News - Perth Festival of the Arts

Perth is set to welcome some big names from the world of music, arts and culture to Scotland this May for the 47th annual Perth Festival of the Arts....

Press Release

Taking place over ten days from the 17th – 26th May at Perth Concert Hall, Perth Theatre and St. John’s Kirk, Perth Festival of the Arts has no less than 26 different events in this year’s programme, ranging from opera and big musical performances to contemporary art exhibitions and fun, thought-provoking stage shows.

Highlights of this year’s festival include Jools Holland – who first appeared at Perth Festival of the Arts in 1998 – returning to the stage once again, bringing with him Soft Cell star Marc Almond as his special guest.  60-year-old Jools is a world-famous pianist, bandleader, singer, composer, television presenter and multiplatinum recording artist, and will perform songs that span his entire musical career accompanied by the sound of Jools’ unforgettable Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

Also on this year’s line-up is Grimethorpe Colliery Band – a Yorkshire-based brass band stars of the hit film “Brassed Off” – and the stunning Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Sanderling and including violinist Jennifer Pike, who is a world-renowned talent who became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious BBC Young Musician of the Year award.

Among the names appearing in the festival’s stage shows over the ten days is crime-writer Val McDermid, who will be interviewed on stage at Perth Theatre by comedian and broadcaster, Fred MacAulay. Kirkcaldy’s McDermid has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and had her work translated into 30 different languages.

Ruby Wax will also bring her one-woman show ‘Frazzled’ to Perth Theatre as part Perth Festival of the Arts programme, based on her best-seller ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’. The US-born comedy actress will give the audience an insight into mental health and the show is not recommended for those under the age of fourteen.

For fans of Scottish bands the triple bill of The Elephant Sessions, Siobhan Miller and Fara in Perth Concert Hall will certainly be a highlight. The Elephant Sessions won Album of the Year and Siobhan won Scots Singer of the Year at the 2017 year’s Trad Awards.

English Touring Opera return to the Festival with a stunning production of The Marriage of Figaro and a night of Rossini Arias. Scottish Opera will also be in town with their trailer converted into an opera house with free shows beside the Concert Hall.

Festival Chairman, Peter Rutterford, said of this year’s festival programme: “We’re delighted to announce this year’s Perth Festival of the Arts line-up and this year the focus has been to put together a programme that is diverse and will appeal to people of different interests.”

“It’s great to welcome Jools Holland back to Perth once again and this year as well as his world-famous Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, he will be bringing along Marc Almond as his guest which I’m sure will excite music fans not just here in Perth but right across the country.

“We have some terrific classical and operatic performances to look forward to, as well as the fantastic arTay exhibitions curated by local art gallery Frames. We’ll also be welcoming big names such as Val McDermid, Ruby Wax, Richard Coles, Eric and Ern for stage shows at the newly refurbished Perth Theatre, a venue we are delighted to have back open and available for the festival this year.”

This year’s festival takes place during an exciting month of music and entertainment in Perth and Kinross with BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend coming to Scone Palace in May, and Peter is hoping that people will come out in force to enjoy Perth Festival of the Arts and other events happening around the same time.

He added: “Perth is attracting some of the best names in the arts and music industry, and that can only be a good thing for the city and for Perth Festival of the Arts. We believe our programme caters for people with lots of different tastes, and hope that audiences will come along and enjoy our annual arts festival and the other great music, arts and cultural events taking place in Perth.”

The Festival has also commissioned a new design this year. Local artist Jill Calder has redesigned the Festival brochure and colourful street banners. Jill is based in Cellardyke and will be running an illustration workshop for children during the Festival. The stunning ArTay marquee will return too with its top drawer showcase of contemporary Scottish art.

Tickets go on general sale from 10am on Monday 26th March. Friends of the Festival can purchase tickets one week early, from 10am on Monday 19th March.

For the full festival line-up including dates, times and ticket information visit the Perth Festival of the Arts website at

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