Quality lasts – and, by that mantra, arts producer SEALL definitely has the seal of approval – this year marks SEALL’s 25th birthday!
Since its inception in 1991, SEALL has organised more than 1,000 events and is the force behind The Skye Festival or Fèis an Eilein.
The acronym SEALL is formed from the phrase “Skye Events For All” and is also the Gaelic for “look” or “see” and there are plenty Skye events for all to see!
Director Duncan MacInnes outlines some of the upcoming attractions this year, saying: “The first SEALL event took place in May 1991, so we want to do something special to celebrate this year.
“We aim to have a lot of variety, so we cover just about anything that happens on stage! Our events include traditional and classical music, as well as jazz, blues, opera and folk music. This year, we will have our very first Country and Western concert.” SEALL has also organised theatre events, comedians and literary evenings, bringing international talents to a local audience.
Duncan is one of eight directors, whose aim is to put Skye on the map as an arts destination and to promote the local talent. Duncan says: “We have a number of volunteers, and we are extremely grateful for their support. We also have tremendous help from our part-time administrator, Alison Livingstone.” Most of the SEALL events are held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Sleat. Events will often be introduced bilingually, giving visitors a taste of Gaelic and the local culture.
The Skye Festival has gradually evolved to a spectacular, two-month long event. Duncan says: “This year features a lot of interesting acts! It will start off with three days of musicians from various Celtic areas. Our main venue, the Gaelic College at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has pulled together people from Brittany, Wales, Ireland and Scotland to celebrate Celtic music. We also have the whole National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, the Scottish
Chamber Orchestra Strings and Blazin’ Fiddles, to name a few.”
The SEALL team work hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for all ages. Duncan explains: “Most of our acts are family-friendly. We want to create a comfortable place for youngsters to come and enjoy the events. Our policy is that all children under 10 get in free. For the last couple of years, we have created links with the puppet animation festivals.”
Duncan sums up the past 25 years saying: “It’s been good fun! It’s great to work with fantastic, supportive people in the community. The whole experience of being involved in SEALL just gives you a buzz. Okay, it’s not much fun pasting posters up at midnight the night before a concert because you’re panicking that no one is going to come, but there are so many fun experiences too! Our first concert this year was on a wet night in early January and we had 65 people attend, so we had a ball.”
To find out what SEALL has in store for the rest of the year, visit www.seall.co.uk and be enthralled by the diverse range of exciting, upcoming events.