New arts festival celebrating our creative lives as we age announces programme highlights

LUMINATE: Scotland’s creative ageing festival

A nationwide programme of over 200 events & activities celebrating our creative lives as we age.  1st-31st October, 2012

Festival Highlights Announced

Dance, Music, Visual Art, Drama, Literature, Film

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Full Programme Listings available: Mon 13 Aug

Today, Wednesday 25th July, 2012, Luminate: Scotland’s creative ageing festival announces of a nationwide programme of arts activities celebrating our creative lives as we age.

Throughout October, Scotland’s newest festival, Luminate will throw a spotlight on over 200 inspirational arts activities – many of them free – with, and for older people, as well as events for audiences and participants across the generations.

Luminate Director, Anne Gallacher explains: “There is already a wide variety of creative work with and for older people taking place across Scotland, and Luminate looks to celebrate and build on this.  The inaugural Luminate programme includes new collaborations, and international projects, and features a broad range of independently-run projects, including work led by arts, museum and heritage organisations, public libraries, residential care providers as well as community and neighbourhood groups.”

At a glance, a cross-section of festival highlights includes a six-strong 70+ Finnish ladies rock band at Howden Park Centre in Livingston; actor Edith MacArthur’s star turn in a reading of Sylvia’s Dow’s poignant radio drama It’s Only Words at Perth Theatre; an afternoon in Brechin when children, parents and grandparents are brought together to share stories and memories over tea and cake; a new piece for twelve male dancers by choreographer Andy Howitt in which he explores what the ageing body brings to dance; a pop up Craft Café in a local  Age Scotland shop and Libby McArthur’s take on turning 50 in the premiere of The F Word at Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock. 

The cross arts festival includes dance, drama and music performances; film screenings, literary events and exhibitions.  Many events are free or discounted, and opportunities are offered for people to become involved as participants as well as audience members.  Some organizations are complementing their programme with new ways  to enable people in later life to continue to engage with the arts as well as encouraging first timers.  The National Theatre of Scotland will trial a new initiative called Theatre Company during the run of The Guid Sisters, to support older people who are interested in going to the theatre more often.    Meanwhile, Dundee Rep continues its popular Make Friends afternoon events during the run of Whiskey Galore, and the Talbot Rice Gallery and the Palace of Holyroodhouse are offering special tours aimed at people who may be hard of hearing or have visual impairments.

Festival participants range from nine years old to 90, and feature professional and non-professional artists alike.  A snapshot of the variety of people involved includes 90 year-old former actor and speech therapist Mary MacAlpine who shares a lifelong passion for the power of speech by offering a vocal coaching class at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness; 73 year-old Sylvia Dow who three years ago graduated with distinction in a Playwriting Masters degree from Glasgow University and who this year 69 year-old Robert Docherty who has discovered a love of film-making and a previously untapped acting talent at Plantation Productions’ Govan based Portal Seniors Film Club;  63 year-old Warris Abdullah’s re-discovery of his youth’s passion for fashion design, visual art and dance at Impact Arts’ Craft Café  and 52 year-old Stevie Henry’s new found love for samba drumming at a local drop in Silver Sambistas group and who enthuses, ‘do not let this activity pass you by!’

Debates and discussions will explore current thinking on issues surrounding the role of creativity in our lives as we age.  Stirling’s macrobert arts centre will play host to the Dementia-friendly Arts symposium in the last week of October.  This day-long event will offer opportunities for artists and arts organisations to share examples of inspiring partnerships, to debate issues around support for dementia-related creative activity, and to discover ways in which artists can develop meaningful ways of engagement.  Organised in partnership between macrobert, Luminate and Artworks, the programme will feature speakers such as Professor June Andrews from the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling as well as presentations by the likes of distinguished artist and choreographer Janice Parker.

Creative activities with people being cared for in residential homes and in their local community forms another strand of the festival programme.  Tricky Hat Productions for example are working with CACE Older People Active Lives participants to develop the theatre piece including dance, music and digital art, Unusual Places to Dance.  

As we age, we can sometimes become more isolated and less intimate.  Sometimes we can get to feel less connected with the world around us,” explains Tricky Hat director, Fiona Miller.  “Dance” she says “suspends you from being you!  When you dance, when you float across a ballroom floor to the big band sound of Glen Miller or Tommy Dorsey, you can transcend the mundane, the humdrum.”

Bringing together a group of older people from all over Cumbernauld, the group will tell their individual stories through music, dance and digital art.  John Hamill, a retired ganger from Cumbernauld said: “This has been a brilliant experience for me.  Before taking part, something like this was the last thing on my mind – it has opened up a whole new world.”

Creative projects will also take place in care homes across Scotland, including a residency by London-based Spare Tyre in care homes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and performances by Live Music Now ensembles in care homes from Edinburgh to Shetland.

Luminate is funded by Creative Scotland and the Baring Foundation in partnership with Age Scotland

Full Luminate programme listings will be available at from Monday 13th August and the printed festival brochure will be distributed across Scotland from Wednesday 5th September. 

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Iain Munro, director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland, said: “Luminate is the first festival of its kind in Scotland that celebrates creativity as we age and shares that passion across the generations.  We're delighted to be partnering with the Baring Foundation and Age Scotland to increase the numbers of older people enjoying high quality arts activities, whether as artists, performers, participants or consumers, and to enjoy a long and creative life.  It’s an exciting new addition to the Year of Creative Scotland and further enhances Scotland's international reputation as a festival nation.”

David Cutler, director, The Baring Foundation, commented: “What an inspiring programme for the first year of the Luminate Festival! The Baring Foundation is proud to support a new chapter in the arts in Scotland.”

Age Scotland director of Charity and Community Services, Kay Hutcheson said: “Age Scotland has a positive, forward looking vision for our ageing population and is working hard to empower older people to demonstrate to themselves and others the continued value of their contribution to society.

“We believe that this value also encompasses the creative arts and that we should be doing our utmost to increase the number of older people enjoying high quality arts activities – whether as artists, performers, participants or consumers.  Luminate fits the bill in this regard.”

For further press information/interviews/images please contact:

Wendy Grannon T: +44 (0) 07916 137 632 E:



Luminate: Scotland’s creative ageing festival – over 200 events and activities across Scotland celebrating our creative lives as we age

When: 1st-31st October, 2012

Where: Locations across Scotland
Further information and updates:

Notes to Editors:

1. Luminate: Scotland’s creative ageing festival is an initiative by Creative Scotland and The Baring Foundation and is being developed and delivered in partnership with Age Scotland.  For updates and further information: 

2. Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries.  Our vision is that Scotland will be recognised as one of the world’s most creative nations – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured; a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-being of our population

The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and is a chance to showcase, celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:  The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.

3. The Baring Foundation is a London-based independent funder. Founded in 1969, it has given over £100million since then to support the voluntary sector to tackle discrimination and disadvantage. In 2010, the Foundation launched a five-year, £3million UK-wide fund for arts by older people, following on the publication of a survey of the field, Ageing Artfully. So far 44 arts organisations have been funded from the Isle of Lewis to Cornwall, along with a series of strategic interventions of which, Luminate, is the most significant.

4. Age Scotland has a positive, forward looking vision for our ageing society.  The charity works for a better later life for all of us – today and tomorrow, listening to older people in order to understand what they need to transform their lives for the better, challenging disadvantage and unfairness. 

Age Scotland values older people and believes they have the power to change their lives for the better. Community by community, life by life, the charity is working towards a Scotland where older people are valued and respected for who they are.

Contact: Wendy Grannon
Phone: 07916 137 632