The National Poet for Scotland or Makar Jackie Kay’s popular online show Makar to Makar returns for a Christmas special on Thursday 17 December. Re-named Makar to Cracker, Kay will host a line-up that includes the former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Jen Hadfield (the youngest poet to win the T.S. Eliot Prize) and Imtiaz Dharker, with music provided by Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams.
Created and curated by Kay, Makar To Makar was a weekly show streamed via YouTube every Thursday at 7pm between May and August, with audiences enjoying the best of Scottish and UK contemporary poetry. Guests included the former National Poet for Scotland Liz Lochhead, Don Paterson, crime novelist Val McDermid, actor Adjoa Andoh, Ted Hughes Award-winners Raymond Antrobus and Jay Bernard, and folk music legend Peggy Seeger.
With the lockdown closing literary festivals around the world, Kay conceived of Makar to Makar in the early days of the lockdown as a way to provide hope and solace during a dark period.
Makar to Cracker will stream via the National Theatre of Scotland’s YouTube channel and its Facebook page on Thursday, 17 December at 7pm, with the show lasting approximately 90 minutes. Audiences can tune in directly via the National Theatre of Scotland YouTube channel, the National Theatre of Scotland’s Facebook page or by clicking the home page link of Makar To Makar’s website (makar2makar.com). The event is free to enjoy.
Carol Ann Duffy says, ‘I’m thrilled to be invited to perform with such an exciting poetry and music line-up for Makar to Cracker – my favourite online series during lockdown.’
Jackie Kay says, ‘Curating and hosting Makar to Makar was a joy and got me through the first lockdown! Christmas this year is going to be so different for everyone. We hope to bring some joy and some festive spirit to our Makar to Cracker and have a cracking line up of poets and singers to help you kick off your festive season. Crack open a bottle – bring your own cracker and join us!’
Makar to Makar is produced by National Theatre of Scotland in association with HOME Manchester and Edinburgh International Book Festival, the University of Caledonia and the School of Arts and Media University of Salford
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- Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh and brought up in Glasgow. Her first book The Adoption Papers won the Saltire and a Forward Prize. Trumpet, a novel circling the life of a fictional jazz musician, Joss Moody, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. Red Dust Road, her memoir telling the story of her Nigerian Birth father and Highland birth mother won the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Award and was toured by National Theatre of Scotland last year, adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta. Her latest collection of poetry Bantam was published to great acclaim. She is the third modern Makar, the National Poet of Scotland and the Chancellor of the University of Salford. Her book on the blues singer Bessie Smith is due out in 2021.
- Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow in 1955 and grew up in Stafford. She has written poetry for both children and adults. Her adult collections are published by Picador (most recently Sincerity, 2018) and her Collected Poems for Children by Faber. Duffy lives in Manchester where she is Creative Director of The Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.
- The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well as creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally and works constantly to develop new talent. Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the Company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the Company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the Company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government. nationaltheatrescotland.com
- HOME is Manchester’s centre for international contemporary culture. Since opening in 2015, HOME has welcomed over two million visitors to its five cinemas, two theatres, art gallery, book shop and restaurants. HOME’s ambition is to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, have fun, take risks and share great new art with the widest possible audience. The patrons of HOME are Danny Boyle, actress Suranne Jones, playwright and poet Jackie Kay CBE, artists Rosa Barba and Phil Collins, filmmaker Asif Kapadia, and actress and author Meera Syal CBE. homemcr.org
- The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world, bringing together over 900 writers, poets, politicians, illustrators, journalists and thinkers with audiences to discuss, debate and share ideas in the heart of Scotland’s capital city over 18 days in August.
- The School of Arts and Media University of Salford is a dynamic creative hub which offers a range of interdisciplinarity programmes. They are the heart of creativity in Salford, offering a programme of events that encourage engagement with our staff, students, industry and the local community. Their £55 million New Adelphi flagship building offers a diverse range of spaces and equipment to suit all creative requirements including the New Adelphi Theatre. They are also the only UK university to have a campus at MediaCityUK – an international media hub with neighbours such as the BBC and ITV – with industry-standard facilities that offer a professional environment for their students. The school has a strong legacy of successful alumni across a range of fields, including actors, stand-up comedians, musicians, journalists and designers. They are delighted that Jackie Kay is our writer in residence, as well as our Chancellor of The University of Salford.