By Apphia Campbell and Meredith Yarbrough. Performed by Apphia Campbell.


Apphia Campbell’s incredible Fringe First Award winning show embarks on a summer UK tour, including a date at London’s Greenwich Theatre, prior to a return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Woke won the coveted Scotsman Fringe First Award for its premiere season in 2017, and was highly commended by the judges of the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award. Against stunning gospel and blues sung live, two women 42 years apart join the struggle for American civil rights: notorious Black Panther Assata Shakur and a present-day student enrolling as the Ferguson riots behind. Both challenge the American Justice system, become criminalised through political activism; and ultimately are faced with a choice to stay and fight or to flee. Created by Apphia Campbell whose previous shows include the hit Black is the Color of my Voice which has received critically acclaimed runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and on National Tour.


Apphia Campbell is a singer, playwright and actress from Florida. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre performance from Florida International University and minored in Political Science. After college, she moved to New York where she pursued theatre and performed in Off-Broadway houses. In 2009, she moved to Shanghai, China where she sang blues, jazz, and pop in various venues including The Cotton Club, Park Hyatt, Le Meridian Hotel, and JZ music festivals. In 2012 she formed Play The Spotlight Theatre Company (PTS), a theatre company that focuses on new works and musical pieces. In 2013 she wrote her critically acclaimed piece, Black Is The Color Of My Voice and opened it in Shanghai to sold-out performances and rave reviews. She brought the show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it sold out and has been touring the U.K and selling out in prestigious houses such as St. James Theatre, Wiltons Music Hall, and Oxford Playhouse. Her theatre credits include The Color Purple (James Harkness, WBTT Theatre), Black Is the Color Of My Voice (Edinburgh Festival and London), Holiday Hitch (PTS theatre), No Exit (Blue Lane Theatre), The Deciders (New York Fringe Festival) and Beehive (Temple Theatre). www.apphiacampbell.com

 

14-June Paisley Arts Centre Paisley renfrewshireleisure.com/arts / 0300 300 1210

Praise for the show includes:


★★★★ ‘Campbell is the most powerful voice of this year’s fringe.’ The Scotsman

★★★★★ Inspiring! A fast, exciting and engaging play that ended with most of the audience standing and applauding.’ British Theatre Guide

★★★★★ ‘Both roles are brilliantly performed by Apphia herself.’ British Theatre

★★★★ ‘Campbell is a formidable performer.’ The List

CLAIRE FROM STEPS, MARTINE MCCUTCHEON,

GRAHAM NORTON, DAWN STEELE & MICHELLE MCMANUS

GUEST STAR IN ‘GARY LAMONT: DROPPING THE SOAP!’ TOUR 2018

Taking in an extensive tour of Scotland join Gary Lamont: Dropping the Soap! opening at Falkirk Town Hall 16 February. It’s the starriest show in town with guest appearances from 3 chart-topping popstars and the king of chat himself!  

Gary Lamont recently left the popular BBC Scotland soap opera ‘River City’ last year, his character Robbie Fraser leaving Shieldinch in a limousine with popstar Claire Richards.  

But while Robbie’s been hired as the hairdresser for the latest Steps tour, what’s next for Gary himself?  That’s the focus of his new comedy cabaret which sees Gary ponder his next move with the help of his pals.

Says Gary, “I’m loving doing my new show and especially working with all my amazing guest stars.  Claire from Steps is my childhood idol, Graham Norton is my favourite TV host, Dawn Steele is my favourite actress, Martine McCutcheon is my spirit animal and Michelle McManus is normally so expensive I can’t afford her.  So to have them all agree to take part and send themselves up has been incredible”.

Interview with Gary Lamont by Peter Greenwood of www.paisley.org.uk

Claire Richards “Gary managed to rope me in to film his exit from River City and now he’s made me take part in his show.  I have rather a lot on at the minute with the Steps tour so hopefully this will be the end of it all. If not I will consider a restraining order!  Seriously though, I loved having the chance to take part in Gary’s new show”.

Graham Norton “I absolutely loved Gary’s last show so I was happy to help out with his latest.  Who needs soap when you’ve got buckets of charm, hilarity and song like Gary? His show is a joyous revelation”.  

Fri 04 May – Adam Smith Theatre – 7.30pm www.onfife.com

Fri 11 May – Lochgelly Centre – 7.30pm www.onfife.com

Sat 12 May – Basement Theatre Edinburgh – 7.00pm www.gildedballoon.co.uk

Fri 25 May – Livingston Howden Park 7.30pm www.howdenparkcentre.co.uk

Sat 26 May – Byre Theatre St Andrews – 8pm www.byretheatre.com

 

Competition: 

Shattered, a new play written by Lisa Nicoll will tour Scotland with its first performance at Paisley Arts Centre, on Saturday, May 19.

Inspired by interviews and life experiences, Shattered deals with the universal themes of grief, loss and isolation as well as the things that are left unsaid between the people to whom we are sometimes the closest.

 

The play is a partnership between In Motion Theatre Company and the Scottish Cot Death Trust and will also be performed as part of the International Conference on Still Births and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in June in Glasgow.

 

Three years on from the sudden death of their baby, Lucy and Ben are struggling to find some kind of normality in their fractured world.   Lucy focuses, as she has for the last few months, on the people on the street who she watches day in and day out from her window, telling stories of them like a TV boxed set. She wants to be part of it all again. She wants to be close to Ben again.  Ben wants to be close to her and tries through humour and dancing to do this.

 

Lucy watches cafe owner Tom from the window; he is someone who used to be her friend, who visited her, who she confided in but who hasn’t acknowledged her for months.  He knows that she is there but he cannot speak to her or wave. Left alone for a few days in the flat Lucy has an encounter with stranger Katy which begins her reconnection with life.

 

The cast comprises Nicola Roy (Lucy), Gavin Jon Wright (Ben), Kirsty Findlay (Katy) and Nebli Basani (Tom).  Shattered is directed by Jordan Blackwood with lighting by Laura Hawkins, sound by Alan Orr and set and costume design by Fraser Lappin.  Creative biographies are attached.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “We are always interested in new and innovative forms of arts and entertainment
“We’re particularly keen to give a platform to new writers, performers and artistic works. I’m sure audiences will enjoy this thought-provoking production of Shattered, when it debuts at Paisley Arts Centre.”

Sat 19th May, 7:30PM £10 / £8

Paisley Arts Centre
0300 300 1210 www.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk

Photography fans are being encouraged to share their favourite snaps of Paisley’s unique architecture for a Story Map that tells the story of the town through its rich built heritage.

The Story Map will capture a visual record of historic properties within Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area. Pupils and community groups are being asked to share their photos, memories and comments on buildings in the town they either have links with or simply admire and have a chance to have them added to the Story Map. The map will also share knowledge about local heritage.

The Story Map will go on to be used as a public online resource where people can view and continue to contribute to the story capturing the town’s built environment as time goes on.

Local primary school pupils and community groups will attend the Story Map launch on Friday 16 March in the UWS atrium, and bring along a digital copy of their image and a comment to accompany it in order to contribute to the map.

The event will also launch a new photography competition which will first be trialled with the groups who attend on the day.

Two winners will be announced (under 16 year-olds and over 16 year-olds) at the event and the winning photographs will be printed on banners displayed around Paisley Town Centre promoting the TH.CARS2 project. Following the event the competition will then be opened up to the general public to enter. All details about the competition can be found on the TH.CARS2 website.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Cllr Iain Nicolson, said: “Paisley is home to some beautiful buildings and boasts the second highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland and it’s great to celebrate this.

“People living in and around Paisley are uniquely able to see our most iconic buildings in a new way as well as highlight some of our hidden gems. By contributing to the Story Map people can share their own stories of why these stunning buildings matter to the town.”

This forms a key part of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will deliver grant opportunities to property owners in a defined area of the town centre for high quality building repairs and shopfront improvements.

To find out more about the TH.CARS2 project please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2 or to find out more about the Story Map please visit:www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THcars2StoryMap.

ALL sports and leisure facilities run by Renfrewshire Leisure will re-open tomorrow. (Saturday, March 3)
The facilities, which had been closed because of the recent severe weather, includes sports centres, swimming pools, libraries, Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, community centres and town halls.


Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Thankfully, it appears we have seen the worst of the extreme weather and we are now able to re-open our facilities.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience while we made adjustments to our services during this exceptional bad weather.

“But I would urge people to please continue to take care when travelling over the next few days.
”Customers can keep up to date on their fitness classes and other events by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com or by calling the sports and leisure facilities on 0300 300 0250 and all cultural venues on 0300 300 1210.

Plans to use the momentum of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid to help drive a long-term cultural, social and economic transformation of the area are to go before councillors next week.

Renfrewshire Council and its partners have been planning how the town’s bid journey will continue, by building on the positive platform the bid created, and the widespread community support that drove Paisley’s campaign.

Paisley was the only Scottish place and first-ever town to make the shortlist for the prestigious competition, run by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Feedback from DCMS says Paisley was viewed as ‘a very strong contender’ and the decision to shortlist the bid was ‘an easy one’, while praising the town’s passion and commitment to using culture to tackle social problems, and describing the Paisley bid’s community engagement as ‘exemplary’.

The Paisley 2021 Partnership Board – set up to oversee the bid and bringing together business, cultural, educational, community, health and political representatives – has already confirmed it will continue and will deliver and drive a legacy plan, with some partners intending to maintain their original financial pledges.

That detailed legacy plan will be finalised by the Partnership Board in March – but a report outlining the key points of the local authority’s contribution towards the plan is now going before the council’s Leadership Board

It will continue the ambition to achieve the bid’s original long-term aims to significantly grow Paisley’s creative economy, transform its reputation, see the town recognised for its cultural excellence, lift communities out of poverty, and turn Paisley town centre into a vibrant destination.

And the council will continue to lead on delivering the following:

– the planned £100m-plus investment in venues and infrastructure, including the project under way to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class visitor destination, major internal revamps to transform Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre, upgrading the sporting facilities at St James Playing Fields and creating new space for outdoor events and festivals, a new library on the High Street, and improvements to the town centre streetscape and road system;

– a new Paisley destination brand and website will also be unveiled in the next few weeks to build on the national and international profile created by the bid and promote the area as an attractive place to visit, live and invest;

– an enhanced cultural events and festivals programme over the next four years to deliver the best of what was planned for 2021, attract visitors to Paisley, and strengthen the local cultural sector;

Plans will also be developed to grow the area’s creative economy through a new apprenticeship programme, support for creative businesses and a new volunteer strategy.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We must do everything to build on the impact of bidding for UK City of Culture and the momentum it created.

“The campaign took the town’s profile to new levels – with hundreds of millions of people around the world getting the chance to see or hear something positive about Paisley – transformed our reputation, raised awareness of our unique story, and brought self-confidence back to the town.

“It also generated a town-wide discussion about Paisley’s future – with more than 36,000 people engaging with the bid by the time the final submission was made, and new partnerships and relationships developed locally and nationally which will continue to work in Paisley’s interest.

“And it also firmly established the idea that Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage assets can be used to transform its future – and not just in an economic sense, but also through social impact, by harnessing the power of culture to boost health and well-being, and help people out of poverty.

“We may not have won the title – but the important point is we are still going to deliver our vision and many of the aspirations that informed our bid.

“The report going to the leadership board offers an initial outline of those next steps, and as chair of the Paisley Partnership Board I look forward to revealing the detailed action plan with our partners.

“With major investment in our cultural venues, a new destination brand and website set to launch, an enhanced events and festivals programme in the years ahead, and new funding to support local artists and help the local cultural sector grow, there is lots ahead to be excited by.”

The council’s leadership board will meet on Wednesday 21 February.

In celebration of Paisley Arts Centre turning 30, Visible Fictions return to their Paisley roots to present a new site-specific piece at Paisley Central Library.  

Visible Fictions have been producing award winning creative experiences for young people since 1991 and it all started in Paisley Arts Centre where Visible Fictions had their first home. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, touring the world and redefining what theatre is and where it can happen.

This November Visible Fictions are very excited to present a new experience in Paisley Central Library.  The Hidden is a dramatic, participatory event involving a series of complex clues, codes and puzzles designed to take the audience on a journey of discovery.  

Someone has gone missing but have they left messages behind?  Hidden in books, written on index cards, scribbled on the back of an old photograph; there is a mystery waiting to be solved.  

Played out in Paisley Central Library, your task is to piece the story together using all the clues you can find, but should you share your theory or keep it to yourself?

Work as a team to rewrite the history books, just be careful which path you chose to go down . . .  

The Hidden is a dramatic, interactive experience for small groups of adults and teenagers.  The participants will work as a team to make sense of clues and come up with their own theory to solve the mystery.  

Douglas Irvine, Artistic Director comments “Creating this dramatic experience has been both thrilling and challenging, there are many complexities, twists and turns and we can’t wait to see the decisions our audiences take.  Presenting this new piece in Paisley means a lot to our company and we are thrilled to be premiering this unusual performance in the town. “   

View the trailer here – https://vimeo.com/231564915

To book tickets  – www.renfrewshireleisure.com/arts or call 0300 300 1210

For further information please contact Sophie Ochojna, Marketing and Development Manager, Visible Fictions sophie@visiblefictions.co.uk or call 0141 221 8727.

Our spectacular Halloween Parade is always a festival highlight!
With a Fire Monster on a Paisley Chariot, the Spark! Drummers, LED lanterns, Mr Wilson’s Second Liners Band and lots more colourful participants, this is one not to be missed.

Parade route: New Street – Causeyside Street – St Mirren Brae – Gauze Street- Cotton Street

She was infamous for not being amused but even Queen Victoria would have raised a smile as her statue was one of a string across Paisley to be yarn bombed.

Passers-by stopped in their tracks when they saw the legendary monarch, who stands in Dunn Square, sporting a specially created tartan crinoline skirt and traffic cone crown.

The William Dunn memorial was also dressed and given silver knitted cups to mark the fact it used to be a water fountain.

Robert Tannahill’s statue in Abbey Close also enjoyed a makeover with the town’s famous weaver poet dressed in a knitted scarf with musical notes, waistcoat and gaiters.

A knitted lawn with flowers completed the yarn bombing to mark his catalogue of songs and poems celebrating nature.

The installations are part of the Winter Coats yarn bombing project, where a series of local groups worked with textile artists Ashley Holdsworth and Bex Smith to research historical figures and then create a garment for them.

With the support of the NHS’s Network Services, Capability Scotland, the Phoenix Activity Group, Craft to Recover, Laugh n Craft, the Disability Resource Centre and patients from wards at Dykebar and Leverndale all took part.

Their colourful creations were installed to coincide with the start of Renfrewshire’s contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

The display of street art also saw statues of Sir Peter and Thomas Coats beside Dunn Square dressed in a Paisley pattern kilt and a waistcoat decorated with thread and ribbon to represent the family’s textiles empire and history.

At the town’s Russell Institute, where local children used to receive their inoculations, some of the infant statues were draped with sock teddy bunting. The cuddly toys were crafted to come with miniature slings and walking sticks in recognition of the institute’s child welfare clinic roots.

The town’s other illustrious textile family weren’t forgotten, with George Clark’s statue given a mortar board in honour of his family’s passion for education.

Renowned ornithologist and poet Alexander Wilson’s statue at Abbey Close was yarn bombed with a bird cage and birds.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The project is a fitting contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and shows how the different groups all researched and understood the history of the statues and who they commemorate.

“It’s a great way of shining a light on our unique cultural heritage as we bid to be UK City of Culture for 2021. “

The Winter Coats initiative is part of a wider five year project, Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley Townscape Heritage Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2.

It has also received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland and has a total budget of £4.5m.

Ten per cent of the funding is allocated to a Cultural and Heritage programme which aims to engage the community in the architectural and textiles heritage of Paisley.

Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland said: “Thanks to funds raised through the National Lottery, a new sense of belief and pride in Paisley’s past is growing. Fun projects like this, rooted in the town’s historic past clearly demonstrate the creative spirit alive today.

“We have invested in many projects across the town which have seen historic buildings restored, communities exploring their heritage and also confirmed our latest commitment with initial support for the transformational plans for Paisley’s museum.”

Michael Easson from Historic Environment Scotland, which partly funded the project, said: “It’s exciting to see an innovative and fun new initiative to engage people across myriad backgrounds with their local built environment.

“I hope this brings a wider awareness to the Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival as well as the Historic Environment Scotland supported Paisley TH.CARS2 scheme.”

The practice of yarn bombing is thought to have started in the US by Texas knitters who wanted to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects. It’s since been adopted across the globe.

A wider network of groups have also been making scarves to tie onto railings which will be donated to the homeless service in Paisley’s Abercorn Street.

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been boosted by a massive £45.7m town centre investment package to help the town host the title, given the green light today by councillors.

A meeting of Renfrewshire Council agreed to set aside funds for major infrastructure projects which support the wider push to transform Paisley’s future using the power of its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story.

Paisley Town Hall lit up in support of the bid

The news comes as the town – the only Scottish place to make the final UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist – prepares to submit its bid to the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport tomorrow.

Today’s investment will support the long-term future of some of the town’s historic venues and the wider regeneration of Paisley – while also ensuring the town is ready to host the 2021 title should it be announced as the winner. It includes:

– £22m for a major modernisation of Paisley Town Hall. The 135-year-old venue will get a replacement electrical system as well as an extensive programme of improvements covering an improved main hall, stage and lighting, plus a new function suite, kitchen and bar;

– £10m set aside for town centre transport and public realm improvements to support both the 2021 bid and the long-term regeneration of the town centre. That will include investment to road, public transport and pedestrian access, and improvements to buildings and lighting;

– a £7.7million redevelopment at St James playing field including an area for large outdoor events, upgraded grass pitches, new pavilion and café; and an upgrade to Ferguslie Park Sports Centre;

– £3.5m set aside to turn the disused Galbraiths warehouse in Back Sneddon Street into a venue capable of hosting large-scale art exhibitions such as the Turner Prize, which typically goes to the UK City of Culture host. This money will only be spent should Paisley win the 2021 title;

– £2.5m for a wide-ranging revamp of Paisley Arts Centre including improved a replacement electrical system and toilets, dressing rooms, seats and staging, as well as access improvements.

The money committed today is over and above funding previously set aside for three projects already under way – the new museum store set to open in a basement of a high street unit later this year, the new Paisley library to be built further up the same street, and a £42m revamp of Paisley Museum, for which it was announced yesterday £4.9m of National Lottery money has been earmarked.

Paisley is joined on the final UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist by Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland, and Swansea, with a decision due in December. There has never been a Scottish winner. The bid is due to be sent off tomorrow with a mass public show of support at Paisley Cross from 10.30am.

Today’s investment comes as a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – prepare to unveil their own plans for a cinema and theatre complex in the town centre.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The package of measures unveiled today shows the scale of our ambition for Paisley and Renfrewshire over the next decade.

“We are making sure Paisley is equipped to host the UK City of Culture title while also supporting the wider vision to use our unique and internationally-significant heritage and cultural story to transform the area’s future.

“Paisley town centre needs a boost – and the way we can deliver that is by using what sets us apart to bring people back into the town.

“Paisley has massive potential as a visitor destination and is already making a name for itself as an event venue. Improving the physical and travel infrastructure of the town centre makes it easier for people to get here, and a more attractive place to spend time.

“The work already under way on the new museum store and library – with plans to transform the museum also in the pipeline – are the first steps towards turning our high street into a culture street, bringing new life and footfall which will allow traders to thrive.

“At the same time, the scale of the investment in the town hall and arts centre will make these two outstanding listed buildings fit for the 21st century as venues capable of hosting the type of international-class programming which the UK City of Culture year will bring.

“And to have a local group preparing to unveil their own set of plans for an arts venue in the town centre just shows the extent to which the wider community and private sector see the potential of what culture can do for Paisley.

“There is nothing which could transform Paisley more than winning the UK City of Culture 2021 title – the journey we want to go on will move to a totally different level, with a year of major events and world-class programming which everybody will be invited to enjoy and benefit from.

“We need this title and Paisley Buddies have shown they want it to happen – this investment will mean we will be ready and able to host it, and I commend councillors for the long-term vision they have shown today.”

It is estimated Paisley’s 2021 year could bring a £175m economic boost and create and sustain more than 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period, while attracting more than 800,000 visitors in 2021.

Current UK City of Culture hosts Hull have seen £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013, with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of its year in the spotlight.

For more information on Paisley’s bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk