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Theatre and music diary dates

Celtic festival

This year's Celtic Connections festival takes place from January 14-February 1 across Glasgow but the main focal point is the Royal Concert Hall.

The festival continues to host the Young Tradition and Master and Apprentice series, showcasing young talent in the Scottish traditional music scene.

About 20,000 children have taken part in Celtic Connections' education programme of free concerts and school visits since 1998. Stimulated by Celtic artists and class teachers, they can sing, dance, play traditional instruments and hear stories during the festival.

All that jazz

Auditions for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and the NYJOS training course will take place from January 17-February 1 in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. For details contact Pippa Heath, the jazz administrator for the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

The jazz orchestra will perform under the direction of Eddie Severn at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama concert hall in Glasgow on February 15 at 7.30pm. Call the box office, 0141 332 5057 for tickets.

NYOS, tel 0141 332 8311

It's a poet's life

Andy Cannon, creative director of Wee Stories Theatre for Children, presents a one-man tour of the life and poems of Robert Burns at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Museum of Scottish Country Life at Wester Kittochside from January 19-31. In Tae a Mouse and a' That, he tells tales of love and haggis and gives a potted, yet vivid account of the poet's life and history, suitable for children aged eight to 12. education Wee Stories, tel 0131 557 6107

Classics retold

Hopscotch Theatre Company's line-up for 2004 includes Mary, Queen of Scots, by Ross Stenhouse. It chronicles her childhood in France, her struggle to reclaim the throne, her unwise marriages, defeat in battle and imprisonment at the hands of her cousin, Elizabeth I.

The production is aimed at P1-P7s and will tour schools from February 16-May 21.

Robert Burns's classic poem Tam O'Shanter, also dramatised by Ross Stenhouse for P1-P7s, will tour primary schools from March 22-July 2.

Hopscotch, tel 0141 440 2025

Youth choir

The National Youth Choir of Scotland's training choir will perfom at St Columba's Church, Stirling, on March 7. The choir, formed in 1997, gives 14- to 18-year-olds the opportunity to have expert choral and individual singing coaching and works alongside the full choir during its summer residential courses.

Auditions for the training choir will take place on March 9-11 and March 18-21 in Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Traditional dance

The Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust's Dance Festival will run from March 11-14 as part of Stirling's new arts festival entitled "The Blend". It will feature all styles of traditional dance, with workshops, performances and competitions, and the premi re of a special commission.

Live art festival

The National Review of Live Art, an annual festival of national and international world-class performance art, video and installations, will take place at The Arches in Glasgow from March 17-21.

The Arches, tel 0141 565 1023 Playing TAG

The TAG Theatre Company has some ambitious projects running this year.

This month, TAG is starting a 10-week course for about 120 S2 girls from 24 schools across Glasgow, blending drama and performance with youth issues. It is being run in partnership with the city's youth services and Strathclyde Police.

TAG also plans to work in the Royston and Pollok areas of Glasgow, bringing together children and older people for a storytelling and drama project.

The groups will explore Love Like Salt, a tale which inspired Shakespeare's King Lear. The participants will devise a production with TAG, which will be directed by Emily Gray and performed at the end of March.

In April and May, TAG will run a project in association with Unicef for P5-P7s that aims to promote global citizenship through drama.

The project was designed for primary schools in East Renfrewshire but TAG hopes to make it available to schools throughout Scotland.

Setting the scene

The annual Bank of Scotland Children's International Theatre Festival, organised by Imaginate, will run from May 25-June 2. The schools programme will be published later this month.

Last year's festival attracted more than 16,000 children, teachers and parents at performances in Edinburgh theatres, Lothian schools and on tour across Scotland.

New chapter

Finally, a date to remember. World Book Day 2004 is March 4.

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