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Top performers take up tourism roles

Press Release   •   Jan 27, 2017 11:44 GMT

Sophie Martin, Principal Dancer with Scottish Ballet, is captured on film by cameramen Andy Ashworth and Jonny Ashworth from Cut Media as they shoot VisitScotland’s new performing arts video at Tramway, Glasgow. Picture: James Glossop

Top names from the worlds of ballet, opera and theatre have taken to the global stage in a new VisitScotland film showcasing the vibrancy of Scotland’s performing arts scene.

The film – which stars Scottish Ballet Principal Dancer Sophie Martin, Edinburgh-born soprano Eleanor Dennis and Barrie Hunter, a leading actor at Dundee Repertory Theatre – can now be viewed on the national tourism organisation’s website and YouTube channel.

Part of VisitScotland’s global Spirit of Scotland #ScotSpirit campaign, the video shows behind-the-scenes footage of the artists as they explain why performing in Scotland is an experience like no other.

Sophie Martin, a French-born ballet star who has lived in Scotland for more than 13 years, said: “In Scottish Ballet, everyone is in the same spirit. It’s almost like a family and in Scotland you can feel that sense of everyone sticking together. It’s very friendly.

“I am delighted to be involved in VisitScotland’s ‘Spirit of Scotland’ campaign to help promote Scotland and its diverse culture and arts scene. I am a Principal dancer with Scottish Ballet and the VisitScotland team came to Scottish Ballet’s HQ at Tramway in Glasgow and shadowed me for the day, filming me in class and during rehearsal. I am very proud to be a part of Scotland’s national dance company and I love performing for Scottish audiences.”

Barrie Hunter, who is currently in rehearsals for Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman at Dundee Rep Theatre, was filmed at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre. He said: “I am delighted to be part of the VisitScotland online video spotlighting the arts in Scotland. As an actor working in Scotland, I am proud to be part of a vibrant and vital arts scene that punches well above its weight both here and on a global stage.

“A Scottish audience let you know when they are in the room. There’s a warmth and a generosity of spirit there. I think they truly appreciate that you are bringing a show to them.”

Eleanor Dennis was born in Edinburgh in 1987 but moved with her family to Ellon in Aberdeenshire when she was three. A highly acclaimed and hugely experienced lead with English National Opera, she recently made her debut with Scottish Opera as Contessa in Sir Thomas Allen’s production of The Marriage of Figaro at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow.

She said: “I really can’t think of any other country in the world that’s got such a wide access to first-class opera like Scotland does.”

Eleanor added: “There’s nothing more amazing than standing there in front of an appreciative audience, singing your heart out.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “The unique spirit of Scotland’s vibrant performing arts scene is captured beautifully in our new film. We are delighted that three such distinguished performers have taken part, sharing their experiences of what it means to be on stage in front of a Scottish audience. We hope that the film will inspire visitors to take in a show and enjoy that amazing atmosphere for themselves.”

To watch the video on the VisitScotland website, click here:
To view it on YouTube, click here:

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
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    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017