It’s that time of year again (and no, I’m not referring to the ensuing season of inevitable mid-semester nervous breakdowns as deadlines and exams loom alarmingly quickly). This weekend sees the return of On The Rocks, the student run arts festival which gleefully bills itself as the largest of its kind in Scotland.
Given the intimacy and small size of this university, it’s likely that you’ll know at least one person, if not more, who are involved with On The Rocks, either as a committee member, or a performer in one of the events. You probably barely saw this article in your news feed, cluttered with adverts for various shows.
The On the Rocks Festival is a celebration of student achievement at its very finest, and it’s worth standing back for a minute in order to take in just how impressive the line-up is. Boasting over forty events every year, and currently in its eighth year of production, On The Rocks has almost become St Andrews’ very own version of Edinburgh Fringe. Many of the shows and events being put on this year are a genuinely incredible accomplishment for those who have organised them, from a full-scale interactive opera experience, to a ceilidh in the hauntingly beautiful setting of the ruined castle.
The festival is also committed to bringing forward innovative and compelling experimental performances. One such show is DanceSoc’s Found, an ever-evolving production, which doesn’t have a set venue but will pop up at various locations around town, unannounced, throughout the duration of the festival.
If I have thus far been unable to convince you to support the arts community in St Andrews, and more specifically your friends and fellow students, then the list of the festival’s celebrity patrons may just be the straw to break the camel’s back. On The Rocks is this year supported by, amongst others, Joanna Lumley, the Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, and Sir Sean Connery. At this point, they’re only missing Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Ian McKellen before they have the full court of British acting royalty. And if this level of gravitas doesn’t appeal, then I don’t know what will.
The bottom line is that On The Rocks provides a wonderful platform for artists, creators, and performers in St Andrews to showcase the very best of their talents. Having such a remarkable resource at our fingertips is undoubtedly an asset to both the University and the wider community. You’d be a fool not to take advantage of the festival while it’s here.
If you’re stuck on what to see, here are a few events that promise to be worth the watch;