With the pandemic lockdown closing literary festivals around the world, Jackie Kay was inspired to curate an online festival to entertain and connect the public while providing paid work for writers and performers. The season of readings is called Makar To Makar. 'Makar' is a Scots word for ‘poet or bard’. The events will stream every Thursday from 14 May until 27 August, with each show lasting approximately 40 minutes, finishing in time for people to be able to clap for the NHS at 8pm. Jackie Kay will host each show. Rather than reveal the entire programme, each performer will reveal who will follow them the following week at the close of their set. Each week there will be a rich mix of poetry and music.
What we can say about the programme is that it will feature established talent and exciting new voices, plus surprises. The acts were handpicked by Kay, creating a personal and revealing choice of writers and musicians based in Britain and beyond. We hope the shows will become a weekly highlight for many. The shows will stream via the National Theatre of Scotland's YouTube channel. Each event is free and open to anyone with an internet connection to view.