The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.


Country’s largest rural performing arts festival takes centre stage

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival takes centre stage as Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival celebrates its 40th Anniversary, opening a programme of 50 events across 34 regional venues from this Friday 24th May until Sunday 2nd June.


Festival Director Dani Rae

The 40th Anniversary programme of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival will be launched by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary of Culture, Tourism and External Affairs who will attend the Opening Night Civic Reception and public performance of Morna Young’s Lost at Sea this Friday night (24th May) at Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries.

The arts festival will once again deliver high quality live performances which include award-winning comedy, theatre, dance, music and spoken word, in every postcode, bar one, across Scotland’s third largest region.

Across ten-days, residents and visitors to South West Scotland will be treated to award-winning performances throughout the region’s village and town halls, theatres, arts centres pubs and other community spaces. New venues for the events programme this year include Moat Brae; The Birthplace of Peter Pan, The Bridge in Dumfries and Lochans Community Hall in the Rhins of Galloway.

The arts festival opens at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries on Friday 24th May, with a big-stage production of an evocative, acclaimed new piece of theatre Lost at Sea, which has received phenomenal reviews and four award nominations during its world premiere tour.

The play is a personal tribute to Scottish fishing communities and written by Morna Young who admits much of her previous work has been inspired by the region’s landscape and “stunning” coastline. The writer is passionate about the region and reports feeling very at home in Dumfries & Galloway as it is an agricultural area similar to her Moray home.

The 40th Anniversary programme of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival centres on everyday challenges and triumphs with the themes of love, loss and a sense of place woven throughout it.

This year’s programme has been curated by new Director, Dani Rae, who has worked across the creative industries for the last 15 years. An experienced cultural producer she joined from Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society in 2018, returning ‘home’ to deliver this special year’s programme. Her aim is to increase regional audiences and appeal to visitors coming from further afield, developing the well-respected charity whose aim is to encourage accessibility to high quality performing arts events in the rural economy.

The Director’s picks include side-splitting stand-up with TV favourite comedian Lucy Porter – who has just one Scottish date, at Lockerbie Town Hall with her new show ‘Pass it On (Wednesday 29th May) and blood pumping, Edinburgh Fringe sell-out, Electrolyte, a multi-award winning piece of gig-theatre by Wildcard, coming to the Corner House, Annan (Thursday 30th May), Castle Douglas Town Hall (Friday 31st May) and Fitba Bar, Stranraer (Saturday 1st June).  

High Street Take Over – Picnic at the Plainstanes (Saturday 25 May) in Dumfries, has been programmed by the festival’s Young Promoters Group offering free live performances all afternoon, including professional acrobats and a spotlight on local, talented musicians.

Newton Stewart and Moffat welcome the good doctor of folk Martin Carthy and his twice Mercury Prize-nominated daughter, Eliza Carthy (Saturday 25 and Monday 27 May) who collaborate in their uniquely charismatic and visceral style.

The remarkable, hilarious and heart-lifting true story of Team Viking, a comic ode of a promised ‘full Viking burial’ presented by Tangram Theatre (Monday 27, Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 May) offer a brilliant combination of storytelling, live music and comedy and will be staged right across the region in three locations; Gatehouse of Fleet, Moffat and Lochans.


Dance lovers are in for a treat with a new production from Joan Cleville Dance, The North, supported by the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. The show delivers elements of cinematic visual and sound design with original music from Mogwai regular Luke Sutherland and an eclectic soundtrack from Wagner to Frank Sinatra, performed in new venue The Bridge, Dumfries (Wednesday 29 May).

Scottish Opera are parking up their fantastic pop-up opera truck, re-creating the fully accessible Glasgow Theatre Royal, to delight family and friends with three short shows; A Little Bit of Magic Flute, A Little Bit of Lolanthe and Puffy McPuffer & the Crabbit Canals, for an organised schools performance in Gretna (Thursday 30 May) and for public performances in Logan Botanic Garden (Friday 31 May) and Crawick Multiverse near Sanquhar (Saturday 1 June).

A west-end sell-out ‘footie’ comedy, The Red Lion, presented by Rapture Theatre and starring Emmerdale and Brookside actor John McArdle. An all-star cast will entertain audiences with a battle of wills and lots of laughs, written by Patrick Marber and performed in both Stranraer Ryan Centre (Friday 31 May) and the Theatre Royal, Dumfries (Saturday 1 June).

Scottish Ensemble perform two concerts within the 40th Anniversary programme including Dance Music with guest director Malin Broman, Leader of the Swedish Radio Orchestra and an award-winning violinist, with the performance celebrating music designed to make us move (Thursday 30th May) in Theatre Royal, Dumfries.

Closing the Anniversary programme will be ‘Home and Horizon’ (Sunday 2 June). Curated by Alison Burns a suite of music, song and spoken word, inspired by Dumfries & Galloway, will be performed by a selection of Scotland’s top musicians in collaboration with Scottish Ensemble, featuring the region’s exceptional ‘home-grown’ talent’ such as Emily Smith, Robyn Stapleton, Wendy Stewart, Aaron Jones, Clare Mann, Jamie McClennan and award-winning writer Tom Pow.

Dani Rae, Director of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, said: “It’s a real privilege to return home and present the 40th Anniversary of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, bringing the best in live performing arts to one of the most glorious parts of the world, a festival which has been part of the creative life blood of the region since 1979.”

“We’re delighted Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will launch this commemorative year and attend Festival Opener, Lost at Sea, a show which is indicative of the quality of live performances we bring to venues right across Dumfries & Galloway.

“I look forward to continuing to develop the essence and original focus of those who pioneered the very first arts festival in 1979 - to enable local communities to be able to see the highest quality shows without having to travel to the cities”.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival takes high quality performances to some of the most remote areas of the country, and is a fantastic example of making arts accessible to all and empowering communities to have a say in what they want to see.


“I am particularly impressed by the Young Promoters Group, which provides real skills development and employment opportunities to the region’s young people who want to work in the performing arts sector.


“I look forward to seeing what this exciting showcase festival has to offer in its 40th year, and in the future.”

Lorna Duguid, Multi-artform Manager, Creative Scotland, commented:

“Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival is a key organisation in the delivery of performing arts and culture in Dumfries and Galloway.  It has, and continues to be, an important keystone for access to high quality programming for the area and this year’s 40th anniversary programme is no exception, reaching new audiences and venues across the region, with work from some of Scotland’s most exciting artists.”


To see the full programme for the 40th Anniversary of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival,



Scottish Labour has launched a public consultation on their proposed ‘Mary Barbour’ law, which will cap annual rent increases in private sector properties at one percentage point above inflation.

There are an estimated 10,000 private sector renters in Dumfries and Galloway.



The Member’s Bill, named after campaigner Mary Barbour who led the 1915 Glasgow Rent Strikes, will cap increases on private sector rents and give more power to tenants. The proposed law will cap annual private sector rent increases across Scotland at one percentage point above inflation. The number of people living in private rented accommodation has increased in recent years, with more and more families negatively affected by soaring rent costs.

The proposed Bill would introduced a package of measures including:

  • Capping annual private sector rent increases at one percentage point above inflation
  • Giving tenants more power in rent appeal processes
  • Expanding the landlord register to include the level of rent charged.

Members of the public have until the 31 July 2019 to make their views known on the proposal.

South Scotland Labour MSP , Colin Smyth said, “The vast majority of private landlords in Dumfries and Galloway are responsible and don’t rip off tenants but sadly a small minority do . A lack of social housing is forcing more and more people to rent privately where some landlords are increasing rents higher than inflation and wage growth, pushing families closer and closer to the breadline. Labour’s Mary Barbour law would tackle exploitative landlords by capping private sector rent increases, giving people across Dumfries and Galloway the security of secure and affordable tenancies. The proposal shows that Scottish Labour is the only party in Scotland who has the ideas to implement real change to our public services, transform our economy, that will tackle poverty and create a society for the many.”

Human Trafficking and Exploitation Awareness Training

Hope for Justice Training and Development Officer Alister Bull will provide free Human Trafficking and Exploitation Awareness training on Tuesday June 11, in partnership with Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway.



Sessions in the morning (10.30am-12.30pm) and afternoon (1.30pm-3.30pm) are available at Lochvale House in Dumfries.

On completion of this training session you will be able to:

1. Explain what Human Trafficking and Exploitation is and identify the different types that exist;

2. Recognise the signs and indicators of Human Trafficking and Exploitation;

3. Respond appropriately to a case / victim of Human Trafficking and Exploitation.

Hope for Justice deliver high quality, award winning, interactive training to ensure you will have the skills needed to successfully identify victims or cases of Human Trafficking and Exploitation and respond appropriately.

To book on either session click here:

For further information on Hope for Justice please visit their website

Work is What We Do, Not Where We Go - An 8020 Insight on Remote Working


Work is what we do not where we go.

Are remote jobs the future of working?

Many people are now working remotely, carrying out their workload in a coffee shop, on the train or at their kitchen table. Technology is making this possible and it is reported that as many as half of us will be remote working to some degree by as early as 2020.

These days, mobile working is more than making a few calls and replying to a couple of emails. Some people run their entire business from their mobile, making notes, accessing business apps, working on spreadsheets and creating and sending invoices.
The arrival of the computer changed the way we worked and today connectivity and digital tools are changing where we work. Travelling to offices has been replaced by phone and video conferencing. Remote workers, like engineers and police officers, now use tablets and mobile devices to access systems on the move. There’s no need to return to the office to complete forms, keeping people where they’re needed most.
Delivering on these aspirations would once have been a potential headache for an IT department. However, it’s now possible to deliver seamless, flexible and mobile working across multiple devices, securely, reliably and efficiently through solutions such as Office 365 and Mobile Device Management.
To benefit from remote working you need a setup that allows that flexibility. Whether it be a mobile phone, tablet or laptop allowing you to work from anywhere.

Could the new Galaxy S10 be Samsung’s best device for business customers?

Take the new Samsung Galaxy S10 for example. Samsung DeX lets you connect your Galaxy S10 to a monitor, keyboard and mouse for a desktop experience powered by your phone. So you can turn any place into a workplace.
Enjoy a desktop experience Some things are just easier on a desktop, like sending an email, bolding text, or copying and pasting between apps. Just plug your Galaxy S10 into the DeX cable to use apps, review documents and set or check notifications on a desktop interface. Two screens at once In Samsung DeX mode, you can take a closer look at things like videos, artwork, and documents on a larger display while still using your phone as a phone. Watch video clips on the monitor while checking texts, or take a call while reviewing documents without breaking your focus.
The Samsung and Samsung DeX may be an optimum way of working remotely through mobile technology but it’s not the only way. Working remotely can be as simple as just you and your mobile device.

The benefits of remote working

Sitting under bright lights in a bustling office all day is the number one way to ramp up stress levels. Thanks to advancements in digital technology allowing us to work smarter, the benefits of working remotely speak for themselves.
Studies conclude that remote employees are notably less stressed and have higher morale than their in-office counterparts. Think about it. You get to wear clothes you feel comfortable in, sit (or slouch) in a way that makes you feel creative, and play the music that inspires you. Hit a writer’s block? Take a walk around the block to clear your head.
Happier, healthier employees are proven to produce better work and feel more committed to their companies. From this perspective, installing digital workplace solution to provide remote working opportunities is just good business.



Chance to be Part of the Peter Pan Story by Joining the Moat Brae Volunteer Team

Great opportunities at house and garden that Inspired JM Barrie when it opens as the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling

Friendly and enthusiastic volunteers are being sought to help in the house and garden where Peter Pan began.



Moat Brae, in Dumfries, will fully open to the public from 1 June as the country’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

The new international visitor attraction, in the lovely refurbished Georgian property where J.M. Barrie played as a boy, is being set up to promote and encourages imagination, creativity and play, for everyone to enjoy.

Natasha Kinsella, Moat Brae Volunteer Co-Ordinator, said: “We are looking for friendly and enthusiastic volunteers to help provide a warm and welcoming environment to families and other visitors.

Volunteers will play an important role answering questions from visitors, supporting the front of house team and Head Gardener as well as igniting the imagination and creativity of our all our visitors.”

The house has four main floors and The Neverland Discovery Garden, Peter’s Place, J.M. Barrie’s Dumfries, StoryWorlds and Revisiting Neverland. 

Discovery guides will help provide a friendly and engaging introduction to the interpretation of the house encouraging visitors to imagine, explore and play. 

Volunteering brings all sorts of benefits including:

  • Develop skills and experience in a visitor centre/arts and cultural setting 
  • Enhancing a CV
  • Meeting new people and getting active in the community
  • Inspiring the imagination of children, young people and adults
  • Enjoying being part of a motivated and passionate team Moat Brae volunteer opportunitiesIn the house: Engaging visitors with the stories of J.M. Barrie’s life, the history of the house and Peter Pan. There will be:
  • Costumed interpreters
  • Storytelling roles
  • Room guides In the garden:Neverland garden volunteers will work alongside our Head Gardener to help keep this beautiful space in perfect condition for visitors.Schools tours:If you have experience working with children and can harness your inner child Moat Brae is looking for people to deliver guided tours to schoolchildren of all ages.Guided tours:Those who are passionate about history and architecture might like to volunteer to lead guided tours.
  • Contact Natasha on 01387 255 549 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  there is also a sign-up for on the website at