10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this May

  • The List
  • 1 May 2019
10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this May

Edinburgh International Children's Festival, The Little Bath / credit: Jean Louis Fernandez

Including Hidden Door, SMHAF, Riverside and Mayfesto

Hidden Door

It may have downsized slightly this year, but that doesn't make Hidden Door any less of a crucial component of the Scottish cultural landscape. Back once again at the reinvigorated Leith Theatre, this long weekender plays host to the likes of Ray BLK, East Lothian hip-hoppers The Honey Farm, Glasgow DJ Sarra Wild, and the brilliantly named pop experimenters Let's Eat Grandma.
Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 30 May–Sun 2 Jun.

Scottish Ballet

Another 50th anniversary bash this year has Scottish Ballet tearing up floors in celebration, kicking off with Spring!, featuring choreography from Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Sophie Laplane.
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Thu 4–Sat 6 Apr; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 2–Sat 4 May.

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

Keeping the issue of mental health firmly on the public agenda, SMHAF puts together another important event with the theme Connected driving the programme.
Various venues, nationwide, Fri 3–Sun 26 May.

Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Another innovative and exciting line-up of children's theatre is assembled by Noel Jordan with France, Australia and the United Kingdom among the nations represented.
Various venues, Edinburgh, Sat 25 May–Sun 2 Jun.

Take Me Somewhere

Returning for a third year, the drama festival which invokes the spirit of Glasgow's Arches demonstrates flexibility and inclusivity with Mette Ingvartsen, Simone Kenyon, V/DA and Ivo Dimchev all on the bill.
Various venues, nationwide, Sat 11 May–Sun 2 Jun.


A top-notch bank holiday weekend is lit up with Scotland's biggest electronic music festival welcoming Jon Hopkins, Rebekah, Daniel Avery, Carista and many more to the bonny banks of the Clyde.
Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Sat 25 & Sun 26 May.

Werq The World

High flyers from RuPaul's Drag Race sashay into town for Werq the World with their usual overflowing levels of glamour as they attempt to save the universe, both metaphorically and in plot terms.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Mon 6 May; SEC, Glasgow, Fri 17 May.

Bill Bailey

With Larks in Transit, the hirsute musical comic explores the notion of happiness and mashes up some unlikely sonic pairings to stupendous effect.
Caird Hall, Dundee, Wed 29 May; SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Thu 30 May; Edinburgh Playhouse, Fri 31 May.


The art of performance gets an uplift for an entire calendar month with the latest instalment of Mayfesto bringing us the likes of Johnny McKnight reimagining a Dario Fo classic and Apphia Campbell revisiting Woke.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 1–Fri 31 May.

James Yorkston

(Chosen by comedian Phill Jupitus)
There are moments when an artist or performer hits a rare vein of form. The timing of these purple patches is, sadly, completely unpredictable. James Yorkston seems to be in just such a place with the release of his new long player The Route to the Harmonium. Unlike previous albums, it was crafted over a much longer period, sandwiched between his other duties as an author, club promoter, band member and dad. It is an extraordinary work, imbued with an enticing sonic palate, heart-twanging lyrics and melodies that ebb and flow like the chill waters of Cellardyke Harbour. The single 'My Mouth Ain't No Bible' is a worthy challenger to the 'speak song' crown of Tom Waits. As a live performer, his bone-dry wit and laid-back demeanour make him supremely watchable. Like a kind of hipster Chic Murray.
Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack, Tolbooth, Stirling, Sat 25 May; Dundee Rep, Fri 31 May; James Yorkston, Summerhall, Edinburgh, Thu 2 May; Òran Mór, Glasgow, Fri 3 May.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Bill Bailey: En Route to Normal

How did we get here? How do we find our way through this? And exactly who are we again? In Bill’s newest show, Bill ponders this and other questions that this moment in history has thrown up, and tries to see a way through the strange unreality of our new world. Tracing lines through chaotic moments in history, Bill seeks…

3Arena, Dublin

Fri 14 Jan 2022


AO Arena, Manchester

Wed 22 Dec

£0–£45 / 0844 847 8000

Utilita Arena Birmingham

Tue 21 Dec

£35–£45 / 0871 945 6000

Also at:

…and at 4 other places

Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Edinburgh's international children's festival of performing arts presents a programme of dance, storytelling and puppetry, suitable for anyone with an imagination.

Various venues: Edinburgh

Wed 26 May

Times & prices vary / 0131 228 1404

Thu 27 May

Times & prices vary / 0131 228 1404

Fri 28 May

Times & prices vary / 0131 228 1404

…and 9 more dates until 6 Jun

James Yorkston

Folk from the Fife musician.

The Jazz Cafe, London NW1

Sat 22 May

£20 / 0844 847 2514

Riverside Festival

The Electric Frog crew and Pressure once again join forces to present their outdoor electronic music festival.

Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Fri 3 Sep

Prices vary / 0141 287 2720

Sat 4 Sep

Prices vary / 0141 287 2720

Sun 5 Sep

Prices vary / 0141 287 2720

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

One of Scotland’s most diverse and inclusive cultural events, combining high quality artistic events with extensive community-led programming and a social justice agenda.

Online events

Mon 3 May

prices vary

Tue 4 May

prices vary

Wed 5 May

prices vary

…and 18 more dates until 23 May

Hidden Door Festival

Volunteer-run arts organisation Hidden Door returns for a long weekender of music and art.


Mayfesto celebrates edgy and provocative new work and theatre that focuses on what's going on in the world, responding to recent events.

Take Me Somewhere

The spirit of The Arches lives on in this festival of contemporary international performance.

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

  • 3 stars

Phill Jupitus talks about his relocation to Scotland and how that's going for him.

Scottish Ballet: Spring! Dextera & Elite Syncopations

Double-bill of works in celebration of Scottish Ballet's 50th anniversary year, featuring Dextera by Sophie Laplane and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 1 Tour

The stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season one bring the glitter and glamour on this UK-wide tour.

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