The party's over...until next year...

Monday 21 March 2011

Believe it or not, StAnza 2011 is over - bar some tidying up at the Byre Theatre, who have played host to the poetry and a' that.

In a festival with the theme Timepiece, it's ironic that the event itself is being transformed into memories: lines of poetry being recalled, pictures on Facebook pages and snapshots on people's mobiles.

As Eleanor Livingstone (left) introduced the final centre stage reading last night, there was a big round of applause, for this was her first StAnza as Festival Director . But as this listener settled down to enjoy the poetry of the marvellous Ciaran Carson and Fife's own world class poet, Douglas Dunn, it was with a sense of how precious these last moments of the festival were.

Luckily we can relive the experience thanks to our social media supremo Colin Fraser and his team, who recorded the readings, and to our team of photographers who have captured the festival's atmosphere through some wonderful images. Check us out here, on Facebook and on Twitter as we post our memories. Perfect for those who couldn't make it to StAnza this year and hate to miss out.

We were lucky in so many ways: the mercurial weather systems of St Andrews produced almost-warm sunshine and the nights were blessed by a beautiful full moon in clear skies – our overseas visitors saw the town and its surroundings at its best. A few of us soaked up the sunshine this morning outside    Zest cafe in South Street (future visitors take note - there are not many suntraps in this town), and chatted about the events we had enjoyed. As well the main events there are all the incidentals - Selima Hill deftly dealing with an unexpected heckler and Douglas Dunn taking not one but two graceful bows, after the longest ovation in StAnza's history.  There was the moment, for me, backstage, when the sound of the SCO and St Andrews Chamber Orchestra (tuning up before their Sunday concert) came in waves up the stairwell from the Auditorium.  Lots more memories - more than one blog can hold.

I'm writing this in the Byre Theatre, where, as I said, we have been tidying up and packing up StAnza stuff for next year. Ah next year! Believe it or not, after a brief rest and a few meetings for post match analysis, the whole shebang gets into gear again as plans are hatched for 2012.

Thanks again to the gorgeous Peggy Hughes from the Scottish Poetry library for her brilliant festival blogging. Keep checking in for more news and clips from StAnza 2011.

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