New festival is sure to be Stramash hit

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas

A number of big names have signed up to appear at The Stramash festival which is being held in Bellshill later this month.

The Stramash takes place on Friday, August 28, and Saturday, August 29, in Bellshill Cultural Centre offering events for all ages, and they are all free.

The theme of The Stramash is - as its name suggests - debate, provocation, conflict and passion, with an emphasis on audience interaction - a platform for passion and inclusivity.

BBC/Talksport presenter Colin Murray will chair an Oxford University-style debate about the heath benefits of the arts vs sports on the Friday night at 7pm.

This will pitch former Chelsea, Motherwell and Scotland footballer Pat Nevin against arts journalist and ex-director of the Edinburgh Film Festival Hannah McGill.

On the Saturday at 1pm comedian and political activist Mark Thomas will be taking a break from appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe to read from his new book 100 Acts of Minor Dissent, enjoy a chat with Big Issue editor Paul McNamee, and take audience questions.

This will be followed at 3.30pm by a ‘pub’ quiz, with a Scottish theme.

Teams can comprise anything from one to four people and there will be prizes and kudos up for grabs.

The day is rounded off at 7.30pm as the BBC’s Shereen Nanjiani hosts a Question Time-style panel discussion which will take Scottish-themed questions from the audience.

On the panel will be Motherwell’s Off the Ball presenter Tam Cowan, Scotland editor of The Spectator Alex Massie, Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and other guests to be announced.

Questions for the panel should be submitted in advance

Running alongside these events will be all-day gaming sessions for people of any age (organised with the help of Settlers games and comics shop), afternoon Minecraft Mayhem sessions, and the chance to leant how to design and print for a 3D printer.

Reading Ambassador for Culture NL Jane Graham said: “I think we’ve really pulled it out of the bag with this one. Debate, provocation, conflict and passion are Scottish specialities and we are looking to ask the big questions in battles of persuasion, wit, and poetry.”

Places at any of these events are free, but must be booked in advance, either call Bellshill Library on 01698 346770, e-mail or pop into Bellshill, Motherwell or Airdrie library.