AWARD NOMINATED PLAY Descent by Linda Duncan McLaughlin TOURING SCOTLAND in Spring 2017
A play about love. And dementia. But mostly about love.
PAISLEY ARTS CENTRE – THURSDAY 18 MAY
3pm relaxed performance*, 7.30pm evening performance
The CATS Award-nominated (Best New Play) Descent by Scottish playwright Linda Duncan McLaughlin, which originally played as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Oran Mor and the Traverse in 2015 to huge critical acclaim, is touring across Scotland. The tour is supported by Creative Scotland Lottery funding.
The tour is visiting venues all over Scotland, from the far north of Thurso to the deep south of New Galloway, it opened at Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on Saturday 29th April and will finish in Mull Theatre on Saturday 20th May.
Descent explores the story of 50-somethings Rob and Cathy who are looking forward to reclaiming their own lives now that their daughter Nicola is grown up and settled; but looming over all three of them is a threat that could rip their future apart.
It examines what happens as they try to hold onto each other – and themselves – in the face of early onset dementia. It doesn’t flinch from the heartbreak they face, but it also
celebrates the courage, the hope, the love and the humanity they bring to the fight.
Descent is directed by Allie Butler and is performed by Fiona MacNeil, Greg Powrie and Wendy Seager.
Helen Trew, Equalities and Diversity Officer at Creative Scotland said: “We’re pleased to support this multi-generational project which highlights the challenges faced by those suffering from early-onset dementia and those around them. We wish the company well for the tour which will enable audiences across Scotland the opportunity to engage with this poignant and enlightening work.”
*A ‘relaxed’ performance is designed to provide a less formal, more supportive environment for people who might be anxious about attending the theatre.
The show is the same, but sound and lighting levels are adjusted, and people can move about the auditorium during the performance or go to a separate quiet space if they need to.
AS a teenage musician Fraser John Lindsay used to play guitar and drums for the congregation during church services on a Sunday morning.
Then at night he would belt out pop punk songs inside the same Elderslie Kirk as he rehearsed with his band, Limon.
That was almost 20 years ago and now Fraser is preparing to perform a gig – this time in the former church that is Paisley Arts Centre – with his blues band, Fraser John Lindsay’s Blues Incentive, on Friday, March 31.
A full-time musician and producer with his own record label, Fraz Records, the former Castlehead High pupil looks back on the start of his musical career.
He says: “I suppose there was quite a contrast in musical styles. I would be playing hymns and religious songs during the church services and later I’d be in the same place rehearsing with my pop punk band playing songs by bands like Green Day and Blink-182.
“I’m pretty sure there would have been a few people who wouldn’t have been very happy if they’d known about this.
“But I don’t think anyone ever officially complained, or demanded that we should be kicked out – maybe because our drummer in Limon, Jamie McLachlan, was the minister’s son!”
The 32-year-old added: “ Some may think there would have been the odd lyric or two in the songs we played that could have been construed as ever so slightly blasphemous, or unsuitable for a church.
“But as a lead guitarist I never bother listening to lyrics.”
Fraser’s musical education also came from playing in Paisley pubs with a variety of bands like Riff Raff, Little Miss Debbie & the Scumbag Boogie Band and Blind Panik.
Fraser followed well-known local singer, Willie ‘Jukebox’ Matthews around the pubs, so he could plug in his guitar and jam along with whatever Willie decided to play, learning tunes on the spot.
Fraser said: “I learned my trade as a musician on the job in the pubs in and around Paisley and Glasgow backing singers like Willie Matthews.”
And it was Willie who introduced Fraser to the Glasgow blues scene.
“Willie used to drive me up to the State bar blues jam in Glasgow every Tuesday night, that was around 15 years ago, and this is where I met most of my current band mates,” said Fraser.
Fans of the blues can hear Fraser’s virtuoso guitar playing with his band Blues Incentive at the Paisley Arts Centre gig , on Friday, at 7.30pm. Tickets at £10 and £8 can are available to book online at www.renfrewshireleisure.com/
Over 50 years after his first appearance at Paisley Town Hall Scottish folk icon Ronnie Browne will return to the town later this month to regale audiences with stories from his life.
During a series of one-off non-musical performances Ronnie, a founder member of Scottish folk duo The Corries, will take an audience at Paisley Arts Centre on an illustrated journey from the cobbled streets of Edinburgh to the Great Temple of Ramesses II in Southern Egypt.
Described by organisers of the Pitlochry Winter Words Festival as ‘a wonderful joyous event,’ Meeting Ronnie demonstrates that there is much more to the man than just being a singer of songs.
Now hailed as ‘a Scottish icon’, Ronnie, who is approaching his four score years and 10, is best known as a folk singer and is also an accomplished portraitist. In these roles, he has travelled the world and is a popular and unmistakeable figure.
Meeting Ronnie contains many humorous anecdotes, many taken from his autobiography, Ronnie Browne that guy fae the Corries, and tells of his associations with showbiz luminaries such as Chic Murray, Ricki Fulton, Morecambe & Wise and Lonnie Donegan.
After an audience question and answer session, Ronnie’s book will be on sale, followed by a signing session, giving his audience the opporchancity, in the words of the aforementioned Mr. Fulton, to chat with the man himself.
Meeting Ronnie takes place at The Arts Centre (0141 618 5128) on Wednesday, March 29
A SERIES of events has been organised by Renfrewshire Leisure to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Tonight, Tuesday, March 7, at 7.30pm Paisley Arts Centre hosts a groundbreaking production of If I Had A Girl, which gives an insight into honour-based violence in ethnic minority communities in Scotland. A post-show discussion about the issues raised in the play will take place after the performance.
On International Women’s Day, Wednesday, March 8 there will be a free lecture called, Mighty Women of Science, in Paisley Museum, at 1.30pm. This will take an enlightening look at some well-known and not so well-known women who have changed and continue to change the science world.
And the same evening, at 6.45pm, in Paisley Arts Centre, three musicians – Linzi Clark, Heir of the Cursed and Marie Collins will perform.
On Tuesday, March 14, at 7.30pm Paisley Arts Centre stages the play Expensive Sh**. This tells the story of a Nigerian nightclub toilet attendant, working in a fictional club based on the Shimmy Club in Glasgow, who had dreams of becoming a dancer with the revolutionary band of the late Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti.
ONE of Paisley’s famous sons who became known as the Father of American Ornithology has been honoured by his home town.
A commemorative plaque paying tribute to the life of Alexander Wilson – poet, artist, scientist, explorer and social commentator – was unveiled at Paisley Arts Centre.
And ironically, the Arts centre wall where the plaque is mounted is part of the former Laigh Kirk Church, where Wilson was baptised in 1766 by Rev John Witherspoon, signatory of the American Declaration of Independence.
Wilson rose to fame after he emigrated to America in 1794 and travelled 10,000 miles on foot across that country with the pioneering ambition of observing birds in their natural habitats, scrutinising behaviour, posture and habits and classifying the different species.
This culminated in the publication of nine volumes of the book American Ornithology featuring Wilson’s drawings, paintings and descriptions of more than 260 species of birds – with 25 species previously unknown – in North America.
By the time Wilson died of dysentery in 1813, seven volumes of American Ornithology had been published with the final two volumes produced posthumously.
Five species of bird have been named after Wilson – Wilson’s Storm-petrel; Wilson’s Plover; Wilson’s Snipe, Wilson’s Phalarope and Wilson’s Warbler.
This amazing feat of Wilson’s, which took six years to complete and earned him credit for establishing ornithology as a science in America, was a far cry from his early years in Paisley.
He left school at the age of ten after his mother died and started work, first as a cow herder and then as an apprentice weaver.
Wilson became a poet and was a contemporary of Robert Burns and like many weavers became well read and a radical on social issues.
But he fell foul of the law over a satirical account of a local mill owner and was imprisoned as he faced charges of libel and blackmail. But after a second run-in with the law over the distribution of radical propaganda, Wilson decided to emigrate.
The Historic Environment Scotland commemorative plaque was unveiled by David Clugston, Honorary Librarian for the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club.
Morag Macpherson, Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Cultural Services said: “The countryside around Paisley became Alexander Wilson’s playground in his early years and that exposure to the world of nature would have a profound effect on his later life.
“Soon after he arrived in America, Wilson developed a passion for the study of birds and his truly scientific approach to ornithology made him a pioneer.
“This Commemorative Plaque Scheme celebrates the lives of people who have made a significant difference to Scotland and its people.
“Paisley’s own Alexander Wilson certainly merits this honour.”
THEY just can’t stop the music at Paisley Arts Centre. As part of Paisley Arts Centre’s 30th anniversary celebrations, free jazz music gigs are being staged in the café bar after three shows in the main auditorium.
Jazz singer, Evelyn Laurie will perform along with guitarist, Frank Bolam from 9.30pm until 11pm after concerts by Breabach, on Saturday, March 4; Fraser John Lindsay’s Blues Incentive, on Friday, March 31 and Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra, on Friday, April 21.
A series of events is being planned to mark the Arts Centre’s 30th anniversary. As part of marking the occasion, Renfrewshire Leisure – which runs the venue – are asking people to send them their memories and experiences of the Arts Centre over the years.
People should email PAC30@renfrewshire.gov.uk with stories they’d like to share.
Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “Paisley Arts Centre does exactly what is says on the tin – it’s the centre of much of the arts and culture that’s been going on in Paisley for the past 30 years.
“It’s only right that in the year Paisley is bidding to be City of Culture 2021 we should celebrate a venue that’s played an important part in the culture of our town.
“Having a jazz singer perform following some of the music events in the main auditorium gives people added value and extends their enjoyment from their visit to Paisley Arts Centre.”
To book tickets for Breabach, Fraser John Lindsay’s Blues Incentive and Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra performances, at Paisley Arts Centre, log on to or www.renfrewshireleisure.com/
HALLOWEEN horror fans are being given the chance to take a selfie as they lie in a coffin at an ancient graveyard.
That’s the spooky experience on offer at Paisley Arts Centre as part of a Halloween Graveyard Tour, on Friday, October 28, as dusk falls at 5.30pm.
The arts centre is in the converted Laigh Kirk – which was the second oldest church in Paisley when it opened in 1738 and had almost 70 graves in the church grounds.
Paisley Arts Centre, in the town’s Witherspoon Street, opened in 1987 and visitors are intrigued by the unusual mort graves that look like table-tops they see close to the entrance.
The centre is now a popular venue with a diverse range of drama, dance, comedy, jazz, popular music and family events throughout the year.
In the run-up to Halloween, the grounds are being transformed into a pumpkin patch for the free graveside tour with pumpkin soup and Halloween cupcakes on sale in the arts centre café.
And of course, the fang-tastic opportunity to pretend you are Dracula and rise out of the coffin, which will be placed among the gravestones.
The arts centre is run by Renfrewshire Leisure and its chief executive, Joyce McKellar said:
“We’re having a really spook-tacular event at Paisley Arts Centre in the run-up to Halloween this year and the Graveyard Tour will not only be educational, but fun as well.
“The grounds of the former Laigh Kirk can feel eerie, especially as darkness begins to fall – and that’s when we’ll be having the graveyard tour.
“It might even get a wee bit scary if visitors stumble on people lying in a coffin taking selfies!”
Contact Paisley Arts Centre on 0300 300 1210 for more information about the Halloween Graveyard Tour.
Peter Greenwood from Paisley.org.uk interviews Invisible Army at Paisley Arts Centre.
Company Chordelia is delighted to announce the dates of its premiere performances and tour of the company’s new dance theatre show Lady MacBeth: unsex me here.
This exciting and unique piece of dance theatre is created and directed by award winning company Artistic Director Kally Lloyd-Jones and presented in co-production with Solar Bear.
Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Lady Macbeth: unsex me here explores one of Shakespeare’s most complex women. Ambition, power, guilt, remorse, loss, death. Paralleling Shakespeare’s time, a cast of three male dancers all play Lady Macbeth, exploring the relationship between masculinity and femininity.
Using Shakespeare’s language as the source, British Sign Language is used to create choreography, producing a piece of visceral dance & movement theatre which will reach D/deaf and hearing audiences alike, in different ways
The show will appear at Paisley Arts Centre on Saturday 5 November at 7.30 pm.
£10 / £6 + booking fee
0300 300 1210