A New Year Full of Delights

From late January, there’s a chance to escape the winter weather with a series of heart- and mind-warming Wednesday afternoon storytelling sessions, followed by a light lunch. Featuring acclaimed story tellers Ruth Kirkpatrick, Dougie Mackay, James Spence, Joan Morrison and Heather Yule, it is a chance to re-connect with the simple joy of listening to a story well told.

The power of words – this time celebrating nature, landscape, people and place – will also take centre stage when the brand-new Wild Writers Festival brings many of the world’s most adventurous authors and photographers to Peebles on the final weekend in January.

The exciting line-up includes Cameron McNeish, Sara Barnes, Anna Fleming, Kevin Morgans, Jenny Tough, Iain Cameron and Malachy Tallack who will all share ideas, stories, influences and inspirations.

Also beginning in January are two new drama and dance classes: one exploring a dark past and the other the potential for a bright future.

Rope and Flame is the title of a new series of 10 drama workshops that delve into a time when ordinary men and women in the Borders who fell under the suspicion of the Kirk were  interrogated and tortured. It was a period when the cry of ‘witch’ usually led to execution – the rope and the flame. The workshops will culminate in an opportunity to share the work in March.

Meanwhile, Future:Perfect is the name of a series of three contemporary dance workshops – Who I Was, Who I Am and Who I Choose to Be – that will culminate in an expressive performance about identity, relationships and potential in May.

There is world-class opera, ballet and drama on screen too, courtesy of Royal Opera productions of The Barber of Seville and Turandot, Royal Ballet’s Like Water for Chocolate and the National Theatre’s star-studded productions of The Crucible and Othello.

The first quarter of the year also sees some tantalising live music from near and far, including The Jeremiahs, Cua, Fara and Wayward Jane, plus another masterfully curated Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer – James Yorkston’s latest club night, this time featuring folklorist Marjolein Robertson, Radiohead drummer Philip Selway and singer/songwriter Rachel Sermanni.