DunsPlayFest will be back in 2021

Dun Players, like all theatrical groups across Britain, has had a bad year.

By Dawn Renton
Thursday, 15th October 2020, 6:24 am

In March DunsPlayFest 2020, the festival of dramatic writing in the Borders, was cancelled because of Coronavirus.

John McEwen, director of Duns Players and DunsPlayFest, said: “It was a blow. Funding was in place, our programme was complete, we were promoting the festival, we had started to audition and rehearse.

“There are so many people involved in creating an eight-day festival like this: writers, directors, actors and numerous other skilled people, working to produce a programme of events. Those who had been to and been part of the Festival in 2019, and others, expressed their frustration and sadness, but knew it could not be helped. We have also had to cancel two other productions The Lady Killers and Twelfth Night.”

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Small theatre groups like the Duns Players are spread across every nation and support a wide range of businesses, including theatres, village and community halls, theatrical suppliers, restaurants, musicians, bars, and hotels. Many groups, like the Duns Players, also raise funds for local and national charities with special fundraising performances. In many smaller communities they are at the centre of cultural activity and help to bring communities together. They help improve both physical and mental health, both for those involved in the performances and for the audiences. To be involved in theatre and to watch live theatre as part of a real audience is of considerable value for young people. It helps them to mature and develop their confidence, and to connect with their community.

John McEwen continued: “Theatre really matters, and live theatre that allows people to be part of a real audience is even more important, which is why Duns Players are determined to bring back DunsPlayFest in May 2021, depending of course on Covid-19 restrictions at the time. On the programme there will be twenty short plays, performed by small casts, many written by local playwrights. We are hoping to have more than thirty events in all, including comedy, live music, community events, workshops, activities that people of all ages can enjoy. Our audience numbers will be capped and our main venue, the Volunteer Hall Duns, which is the largest hall in Berwickshire, will have enough space for socially distancing.

“It also has first-class facilities that will be Covid compliant, and experienced staff to ensure safe performance, community event and workshop spaces. So, fingers crossed we can make this happen. The enjoyment of live entertainment in a safe environment, in these times, what more could any theatre lover ask?”

Tickets will be limited, so we are advising people to watch out for more information over the coming months on our social media pages and website.

People can also go to the DunsPlayFest website to subscribe to the enewsletter for updates and news.