Culture 2014 and Festival 2014

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The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games advert
A taste of what's to come

Look ahead to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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    Culture 2014

The Commonwealth Games aren't just about sport. The year-long Culture 2014 is Scotland's biggest ever cultural celebration with Festival 2014, two weeks of events held in Glasgow during the Games, helping to showcase the creativity of the Host City, Scotland and The Commonwealth. Here are some of the highlights so far.


Why not join in the Glasgow UNESCO City of Music’s Big Big Sing, set to be one of the signature musical events of the celebrations? People across Scotland and the UK will be encouraged to warm up their vocal chords in the lead up to the Games. In Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, there will be mass singing events throughout February until 8 March which you can participate in or just watch. Be stirred by the sound of thousands voices in unison in what will be a moving performance and visual spectacle.

During 2 and 3 August 2014, join in with a special weekend of events which will include performances of 20 brand new commissions from some of the UK’s most exciting composers, including six Scottish-based composers, supported by New Music Biennial 2014.

In the Classical Marathon Day, Nicola Benedetti will be leading the cream of Scotland’s orchestras, classical musicians and ensembles in one amazing day of music in Glasgow this July. Beginning at mid-day, the event climaxes with the amazing sound of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra joining forces to create a mega-orchestra. During the day, Nicola Benedetti herself will perform three concerts with different orchestras. There will also be performances by The Dunedin Consort, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Hebrides Ensemble and NYOS Futures, Red Note Ensemble, and Scottish Ensemble.

Theatre and performance

Before, during and after the Commonwealth Games, there are to be many dazzling performances, from the works of community-based groups to projects which will take place on multiple international stages.

Look out for one of the larger-scale projects, Perch, an ambitious global performance which will be set on many stages positioned high above the streets in three countries: Scotland, Australia and Brazil. This international collaboration will combine aerial theatre, street theatre, communities, choirs, orchestras and media broadcast in what is set to be an unforgettable event.

For a theatre show like no other, join in with the outdoor production The Spokesmen, where both the cast and audience physically travel through the hilarious and heart-warming story on bikes. Performed in parks across Scotland, this show is a great way to explore green spaces from a different perspective and experience live theatre on the move.

Discover the life and music of one of Scotland’s most innovative and influential musicians Martyn Bennett through GRIT, a multiform, site-specific theatre production. Named after Bennett’s final studio album, playwrights, international and Scottish dance companies, circus performers and theatre artists will together produce a cross-form, total theatre experience. This ambitious piece is set to take place in the Glasgow’s Tramway One and in Mull Theatre during the Midsummer weekend.

A celebration of colour and dance, the Glasgow Mela returns this year for its 24th year on 7 and 8 June. This year, a host of performers from Commonwealth countries, including India, Pakistan, Cyprus and Sri Lanka will join in as the Kelvingrove Park’s historic bandstand will host the Mela for the first time.

All the way from Australia, the legendary veteran actor, Aboriginal elder and activist Uncle Jack Charles will be at Tramway in Glasgow for a showcase of Australian contemporary performance also featuring Lucy Guerin, Stephanie Lake and Back-To-Back Theatre.

Visual art and exhibitions

Discover the landmark exhibition, GENERATION, set to celebrate the very best art to have emerged from Scotland in the last 25 years. Both new and existing works by over 100 artists will be shown at more than 60 venues across the country between March and November 2014. This unique programme will be one of the most ambitious celebrations of contemporary art to ever be held by a single country.

Beginning in June, take part in Corroborree, a six-week arts festival which will use five of Scotland’s botanic gardens as a stage to celebrate the people, the indigenous culture and the ecological diversity of the Commonwealth countries. Artists from both the wider Commonwealth and Scotland will work in different art forms during special residencies in the gardens. During this green festival, there will be public events that feature unplugged music, local and healthy food, demonstrations and workshops.


During Festival 2014, watch a new film by renowned international artist Phil Collins which will offer a surprising and original vision of Glasgow through the eyes of an artist who has been both a resident and a visitor. Due to be screened outdoors on the site of the former bandstand in Queen’s Park on the Southside of Glasgow, the film will be accompanied by a specially commissioned live musical score. Fusing fantasy and reality, Collins’ visual will draw on a range of stories, characters and images collected by him from Glasgow.

Experience the documentary film and live music performance, Oursels As Ithers See Us, set to be a moving musical and visual poem from Scotland to the world. Taking its title from one of the works of Robert Burns, the film will be made up of archive material from the Scottish Screen Archive and will feature people and places along the Queen’s Baton Relay route. Due to be shown from June 2014, the soundtrack will be performed live by both local and world famous musicians.

In Ebb Flow, local film makers will create new work inspired by the stories, journeys, imagery and artefacts of Shetlanders who voyaged overseas on ships made on the Clyde.

Literature and storytelling

Scottish multi-award winning comedienne and writer Janey Godley will visit all the corners of Scotland on Journeys to Glasgow, a tour celebrating the nations’ comedy storytelling abilities. As well as performing her own show, Godley will gather stories and images as she goes which will be showcased during Festival 2014 on a comedy tour staged on a vintage Beford Classic bus. Her storytelling tour will also feature spots from Scottish and Commonwealth artists.

Part of both Culture 2014 and Festivals 2014, stories from Glasgow's east end will be celebrated with puppetry, music and storytelling all performed in an ice cream van for The Pokey Hat. The stories will be gathered during community gala days and workshops in Glasgow before the tour, which begins in June. Audiences will be treated to an ice cream at each performance!

Discover the unique series of literary events set to be held across Scotland in parallel with the Queen's Baton Relay. Presented by Scottish PEN, these events will explore how Scottish writers and communities have welcomed literary visitors and writers in need of help, a shared a sense of Scottishness through words and writing and how, in turn, Scottish cultural identity has been influenced by this history. Featuring international writers PEN’s project will reinforce and re-establish the literary connections Scotland has created with the wider world.

Commonwealth themed strands run throughout the famous Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival, including the Future News Conference for young journalists and sessions on sport, international authors and more. Schools will also join in Commonwealth literary fun and learning at this year’s Wee Write!

Further information

Events are being added to the cultural programme week by week. You can browse our listings for Culture 2014 and Festival 2014 events. Or for the most up-to-date programme information, you can check out the @culture2014 Twitter feed or visit the Glasgow 2014 culture section, where you can also to sign up to receive regular updates. Join in the conversation on social media using #culture2014.