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Arts / New arts festival aims to see community reconnect post-shutdown

Shetland Arts confirms, however, that this year’s Screenplay and Wordplay events have been cancelled

Mareel. Photo: Shetland News

A NEW festival is set to be held across a number of venues in Shetland to allow the isles’ to ‘unlock’ its creative talent once restrictions on events are lifted.

Shetland Unlocked will be a community-driven festival acting as an open platform for artists, musicians, makers and writers to deliver performances and workshops.

The Shetland Arts initiative will take place across Mareel, Bonhoga and the Garrison over a long weekend four to six weeks after clearance is given for large-scale gatherings to resume.

Shetland Arts has also confirmed that this year’s Screenplay and Wordplay events have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, elements of each festival – such as the Home Made short film event – will be incorporated into Shetland Unlocked.

The hope behind Shetland Unlocked is to allow people in the isles to “re-engage with each other” once restrictions are lifted.

Talks are underway with the Shetland Food and Drink Association and the Shetland Arts and Craft Association about hosting food and craft fairs respectively over the weekend and Shetland Arts is keen to hear from other organisations, venues and associations that would like to get involved too.

Individuals and groups interested in taking part in the festival can propose performances and workshops using all of the spaces and facilities available.

All performers and workshop leaders will be paid, and details are available on the Shetland Arts website.

It will be a free event, though some spaces and performances will need to be ticketed.

Shetland Arts said if performers or workshop leaders want to use this as an opportunity to raise funds for a local charity or cause then they will be more than welcome, with the organisation providing the buckets.

Shetland Arts chief executive Graeme Howell said: “We want to give our community the opportunity to use our facilities to reconnect with each other and their audiences.

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“Anything goes – you may want to put on a scratch play in the Garrison, or showcase a piece of art on the walls of Mareel.

“Your band may want to stand on stage and blast away the cobwebs, or you might want to share a piece of writing you have been working on. Any sort of performance or workshop, craft or art piece will be welcomed and hosted. It will be chaotic, it will be family friendly and it will be Shetland.”

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