Gaelic stars of the future take to the stage

The annual Sgoil Shamhraidh Dhràma is taking place this month, with young performers preparing to take to the stage in Portree tonight (Thursday).

Now in its seventh year, the Gaelic drama summer school has been taking place in Portree since 7th July ahead of tonight’s performance in the Aros Centre.

The 17 young Gaelic-speaking actors will be joined by members of the Cèilidh Trail, who have been receiving training from Fèis Alba in Plockton.

The performances will mix traditional music with a little more drama than usual! The theme for this year’s performance is war, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, and participants have been looking at this subject through scripts, poetry and other material written and collected by Angus Macleod and Daibhidh Walker.

Supporting Daibhidh and Angus are Roddy Nicolson from Eden Court and Eilidh Daniels. As well as the stage show, a screening of the first-ever Gaelic feature-length film, “As an Eilean”, took place in Aros last Saturday.

Dougie Beck, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s drama officer, said: “Fèisean nan Gàidheal has taken the lead with this initiative since it was rekindled in 2008. Since then around 100 participants have been involved, some of whom have gone on to careers in the Gaelic arts world. In this Year of Homecoming we are delighted that Cara Coburn, who is engaged by Fèisean nan Gàidheal this summer on a Comunn na Gàidhlig work experience scheme, will be working at the Sgoil Shamhraidh. Cara was one of our first students, attending in 2008 and 2009. Our participants this year are from right across the country, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their hard work.”

Over in Plockton, six cèilidh trail groups have been attending Fèis Alba at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, honing their musical skills before they go out on the road in their home areas.

This year more than 40 young musicians have been receiving guidance from top musicians and tutors Ewen Henderson, Sileas Sinclair and Fiona MacAskill. The Ceilidh Trailers — representing Fèis Fhoirt, Fèis an Earraich (Ceilear), Fèis Chataibh, Fèis Spè, Fèis Latharna and Fèisean Lochabair — will also be involved in marketing, admin, PA, dance and other important aspects of traditional musicians’ lives.