Jools Holland.

During the first weekend...

On Saturday 23rd morning from 11am, we shared music from Perthshire Brass and Denmark-based trumpeter Frances Lole. Frances and the brass band were due to perform at our longstanding 'Music on a Saturday Morning' series which showcases the talents of musicians from our area. 

On Saturday afternoon, we shared a fun Q&A with Scottish illustrator Jill Calder, who agreed to take part in our Quick-fire Ten Question round! In part 1, we learn about Jill's work as an illustrator and her creative process, and in part 2, we hear how she's spending her lockdown days. 

On Sunday 24th morning 11am, we'll celebrate with our annual Festival Service online conducted by Revd John Murdoch at St John's Kirk of Perth. With readings and music, the service is always a wonderful highlight of Perth Festival. You can watch the service online here

On Sunday evening, we enjoyed a glorious evening of music by award-winning choir Tenebrae, including their recording of Allegri's Misere mei, Deus, which has been viewed over 7 million times.

Into week two...

Into the second week, audiences enjoyed a serialised radio play of Murder She Didn’t Write, just released by improvised theatre company Degrees of Error. The company have been asking audiences on social media to feed into the plot, suggesting an event where the murder will take place and an item central to the case, and to vote on the victim! Tune in above for 'The Case of the Pogo Stick!'

We put Festival Administrator Helen in the 'Quick-Fire Ten' Q&A hotseat. Helen talks music, behind-the-scenes at the Festival and how Nicola Benedetti's Online Tutorials are keeping her going through lockdown.

On Tuesday, we enjoyed a wonderful evening with Scottish Opera, sharing their latest Opera Highlights@Home and OPERAtion Quaratine. You can access highlights and more on Scottish Opera's Youtube page.

The award-winning play Thunderstruck shared a specially created video, with writer and performer David Colvin & Director Tom Freeman interviewed by BBC’s Janice Forsyth about the influence of the great piper Gordon Duncan and the development of this incredible play that was due to be performed at Perth Festival. As well as being treated to an excerpt from the play, we'll also heard fantastic music by Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton to finish.

Dyad Productions who were due to bring The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe to the Festival, shared another of their 5-star productions 'Dalloway', based on Virginia Wolf's novel of the same name. You can access the stream via LIVR here.  

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra shared three fantastic videos with us, including Part 1 of the Concert Documentary of PLANET WAVE with Edwin Morgan and Niall Fulton. 

Our closing weekend

Children's Classic Concerts shared a specially created video relating to their magical show 'Wonderland' by Presenter and master percussionist Owen Gunnell.

We enjoyed a brilliant hour of music with Saxophonist Manu Brazo and guests pianist Prajna Indrawati and violinst Claudia Gallardo. With music from Manuel de Falla to Bach to Gershwin, this varied hour offered a wonderful insight into one of this generation's most versatile young musicians. 

And to close our Festival, we were joined by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields to share musical extracts and interviews with their Music Director Joshua Bell and Leader Tomo Keller. The Academy has created a Spotify Mixtape especially for the Festival, including the full repertoire due to be performed. 

Thank you for #CelebratingTheArts with us in May 2020