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Soft opening for Mareel

| Written by Hans J Marter

The new music and cinema venue Mareel - Photo: Mark Sinclair The new music and cinema venue Mareel - Photo: Mark Sinclair SHETLAND’s £12 million music and cinema venue Mareel could host its first events as early as next month.

Arts development agency Shetland Arts has confirmed that they are planning a “soft opening” of the North Ness venue, but have declined to comment any further on their plans.

Last week, the agency announced that the majority of this year’s Fiddle Frenzy concerts as well as the festival club will take place in Mareel.

And on social networks sites Twitter and Facebook the art agency is building up the expectations saying its monthly film programme in the Garrison Theatre, this last weekend, was the last of its kind before moving to Mareel.

Marketing officer Lisa Ward said: “We’re working hard behind the scenes to put together a great programme of film for the opening of the Mareel, and very much looking forward to providing a wide selection of excellent cinema for the Shetland public 7 days a week, 2 to 3 screenings per day, year-round.”

But when asked to give further details, a spokeswoman for Shetland Arts director Gwilym Gibbons said at the weekend: “We are not commenting on opening dates at this point.”

The opening of the venue is over one year behind its original schedule.

Fiddle Frenzy will kick off on 5 August with a performance by the Harris Playfair Big Band, in Mareel.

The following night, the Jenna Reid band will take the stage in the same venue.

Maggie Adamson & Brian Nicolson (8 August), Ross Couper & Tom Oakes (9 August), and Blazin’ Fiddles (11 August) will all play concerts in Mareel.

Bryan Gear with Violet Tulloch have been booked to play the Walls hall on 7 August, while Corran Raa will travel to Yell play a concert in the Burravoe hall on Friday, 10 August.

The well established celebration of Shetland fiddle music attracts a number of students to the isles every year keen to learn from local tutors.

There are courses suited to beginners, through to more experienced players, as well as tutoring in other skills such as guitar playing, knitting, drawing and painting.

For a full programme and details of how to book a place, go to www.shetlandarts.org/whats-on/festivals/fiddle-frenzy/ or www.shetlandboxoffice.org/whats-on/fiddle-frenzy-summer-schools