Full programme announced for Arbroath 2020+1 Festival

Published: 21 Jun 2021

Arbroath 2020+1 Festival launch

Arbroath 2020+ 1 Festival Launch photo by Neil Hanna

With just two weeks to go until the Arbroath 2020+1 festival begins the full programme has been released online. Over 20 events are set to take place in and around Arbroath mixing participatory events for all ages, exhibitions, self guided tours and trails and a series of live performances. From a live music concert in a Fishmarket to a medieval themed canine fashion show, Arbroath 2020+1 is set to celebrate creativity in all its forms in Arbroath and the wider region.

New commissions in performance and music by internationally renowned Scottish artists will feature alongside a series of collaborative community projects including;

Over Lunan

Over Lunan is an extraordinary sound and visual promenade performance in the dunes of Lunan Bay in Angus, Scotland. Running from 9 - 19 September and created by Angus Farquhar of Aproxima Arts with script by Purni Morell, this major live commission blends a monumental sound and light installation with elements of theatre as audience members are immersed in an environmental art piece that draws on the fragility of the natural world and ancient mythologies.

Lunan Bay

Over Lunan, Lunan Bay

Whale Song

Taking place on Sunday 8th August at Arbroath Fish Market, Whale Song is a new collaborative performance of music for poetry inspired by whale song, devised by poet Lesley Harrison with viola-player Katherine Wren and clarinettist Alex South. Katherine and Alex have composed new pieces around the poetry from Lesley’s recent collection, ‘Disappearance’. This performance explores the theme of the voyage of the 19th-century whalers to the polar seas, and the cultural aftermath of the whaling industry.

Auchmithie Haar

The Heritage Arts Auchmithie Residents (H.A.A.R.) bring the fishing history and lore of Auchmithie’s past vividly back to life through a live history performance taking place at Arbroath Harbour fish sheds on Saturday 10th July.

Morris Pert Recital

A live recital and lecture on the works for clarinet by award winning Arbroath born composer Morris Pert rehearsed & performed by Angus based musician Mark Spalding on piano with leading Scottish clarinettist & BBCSSO principal Joanna Nicholson. The performance will take place in September (date TBC) at St Vigean’s Church, where the Pictish stones, especially the Drosten Stone, are a direct inspiration of the music.

As a community-led festival, participation has been a key element of the programme and sees numerous projects re-imagined to encourage local participation.

As part of distance learning and activities designed to explore the legacy of the Declaration of Arbroath and engage in cultural activities. The New Declarations project devised and led by writer Rebecca Sharp has invited secondary school students in Angus to join in an online writing activity where each contributor shares three new declarations, intentions or statements that will generate a collective text. The New Declarations will then be presented at the festival.

In addition to the workshops that helped inspire the designs for the 2020+1 Festival Flags project, hundreds of art packs have been delivered across Arbroath so residents can create their own flags to display in their windows throughout the festival. Wool warriors have also been asked to employ their needles to contribute to Arbroath’s very own giant knitted unicorn Abrinca to be part of the Arbroath Art Trail co-ordinated by lead artist Jilly Henderson and community group, the Woolly Workers.

Led by local artists Tina Aburrow, Karen Elliot and Jilly Henderson, Sea Washed Light invites residents in the Fit O’ The Toon to get involved in shining a bright light on Arbroath and its Bell Rock Lighthouse. Residents have received packs of materials to help them make shining displays at the front of their homes, creating a collaborative iridescent display that will catch the light and shine its way across the sea to the lighthouse.

Ruffs Dogs in the Park

Ruffs is a socially distanced medieval-themed fashion photoshoot inspired by historic pageantry and all the wonderful dogs of the town. Dog-lovers in the region are creating home-crafted regal coats for their pooches to model in a fashion photoshoot staged in the park.

Arbroath becomes the stage as a series of trails and explorations in the town bring art, history and creativity to life.

Pageant for Gallivants

Running from  the 2 - 8 July, and led by festival artist Mandy McIntosh, Pageant for Gallivants is a series of micro events, installations and performances, have been programmed to adapt to the restrictions whilst putting culture in the heart of the community. Pageant for Gallivants is a dispersed, atomised public artwork weaving playful and engaging visual narratives directly into the shop windows and fabric of the town. The audience will become the player processing from point-to-point safely under their own steam, exploring outdoor installations, pop-up micro-events and geo-located audio.

2020+1 Festival Flags

Dundee Print Collective have been commissioned to design a series of festival flags to mark the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath which will be installed and displayed on Arbroath High St transforming the town into a riot of colour. The designs were inspired by working with the local community and schools in the area. The resultant striking and contemporary artworks represent the culture, geography and history of Arbroath, referencing Medieval design, primary colours and graphic shapes whilst incorporating contemporary imagery. Festival Flags will take over Arbroath High St from 2 - 31 July.

Blueprints for Arbroath

Blueprints for Arbroath is a multi location display of cyanotype textile art works by Jeni Reid that will be sited around Arbroath town in public spaces for July. Jeni Reid is a Friockheim based visual artist who works in the mediums of digital photography, cyanotype and textiles. She is the descendant of relatives who worked in the production of linen in Angus and has been researching the links between linen and slavery. It was in Arbroath around 1738 that the very first Scottish Osnaburg was made, this is the coarse linen cloth that was exported to the West Indies to clothe enslaved people. Jeni represents the many stories and layers of history that connect these places in her work, using images of current day Arbroath and 19th Century prints of the Caribbean reproduced images with the permission of The British Library to create digital negatives. Jeni’s Blueprints For Arbroath will be hung in public places in the town with the hope that they will open up conversations about our local industrial history and the histories we share with the people of the Caribbean.

Blueprints for Arbroath, Jeni Reid

Blueprints for Arbroath, cyanotype textile art works by Jeni Reid

Arbroath Women’s Heritage Trail

From Fishwives to Factory Girls is an audio trail and guided walk devised by Blythe Stockdale. The trail draws attention to the inspiring nature of women’s contributions to Arbroath and wider society through stories from voices often overlooked. At a time when many of us are looking to safely connect with our community, each trail aims to provide a route for us to engage with our local heritage by celebrating Arbroath’s history and exploring the townscape through an audio-guided walk.

Exhibitions taking place as part of the festival include:

Throughout the festival a series of exhibitions and events will also take place at Hospitalfield, the historic arts school and cultural centre currently undergoing an £11million revamp including a new sustainable garden by horticulturist and designer Nigel Dunnett and a restoration of the 17th Century fernery. Artist Mick Peter will unveil a new series of outdoor sculptures in the grounds of Hospitalfield, and sculptor Christina Mackie’s work Judges III will be exhibited in Scotland for the first time at Hospitalfield House.

Arbroath Murals Project

Lead artist Tina Aburrow alongside Councillor Lois Speed, fashioned a plan for Murals across the town starting in the Subway. A collection of works depicting Arbroath’s past, present and future. Bringing on board 5 Arbroath based artists to share this excellent opportunity and see the town through their eyes. 3 of the designs have been created by members of the public through a reach out appeal. A group of 6 Arbroath based artists are creating a range of Stamps depicting the town, past, present and future. There will be 36 stamps in total, highlighting the famous Arbroath victory against Bon Accord of 36-0! Stamps have been chosen as the framing for the works as the creator of stamps James Chalmers was from Arbroath.

The above events are the core of a festival programme with full details, updates and listings at: www.arbroathfestival.com

Listings Information

Arbroath Festival 2020+1
2 July to 12 September 2021
Arbroath Scotland

Full details of the festival programme as well as updates and info on new events will be available at www.arbroathfestival.com

Arbroath 2020’s principal funders are Angus Council, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Event Scotland and Scottish Government. Support is also being provided by the Arbroath 2020+1 Organising group: VisitScotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Hospitalfield and Angus Council.


Arbroath 2020+1 is supported through Angus Place Partnership, a partnership between Creative Scotland, Angus Council, Angus Alive. The aim of the Place Partnership is to strengthen creative development across the region well in to the future. For further information please visit: Hospitalfield Angus Place Partnership announced | Creative Scotland

Arbroath 2020+1 marks 701 years of the Declaration of Arbroath an inspirational moment for Scottish history and the story of this town.

Arbroath 2020+1 is the exciting new reshaped festival programme and reflects Arborath moving forward embracing culture to connect communities and shine a bright light on the town. Co-created and inspired by residents, local partners, and grassroots organisations, the 2021 programme includes major artistic events, premieres and commissions across heritage, music, literature, and visual arts. A programme connecting people locally and nationally with heritage, arts, learning, and community at its core.

Arbroath 2020 is a registered charity (registration number SC047857). The Arbroath 2020 committee, which is supported by the Angus Place Partnership Creative Producer, Pippa Martin, aims to advance heritage and culture through an ambitious programme of cultural and creative activity.

Angus Place Partnership began in January 2019 and will run for three years. Funded through Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership Programme, Angus Place Partnership aims to strengthen existing partnerships and support new partnerships to ensure excellent culture is an important part of the identity of Angus.

Arbroath 2020’s principal funders are Angus Council, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Event Scotland and Scottish Government.

With support also being provided by the Arbroath2020 Organising group: VisitScotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Hospitalfield and Angus Council.

The Declaration of Arbroath is a world-famous document, listed by UNESCO on the Memory of the World register, which recognises documentary heritage of world significance and outstanding universal value.

It was a letter sent on 6 April 1320 to Pope John XXII under the names and seals of more than 40 Scottish noblemen and knights. It called for recognition of Robert the Bruce as rightful King of Scots, and freedom from English claims of sovereignty over Scotland.  

Written in medieval Latin, it is an eloquent plea for national freedom that casts a vivid light on the political and religious life of medieval Scotland.

Arbroath Abbey was one of the largest and most powerful abbeys of medieval Scotland. Founded by King William I in 1178, it later had close links with King Robert the Bruce and flourished until the Protestant Reformation of 1560. Its red sandstone remains still bear witness to its scale and majesty. Arbroath Abbey is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland, which maintains and manages it on behalf of Scottish ministers, and presents it to the public as a major visitor attraction.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Hospitalfield in Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland runs a highly regarded programme of residencies, commissions and events that focus on contemporary art and ideas alongside a programme that links to the 19th century historic collections and archives. The vision of the 19th century Scottish artist Patrick Allan Fraser, Hospitalfield is one of Scotland’s most important Art and Crafts houses. In 1902 the house was left in Trust and was established as an art college and then post graduate art school. The story of Hospitalfield is tightly bound to the story of Scottish art history through the art college and the fellowships and residencies that took place throughout the 20th century which included artists such as James Cowie, Joan Eardley and many other familiar names within Scottish modernism. Today Hospitalfield’s cultural programme, designed for a wide range of audiences and working between the heritage narratives of the site and contemporary cultural programming, is anchored in the visual arts yet encourages interdisciplinarity. We maintain strong national and international working partnerships with the aim of making Hospitalfield a meeting place and cultural catalyst in the working lives of artists and creative professionals in Scotland and far beyond.

Media Contact

For further press info, interview and image requests please contact Owen O’Leary on 07815992658 owen@olearyjeffs.com or Nicola Jeffs on nicola@olearyjeffs.com 07794 694 754