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Celebrating creativity and colour – On The Rocks

Scotland’s largest student-run arts festival, On The Rocks, returns this week (5 to 14 April) with over 50 events at the University of St Andrews.

On The Rocks is a creative platform for students to showcase their talents as artists, photographers, dancers, musicians, actors and comedians.

This year, On The Rocks is exploring creative collaboration in all its glory, and the variety of colour that art can bring to life. The festival is proud to be presenting events in exciting new venues, such as The Bell Pettigrew Sessions, an evening of music amongst the creatures of the University’s zoology museum. The Bell Pettigrew Museum: A Performance Tour provides an immersive and interactive tour of the museum, which combines the sciences and artistic performance in a brand-new way.

On The Rocks is also excited to be hosting a group of Italian high school art students who have fallen in love with Shakespeare and are travelling to St Andrews to put on a production of Twelfth Night in The StAge.

To have performers coming from so far away to take part in On The Rocks is testament to how much the festival has grown since its launch in 2009. The festival is proud to be fostering links between so many different groups of performers and venues, to celebrate the wonderful diversity of opportunities that creative collaboration can bring.

The festival has the patronage of St Andrews honorary graduates Sir Sean Connery, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley, as well as graduates Crispin Bonham Carter and Siobhan Redmond, and British actor Simon Pegg.

The programme covers a wide range of genres including comedy, musicals, art exhibitions, and community-wide events including an evolving mural and a range of arts and crafts workshops held in conjunction with local primary schools.

Festival Director and St Andrews student Chloe Ashely said: On The Rocks works to make the artistic community accessible to everyone, no matter their age or interests. After a year of hard work and creative planning, now is the time to get involved!”

On The Rocks offers events to watch, to enjoy, and even to participate in, such as a ceilidh in the grounds of St Andrews Castle.

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Venues for the festival include the Byre Theatre, The Barron Theatre and the University of St Andrews Students’ Association, with performers taking to the more traditional stage as well as hitting the streets with ‘flash-mob’ performances. Locations also include popular public spaces, such as the St Andrews Public Library and St Andrews Botanic Garden, which both feature events committed to exploring art in the community.

One of the highlights of the festival this year is a production of An Education at 7.30pm in The StAge on 7 and 8 April. An adaption of the Academy Award nominated film of the same name, based on the book by journalist Lynn Barber, this production is the first time the story has ever been told on stage.

The festival committee are also particularly looking forward to A Crown of Laurels, the second musical written by St Andrews student duo Lavie Rabinovitz and Ryan Hay, following their five-star debut show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018. Taking place at The StAge on 11, 12 and 13 April, the pair describe the show as a “two-hand rock musical for strings about sexual abuse, hookup culture, and self-care”.

Tickets for all events are available from the Byre Box Office, Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm, by telephone on 01334 475000, or 30 minutes before each event (if still available) on the door.

The full On The Rocks programme is available online.


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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