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Fifteen new creative works are set to premiere throughout April, as part of Shetland Arts’ Refresh Now programme. Bringing together music, theatre and visual arts, this season of events is funded through Creative Scotland’s Performing Venues Relief Fund. The final set of Refresh Now commissions are new works from Shetland’s artists and makers which will be available to purchase from Shetland Arts’ retail outlets later this year.  

From a journey of music and poetry featuring prolific actress Sandra Voe (Local Hero, Howard’s End, Trigonometry) to improvisation favourites The Imposters, the works showcase a diverse range of Shetland-grown talent.

The season will adventure into an animated folk story from artist Gilly B, poet Jen Hadfield and musician Jenny Sturgeon. It will follow the herring trail from Yarmouth to Shetland with Islesburgh Drama Group, explore the life of Unst writer Jessie M. E. Saxby in new work by fiddler Catriona MacDonald and filmmaker Shona Main, and sound the landscape with four new video works by Renzo Spiteri.

A host of recorded performances from the Garrison stage will be premiered, with new and revisited works written and presented by Da Choys, John Haswell with Open Door Drama; and Stephenie Pagulayan with Islesburgh Drama Group.

The non-traditional sounds of Shetland will be showcased too, in filmed performances from Grimlock, the Peter Alec Trio, Sheer, The Stoals and Ten Tonne Dozer. There’s even a chance to interact with a living artwork created by Vivian Ross-Smith, which will see the artist perform across the Shetland landscape.

Floortje Robertson Matthew, Programme Manager at Shetland Arts, said, “As we look towards easing out of lockdown, we see this season of work as a turning point – a way to spring forward. We hope it brings audiences joy and inspires new journeys into the arts.”

The programme has also been supported by a range of Shetland filmmakers, who Shetland Arts have worked with to develop skills in multicamera shoots for performance as part of their Upskilling training for Shetland’s creative practitioners, also supported by the Performing Venues Relief Fund.


All works will premiere across Shetland and online across Shetland Arts’ Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels. At time of recording, artists and performers followed current COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government.

For more information on individual commissions, visit shetlandarts.org/refreshnow


Image: Scott Tomlison of The Stoals on stage at Mareel. Credit Vaila Walterson.

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