‘Dream’ tickets for Edinburgh Festival go on sale

THE BOX OFFICE opens tomorrow for the 52nd Edinburgh International Festival, with a selection of ’dream’ tickets for early birds.

Director Brian McMaster stressed the health and vigour of the Festival at an ebullient launch. Unveiling an ambitious programme, he also spoke with pride of the organisation’s financial health.

While noting a decline in public funding, McMaster was pleased with an increase in sponsorship which allows the Festival to continue to offer low-priced tickets (£5 or £5.50) for major events.

The new brochure decorated with a fiesta of vividly re-coloured fruit is clearly designed to grab populist appeal, though there is no mistaking the seriousness of the high art advertised within.

Featured artists include Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen, With a twelve-piece retrospective and a world premiere; Festival perennial Peter Stein, who directs a new piece by Botho Strauss (writer of Time And The Room seen here in 1996); World- famous pianists Richard Goode, Andras Schiff and Alfred Brendel, and composer/conductor Pierre Boulez. Boulez first appeared at the Festival 50 years ago, when he conducted his own score for Hamlet.

Other highlights include PaCier Northwest Ballet in George Balanchine’s staging of Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth

Meanwhile Verdi and Schiller feature in an unusual double-act: four Schiller plays are presented by Glasgow’s

Citizens’ Theatre, and the four Verdi operas they inspired are presented by the Royal Opera and (in one case) Scottish Opera.

Audiences were both beWildered and enraptured by the surreal L'Esp/endida Vergonya Del Fet Mal Fet in 1996 Carles Santos, the Catalonian maverick who created it, is back this year With La Pantera Imperial, a piece about Bach.

'It is deeply serious,’ McMaster claimed. ’Though anyone who saw L’Esp/endida Vergonya won’t totally believe that and they'd be right.’ (Andrew Burnet)

I Postal and fax booking opens for Festival events on Fri 3 Apr The box office is at 27 Market Street, Edinburgh EH7 78W Fax number: 0737 473 2003, Telephone and counter booking opens on Sat 78 Apr Booking number: 0137 473 2000.

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Baching Mad: Santos' Pantera Imperial

Glasgow has reasonto smile again

GLASGOW finally has something to smile about with the news that the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) and Tramway are to receive lottery money totalling nearly £10 million.

After the city missed out as temporary accommodation for the Scottish Parliament and had its hopes of a National Gallery of Scottish Art and Design crushed, good news is at a premium in the city.

The CCA received the largest award ever made by the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) £75 million of Lottery arts funding which Will help fund the complete redevelopment and extension of its premises.

Meanwhile Tramway’s future seems to be assured. The venue, which has gained a reputation for innovative theatre, art and photography exhibitions, receives £2.3 million.

This will fund structural repairs and improvement in comfort and access to the building which has changed little since its origins as a tram depot.

Maud Marshall, chair of SAC’s capital Lottery committee said both awards would benefit Glaswegians, and those from further afield. '

She said: 'The CCA already has considerable status. The new burlding will allow a dramatic increase in the range of contemporary arts available, and provide artists with the very latest in facilities'

Of Tramway she added: ’Improvements to the building will create a resource able to attract quality productions from the UK and beyond.’ (Stephen Naysmith)

24 THE [131' 20 Mar—2 Apr 1998

Scots sought in big computer game hunt

WANNABE Scottish computer game designers are being given the chance to win £10,000 and get their first break in the software industry.

Launched by the Scottish Games Alliance (SGA) and backed by Scottish Enterprise, Games Developer UK 1998 gives anyone with a game idea the opportunity to demonstrate their potential.

With the computer games industry expected to be worth £15 billion by the millennium, winners could find that a time-wasting pastime leads to a lucrative new career.

It isn't an unrealistic dream, according to David Jones, chairman

of the Scottish Games Alliance (SGA) and creative director of DMA design one of five companies sponsoring the competition.

Jones invented the smash-hit Lemmings, which shifted three million units worldwide. He said: ’The people who enter will be like me ten years ago, before I realised I could make a career out of my hobby.’

Invitations have already gone out to 50,000 students, but anyone can enter the competition, which is being run entirely on the Internet.

The competition website at includes entry

forms, and details of categories including best artwork, animation, sound and game utility as well as best game.

Dundonian Brian Baglow designed this year’s controversial hit Grand Theft Auto. He believes it is no longer possible to become a millionaire by producing an entire game from your bedroom.

He explained: 'Production standards are so much higher now that it is no longer possible for one person to do it on their own.

‘8ut the more fresh talent that can be brought through, the better,’ he added. (Stephen Naysmith)

Naturalists plea: ‘Say you’ll bea-ver’

EUROPEAN beavers could be reintroduced into Scotland after a 400— year absence if a Scottish National Heritage (SNH) project receives public backing.

The initiative arose from a European directive aimed at savrnc; a number of SpeCIes from complete extinction A similar scheme to re-establish wolves in Scotland flopped last year

Centuries ago beavers were hunted to extinction across Europe for their

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valuable for and sweet-smelling scent, castoreum, Which was used to make perfume and medicines.

Evrdence suggesting the rodents were once Widespread in Scotland came to light recently when incisors were found at Edinburgh Castle

If given the (yo-ahead, SNH would introduce around 1000 beavers on the catchments ol the Ness, Lomond, Tay, Spey, Dee and Don

'Many people consider that havrng driven them out we have a moral obligation to bring beavers back to Scotland,’ claimed George Anderson spokesperson of SNH. ’They are also important habitat engineers With many positive knock-0n effects on the surrounding Wildlife and vegetation.’

Havrng spent two years carrying out a (mirthsorriely titled) 'beaver feasibility study’ SNH are confident their plans are ecologically sound. The scheme has so far been welcomed by Wildlife and farming organisations.

The only potential ObjeClOfS to the

beaver scheme are fisheries boards in the areas concerned that the small dams beavers build may prevent salmon from going upstream to spawn

However Williarii Crow, of the Scottish Salmon Board said this was not a real worry. ’It wouldn't affect our members, but rould affett spawning on established salrnori rivers like the Dee and the Tay'

Keen to cut through a number of beaver myths, Anderson stressed that the animals are vegetarian and the EurOpean variety is not nearly as destructive as their Arnerrcan cousms which fell large conifers and build large and disruptive dams

At present SNH are conSUIIIng 300 organisations and invrting the Views of the general public until 17 July. Serious responses only are welcomed.

Details of the plan are available in public libraries or on the Internet on http://wwwrasdsnh demoncouk (Claire Prentice)