Sign of the times

The Eastgate Theatre welcomes a comedy first on 4 October when Glaswegian stand up Ray Bradshaw performs Deaf Comedy Fam – the world’s first comedy show performed simultaneously in British Sign Language and English.

Winner of best show at this year’s Scottish Comedy Awards, the show is all about growing up with deaf parents. Bradshaw’s dad was born deaf, while his mum lost her hearing following a bout of measles when a baby – so he and his hearing siblings were brought up with British Sign Language as their first language.

“I remember being in the playground at five or six years old and signing to the other kids and they didn’t sign back,” said Bradshaw in a recent interview. “I just thought they were dead stupid.”

Rather than missing out in any way, Bradshaw’s home life and upbringing with deaf parents was as rich, warm and colourful as any other – with plenty of comedy gold. Part of the show’s purpose is to emphasise just how much fun his family life was, from his paranoia as a child that his parents could actually hear him and were only pretending to be deaf, to the time, aged nine, when he negotiated the sale of their house.

Although signing while speaking is second nature for Bradshaw, it can still be challenging for a comedian given how British Sign Language is structured differently from spoken English. This means that punchlines, and therefore laughter, often come at slightly different times from the hearing and deaf members of the audience.

Such a ripple effect only adds to the experience of a show that is not only accessible to deaf and hearing audiences alike, but which manages to be hilarious in two languages at the same time.

Ray Bradshaw performs Deaf Comedy Fam at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, 7.30pm, Thursday 4 October. Tickets £15, £13, £6 under 15s available from Box Office on 01721 725777 or online.


Finance Director – The Board of the Eastgate Theatre

The Board of the Eastgate Theatre is looking to appoint a new Finance Director who combines strategic insight with practical interest, to provide the crucial financial oversight that will enable the theatre to continue to function, flourish and grow.

The Board of the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles needs new people….. people like you.

The Eastgate Theatre, the busiest arts venue in the South of Scotland, is seeking new people to join the Board of Directors and influence the theatre’s future.

Half Way There

All the seating will be replaced or repositioned to enhance comfort, increase space, and improve sightlines from the balconies. Meanwhile, new hand grabs on the aisle seats and extra lighting at balcony level will ensure safety, while better heating and ventilation systems will improve temperature control at all times of the year.

Caroline Adam, the theatre’s General Manager said “We have been working on the development project for 2 years and today the first major step forward is in sight. Fourteen years ago the Eastgate was created by the determination of the local community to realise the dream of having a space where all sorts of arts could flourish.  Today performances in the theatre attract audiences of 21,000 a year and more than 40,000 people visit the Eastgate for other reasons.  This development will provide an excellent theatre space ready to meet future demand. We are very close but it won’t happen at all unless we reach the £70,000 target with this final fundraising push.” 

Events already in place include the showing and sale of a British Blue bullock raised by  local farmer Robert Barr.  Visitors to Peebles Agricultural Society on Saturday 11 August will have the opportunity to name the bullock and capture a selfie with the handsome beast.   Also on the 11th the inexhaustible cyclist and café barista Nicola Harrison is taking on a sponsored 5 hour bike ride outside the café.  Wellies and lycra give way to tuxedos and ball gowns as the theatre stages a glamorous dance spectacular in the Peebles Hydro Ballroom on Sunday 26th. and InChorus will bring their tenth birthday celebrations to a close by donating the ticket income from their first ever Choir-aoke to the theatre where it all began.

To make it easy for everyone to contribute to the fundraising effort the theatre has placed a donations box in the foyer for cash, plus envelopes for larger cash sums or cheques (complete the Gift Aid slip to increase your donation by 25%). There is also a Just Giving page for those who prefer to give online.

For more information about the project or to discuss options, including donations, patronage, sponsorship or Gift Aid, contact Caroline Adam at or call 01721 725777.

A Simple Ambition Becomes A Fabulous Musical

This simple ambition led to the making of a BBC documentary and the musical, first staged in Sheffield, that immediately transferred to London and became THE show on the west end and winning 7 awards including the Whatsonstage Best Musical 2018.

The show charts Jamie’s battle with school bullies and authority as he comes out as gay and tells people about his prom dress.  It is also about his mother Margaret’s fiercely protective, unconditional love for her son.  The show is funny and poignant by turns and has twice had its run in the heart of London’s theatreland extended. It explores universal themes of love, perseverance in the face of adversity and ultimate acceptance. It also has cracking songs, great heart, and a very funny script.

In a recent interview Margaret said: “It isn’t just about Jamie in a dress. It’s about believing in yourself and standing up for what you believe in in the face of opposition. And it asks, ‘What’s normal? Who defines normal?’ We’re all normal. We shouldn’t put anyone in a box or make them dull and grey. Some people want be in Technicolor.  I still get quite emotional when people come up to me and say something nice about Jamie, because this is the acceptance that he should have had back then.”

Jamie added: “It’s a love story really, with a happy ending but it’s also about empowerment, and that really resonates with audiences – whatever and whoever they are.”

 Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is screened at 7pm on Thursday 2 August.  Tickets £14 (£10 for under 25s) are available now from the Eastgate Theatre on 01721 725777 or online

The Boys are Back in Town …

Twenty years since it was first created for a one-off appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, the show has exploded in size and sequins. This year’s Wonder Women 20th Anniversary Tour – part of the 2018 Creative Peebles Festival – features hundreds of stunning new costumes in a dazzling two-hour show full of music, dance and outrageous comedy.

Tickets are £20, available now from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office on 01721 725777 or online from

Like American Folk? Love the Eastgate

Next to arrive are the magnificent eight piece California Feetwarmers bringing their fun-loving rendering of ragtime, Dixieland blues and early swing directly from Los Angeles. The Feetwarmers are now regular visitors and this year aim to raise the Eastgate roof on Saturday 19 July.

Making their Eastgate debut on Saturday 28 July are Laura Cortese and The Dance Cards. Laura studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and lists being invited to play at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday party at Madison Square Garden as one of the highlights of her career so far. The fiddler/vocalist and song-writer now fronts the Dance Cards and together these four feisty women play Cajun two-stepping and rock and roll swagger served up with panache and zing.

Saturday 22 September sees the return of the irrepressible Betsy Clarke (formerly of The Wilders). This time Betse is on tour with Clarke Wyatt who adds finger style banjo to her powerful and beautiful Ozark fiddle tunes. Betse has maintained her contagious enthusiasm so the audience can expect lots of laughs, remarkable stories and – of course – exceptional music.

All concerts start at 7.30pm. Tickets for each are £15, £13 or £6 for under 15s, available now on 01721 725777 or online

Nominations invited for 2018 Robert Noble Trophy

Creative Peebles Festival (formerly Peebles Arts Festival) is inviting nominations for an individual or organisation to receive the 2018 Robert Noble Trophy – a cup awarded annually to a person or group that has successfully encouraged young people in Tweeddale to become involved in the arts.

Introduced in 1985 by the Robert Noble Company of March Street Mills, the trophy has, over the years, been awarded to recipients active in all sorts of arts, including Dan Ward, Claire Garnett, Shakespeare at Traquair and Tweeddale Museum and Gallery.

In 2008, it was overhauled with a new silver ring added to the base to accommodate the growing list of names – the most recent of which being Kids Innerleithen Youth Theatre which won the cup in 2017.

With the Creative Peebles Festival now centred on the Eastgate Theatre, nominations for the 2018 award should be emailed to together with a short (max 200 words) explanation of why the person or organisation has been nominated. The deadline for nominations is 31 July.

Once received, the nominations will be whittled down to a shortlist, with the final decision on a winner made by an expert panel. The winner will be announced and presented with the trophy at an informal ceremony during the festival.

The 2018 Creative Peebles Festival runs from 24 August to 2 September. The full programme is available in print from various venues and online at 


From the blues to Budapest and back

Music fans of very different genres are in for a treat in early June when the Eastgate Theatre serves up live performances from two outstanding bands within the space of a week.

First up are festival favourites Main Street Blues who bring their powerful mix of acoustic and electric blues to Peebles on 2 June. Described by blues fan Ian Rankin as “so tight you couldn’t slide a Rizla between them”, the band has been a regular fixture at the prestigious Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, with sold out performances in each of the last five years.

Renowned for their energetic live shows, part of the band’s set was broadcast by the BBC when they played the main stage at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in the Highlands.

The performance in Peebles will include tracks from the band’s new record, plus a host of blues favourites from legends such as BB King to more modern performers including Sean Costello, Bill Perry and Mike Zito.

Just four days later, there’s a switch in style but no let-up in energy as Budapest Café Orchestra returns to Peebles for another very special evening. Led by jazz violin superstar Christian Garrick, the band evokes vivid images of Tzigane fiddle maestros, Hungarian café life and gypsy campfires.

Infectiously energetic and uplifting, this hugely talented four-piece takes audiences on a magical musical journey across the Balkans and Eastern Europe – with a tonne of lively patter along the way.

Main Street Blues plays the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, 7.30pm, Sat 2 June. Tickets £12, £10, £6 under 15s. Budapest Café Orchestra plays the Eastgate, 7.30pm, Wed 6 June. Tickets £15, £13, £6 under 15s, available from Box Office on 01721 725777, or online at


Strictly-style swagger returns to Peebles Hydro

The Eastgate Theatre and Peebles Hydro have joined forces to create a new, and extremely glamourous, celebration of ballroom dancing on the first Sunday (26 August) of this year’s Creative Peebles Festival.

As well as performances by professional and community dance groups, the glitzy ‘Strictly-style’ Take to the Floor event – held in a specially dressed and lit Hydro ballroom – will feature a dance competition for up to ten couples over the age of 21 who will dance in front of a live audience, plus a panel of judges.

The Eastgate is now inviting applications to take part in the event. Couples must commit to raising £150 towards the BUILDING ON SUCCESS Eastgate Theatre Development Fund. They will then be paired with a mentor to create and rehearse their two-minute dance in a series of rehearsals in the build-up to the big day.

In true ‘Strictly’ style, each couple will perform their dance in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. The performances will be assessed and scored by the judges, while the audience will also be asked to vote for their favourite performance, with each vote costing £1. The winning couple will be presented with a special Take to the Floor 2018 award.

“We’re very excited to bring ballroom dancing back to the Hydro,” said Eastgate Event Manager Alex Saunders. “Holding Take to the Floor in the Hydro ballroom adds a real sprinkling of magic to the event, which I know will make it very special both for the dancers and the audience.”

As well as high-energy dance performances, audiences will also be treated to live music from Peebles High School’s Swing Loaded and The Brambelles.

“And with Scott Noble as compere, plus Julie de Havilland from Dance Pointe Academy and the theatre’s very own Caroline Adam joining the judging panel, it’s going to be a sparkling evening of entertainment,” added Alex.

A fun, friendly event, applicants do not need any previous dance experience or sequinned lycra to take part, just enthusiasm and a touch of flare! Each couple must live in Tweeddale and neither can be professionally trained in dance.

Application forms are available online at, or from Box Office on 01721 725777.