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Idol and Idle: Elvis gets tribal

Spilling into the communities and heart of Glasgow is a theatre festival with its feet firmly on the street, writes Kathleen Morgan.

aking to the streets is something

Glaswegians are not traditionally

shy of. From the armies of curfew-

dodging nightclubbers on a Saturday

night to the legacy of Red Clydeside

trades union marches to the yearly

outing ofthe sectarian brigade. this is a city that likes to step out.

Glasgow’s streets are about to witness

something a little different. The team behind

the city’s 1994—95 George Square Hogmanay

bash and 1990's The Big Day. is unleashing the creative energies of 380 performers in and

around Glasgow‘s city centre. From Drumchapel to Dennistoun via Buchanan

Street. actors. artists and musicians are to unite for what is billed as a theatrical spectacle.

The Streets ofGlasgow means exactly what it says it is a festival designed to bring theatre to street level. not only for your average punter to watch. but involving community groups throughout the city and in East Kilbride. Flying

musicians. stunts. illusion. pyrotechnics. juggling and theatre are some of the ingredients for an outdoor event aiming to attract an audience of 153.000.

lts climax is The Coming: the meeting of nine tribes from different corners of the Glasgow area. each with its own distinctive identity and made up of professional and amateur performers. If that provokes thoughts of lbrox or Parkhead on a Saturday afternoon. think again. This is an entirely peace-loving exercise.

Among the nine tribes. will be the Elvis Acolyte tribe. who will sit on a float headed by the king himself. surrounded by dancing majorettes. Its members believe something along the lines that big E is alive and kicking his heels in Dennistoun. Other tribes include the Bubbly tribe. the Harland O’Wolffs and the lrascible Tattoo-Faced Food Bearing Nomads. Each has been developed over the last five months. the result of collaborations between professional performers and Glasgow community and arts groups.

Behind the whole crazy venture is the director of U2 Limited. Neil Butler. He has been involved in the past with similar projects in Brighton and London‘s Docklands and saw Glasgow‘s potential as a city bursting with artistic talent and energy. ‘The whole idea ofthis festival is to provide a platform for mostly Scottish artists. but also British artists with innovative ideas.’ he says. ‘There are so many good performers. good artists and sculptors working out of Glasgow. that it seemed a good idea to put a festival on that can showcase them.’ If the festival is successful. UZ has plans to take it to other parts of Scotland and possibly the Ukraine.

Butler has brought some performers involved in the Brighton and London events to take part in Glasgow’s festival. providing advice and inspiration. but the work of community groups like the Govan Unemployed Workers’ Women’s Group provides the backbone of the event. Butler says this version of the event is the most ambitious yet and could only happen in Glasgow: ‘lt’s made for the location and the interests and involvement of its people.‘

The main thrust of The Streets of Glasgow is to keep the entertainment accessible in every sense of the word. including financially the festival’s events are all free.


The Streets of Glasgow is on Saturday I 9.

and musical instruments with a

performance by international multimedia company Oak Bark’s Productions.

I The Slim Argyle Street. 3pm. A new British act featuring musicians on stilts.

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 August. For information about the event, call the city’s Tourist Information oflice on 0141 204 4400.

Saturday 19

I The Coming Nine tribes emerge from their communities in Glasgow city centre, Drumchapel. the southsidc. the west end. Govan and in East Kilbride.

Friday 25

I to: Ottawa: Lttx Sauchiehall Street. Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. Noon-l2.30pm. Neighbourhood Watch

Stilts lntemational put the high into street;

a gaggle of large shopaholic birds and their riders invade Glasgow's busiest shopping areas.

I AVllii Display Sauchiehall Street. Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. Noon~2.30pm. A quirky performance from Avanti. taking mechanical dreams and making them real.

I (fulfilment: at Leaning: Sauchiehall Street. Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. Noon-2.30pm. Stunts. danger and illusion from a group of travelling performers.

I Wonderbay: Sauchichall Street. Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. Noon~2.30pm. Honed in London‘s Covent Garden but now travelling the world, the Wonderboys bring their juggling act to Glasgow‘s city centre.

I max l2.30—l.30pm. Sauchiehall Street, Cambridge Street. An atmospheric performance from French company Pesce Crudo. involving a large box equipped with a smoke machine. bells, trap doors


I The Miners Buchanan Street. i~2ptn. Commissioned by The Streets of Glasgow. a serene, dramatic and acrobatic performance involving musicians flying across Buchanan Street. British premiere by Steve Edgar.

I Chromatin St Enoch Square. 2—2.30pm. An abstract performance based around an atmospheric classical music piece by Albinoni. cut and sampled with zubetube and didgeridoo. Commissioned for The Streets of Glasgow and performed by Neighbourhood Watch.

I El: Dltnonia Promenade from St Enoch Square. via Buchanan Street, to Royal Exchange Square. 2.30—3pm. Traditional Catalonian devil theatre is interpreted through music. dance and sculpture in a

I W Sauchiehall Street. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Cambridge Street 3.30—4pm. Pymtechnics. sculpture and choreographed stilt movement in a colourful spectacular.

Saturday 26

I The Coming Buchanan Street. Sauchiehall Street and Arger Street. Noon. Nine tribes from different areas in Glasgow and East Kilbride converge on the city centre.

I Til Coming Finale High Street Car Park. High Street. 8.30pm. “the Streets of Glasgow tribes meet. seeking common ground in a performance emphasising links and overcoming divisions between different p60ples.

The List 18-24 Aug 1995

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