Rescheduled Declaration of Arbroath anniversary celebrations unveiled

Douglas Barrie, PA Scotland
·2-min read

The rescheduled programme of celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath has been unveiled.

Arbroath 2020+1 will include events and installations hosted in the Scottish coastal town and surrounding areas from July 2 to September 12.

New performance, art and design and music commissions from Scottish artists and collaborative community projects are planned to mark the April anniversary this year after celebrations were halted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A new exhibition at the Arbroath Abbey Visitor Centre will also open and house the Arbroath Tapestry, 701 years after the signing of the declaration.

Creative producer Pippa Martin said: “Staying connected, celebrating our communities and reflecting and looking forward feels more important now than ever.

“Arbroath 2020+1 is about celebrating the town and its people through sharing.

“We are delighted to have been able to adapt the 2020 programme and return this year with a rich mix of community-led projects and exhibitions alongside exciting new commissions.

“The health of the town and residents remains our primary consideration in any decisions and activity going forward.”

Included in the programme is Over Lunan – a sound and visual promenade performance in the dunes of Lunan Bay – and a series of 2020+1 festival flags commissioned by Dundee Print Collective.

The Making of a Pageant community heritage exhibition will open at the Arbroath Art Gallery in early July, while The New Scriptorium structure will be introduced to the abbey grounds for a year.

The letter dated April 6, 1320 was written asking the pope to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king.

Declaration of Arbroath
A copy of the declaration at Arbroath Abbey (Danny Lawson/PA)

Angus Council leader David Fairweather said: “A huge effort went into capturing the very best of Arbroath in celebration of the 700 years since the Declaration was signed, only for that work to be delayed by a global pandemic.

“I say delayed because Arbroath has not been denied its opportunity to showcase the very best of its people, culture, heritage arts and learning.

“Instead residents, local groups and organisations – assisted by others – have soared to meet the challenges set by Covid-19 and will deliver what I am certain will be a superb festival that maximises the use of all mediums and platforms to ensure that celebrations are not only fit for the occasion, but safe for our times.

“It truly will exemplify the heart and soul of community here in my hometown of Arbroath, more widely in Angus and, wider still, across Scotland.”

The full festival programme is available at www.arbroathfestival.com.