Time-team's Tony tops the bill at May Festival | News

Time-team's Tony tops the bill at May Festival

The programme launches tomorrow (April 18) for an Aberdeen festival which will bring together TV personality Tony Robinson, a star of Call the Midwife, live archaeological dig, Jacobite re-enactment and a family-friendly inflatable challenge with more than 100 events on offer across three days.

The programme launches tomorrow (April 18) for an Aberdeen festival which will bring together TV personality Tony Robinson, a star of Call the Midwife, live archaeological dig, Jacobite re-enactment and a family-friendly inflatable challenge with more than 100 events on offer across three days. 

The University of Aberdeen’s May Festival will run from Friday May 26 to Sunday May 28 in the scenic setting of King’s College.

Returning for its fifth year, the Festival offers a diverse programme to cater for all ages and tastes and for 2017 it will celebrate Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology with talks, walks and an opportunity to take part in a live archaeological dig.

Sponsored by Total E&P UK, the May Festival will welcome Sir Tony Robinson to share the story of his life, told in a new autobiography No Cunning Plan, with an audience on Friday (May 26) and to oversee archaeological excavations taking place as part of the King’s Dig, which aims to uncover evidence of a grammar school once attached to the iconic King’s College Chapel.

It will also bring Call the Midwife star Laura Main back to her home city and the University where she studied. Laura, who has played Sister Bernadette (later called Shelagh Turner) in the hit BBC drama series since 2011, will share tales of growing up in the Granite City, the influence of the Aberdeen Student Shows on her acting success and the highlights of her career so far at an ‘audience with’ event on Saturday May 27.

The weekend will also offer a chance to hear from up-and-coming writer Wyl Menmuir, whose first ever novel earned him a place on the Man Booker long-list, and Alan Spence, an award-winning poet and playwright, novelist and short story writer.

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology there will be events exploring the suffragettes in Aberdeen and what happened when the Pankhurstscame to the city and Aberdeen’s relationship with Robert the Bruce will also come under the spotlight in a talk that will take in Aberdeen’s castle, the motto Bon Accord and the history of the Freedom Lands. 

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion will be the focus for a ‘mythbusting’ session challenging the most common misconceptions of the Jacobites with particular focus on Charles Edward Stuart and the ’45 Rebellion which will culminate with a Jacobite re-enactment on King’s Lawn.

Visitors can discover how to make a Viking laugh in an event dedicated to Viking humour; enjoy the world’s funniest footwear with Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre and their hit show of songs, sketches, socks and violence, taking on The Bard Of Avon himself; and get their hands dirty sifting soil as part of the King’s Dig excavations, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The programme also boasts events showcasing music, the environment, current affairs, food and drink, science and discovery.

For families, King’s Lawn will be transformed into the ‘Incredible May Festival Inflatable Challenge’ with a variety of activities to get hearts pumping and to bounce cares away.  The Hall of Mayhem will return on Sunday (May 28) with fun, hands-on and interactive stalls covering everything from the world of mini-beasts and creation of birds’ nests to bracelet making.

A dedicated Children’s Festival will run alongside the main programme where young imaginations can delve into the world of murderous maths, explore science and magic, learn about the art of making bread and pasta and have a taste adventure with the Slow Food movement.

Many of the events are free or low cost and in addition to ticketed sessions there will also be a wide selection of drop-in events including a Produce Market on Saturday May 27 in Elphinstone Hall.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “The University is proud of the role it has in enhancing the cultural and intellectual life of the north-east and beyond and the May Festival is now established as a highlight in the region’s events calendar.

“Our festival team has once again ensured there is something for everyone in this packed programme which spans science, music, literature, sport, food and drink and the environment.

“For Scotland’s Year of History Heritage and Archaeology we have a fantastic array of events dedicated to the past and we look forward to seeing the results of the archaeological dig right at the heart of King’s campus.

“It is always a pleasure to welcome back alumni of the institution and Laura Main is sure to prove popular while Tony Robinson will add his unique brand of enthusiasm to our archaeological excavations and engage audiences with tales of his varied career.” 

Elisabeth Proust, Managing Director of Total E&P UK said, “Total proudly supports the University of Aberdeen’s May Festival and encourages everyone to explore the huge range of events and activities on offer.”

For full details of the 2017 May Festival programme visit www.abdn.ac.uk/mayfestivalor to book tickets call Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122.

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