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Life as a cabaret

Calum Ritchie investigates the low-budget, cross-genre revolution happening on

Glasgow and Edinburgh's cultural scenes

strange new breed of night out has emerged recently across lidinburgh and (ilasgow. There are always many performers. usually taking slots of under ten minutes. but it‘s not quite cabaret: these performances tend to have low production values. often being nothing much more than a person and a microphone. Maybe a light. 'l‘ypically. the audience can see between three and ten different acts in a night. usually for well under £5. That‘s not to suggest these nights are homogenous. because each one has a distinct identity. At the Arches in Glasgow. Scratch Night offers ten minute slots to theatre-makers wanting to try out new ideas for shows. while Discombobulate is primarily a performance literature night. btit regularly features slots from the likes of playwright lain Heggie. stand up comics Bruce Morton and Arnold Brown. and musician Aidan Moffatt alongside novelists like AL Kennedy and Alan Bissett. Bissett is also an occasional performer at Manifesto. the Tron Theatre's political cabaret night. run by Tam Dean Burn: a monthly mix of theatre. music and spoken word with high tech visuals provided by Sonic Sinema. Also in Glasgow. Cryptic Nights is a celebration of the multi-artform possibilities of the CCA (this fortnight they've got experimental music. a discussion and a DJ set). while in Edinburgh the Traverse have thrown open their doors on Mondays. inviting new audiences in to witness emergent playwrights (Words Words Words). experimental

soundscapes (Noisy Nights). and performance poets compering newly-commissioned theatre pieces. sometimes with [Ms and tapdancers (Wildfire). And that‘sjust the tip of the iceberg.

‘At the 'l'raverse. Dominic Hill came in as artistic director and wanted to make the building accessible to wider audiencesf explains (‘heryl Martin. who runs Wildfire. Martin feels that the recent boom in this sort of night is timely. 'liunding has become hard to get. so people are just going out there and starting their own nights. You can generate new work and try out new ideas without needing loads of money upfront. and. in the current climate. that helps.~

‘There's definitely been an upsurge in it. in the last year.‘ says Dean Burn. who this month is collaborating with btirlesque/comedy night Spangled Cabaret. 'Nights where. say. groups of writers get together and read their work have always happened. but this idea of getting different art forms on the same bill seems new. up here. And as people begin to move between the different nights. were seeing all this valuable new material being created as well.'

Manifesto vs Spangled Cabaret, Sun 31 May, Tron Theatre, Glasgow and Mon 1 Jun, Rio Café, Glasgow. Discombobulate, Tue 2 Jun, The Arches, Glasgow; Cryptic Nights, Thu 4 Jun, CCA; Noisy Nights, Mon 8 Jun & Wildfire, Mon 15 Jun both Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

I Books I Clubs Comedy

40 I LGBT 68

43 I Music 69 49 I Theatre 89 51 I Visual Art 95 67

>l< Taste of Edinburgh Channel 4's high profile food and drink event returns to Scotland with lots of samples and appearances from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mary Contini, Nick Nairn, Tom Kitchin and Tony Borthwick. Edinburgh. Fri 29—Sun 37 May, Inver/eith Park.

>'r Handmade Heaven Browse the handmade goodies, have a nibble and perhaps even catch a DIY craft tutorial on Saturday as the Glasgow Craft Mafia celebrates its media partnership with a little mag called The List. Normal service is resumed on Sunday, with a market at Mono. See www.glasgowcraftmafia .com for more info. Glasgow. Sat 30 May, the Buff Club; Sun 37 May, Mono.

>i= Lelth Festlval Fourteen days, 150 events and a whole lotta community spirit. Comedy from Phil Buckley and Bruce Morton, music from the local likes of Aberfeldy, cabaret. sporting events, galas, parades and loads of overexcited Leithers. Exactly the way we like “em, right? Edinburgh, Fri 5—Sun 14 Jun, various venues, Leith

>i< Hungama at the Quay Multicultural family festival with stalls, food court. casino, kids' fairground and an entertainment stage hosting Bhangra and Hindi pop led by BAU Music. See www.quayhungama.info for more info. Glasgow, Sun 7 Jun, Springfield Quay

28 May—l 1 Jun 2009 THE LIST 37