Developing Aberdeen’s crime-writing festival is a key objective for the city’s culture boss over the next few years.
Now in its fourth year, Granite Noir is set to be bigger than ever when it returns to the city from February 20-23, showcasing the very best in home-grown and international crime fiction.
In the second of a two-part interview with The Evening Express, Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokeswoman, has laid out her cultural priorities for the future, stating she’d like to “continue developing” the popular festival and “grow it into something more”.
She added: “I think it’s a really positive message for the city in terms of improving literacy and understanding our archives.”
The festival is one which has “gained momentum” recently, Ms Boulton said.
She said: “We’ve always tried to tie our archives into everything we do so this year we’ve got a court case from history being used.
“You can apply to be in the jury and there will be a bit of role playing and then the reality of what really happened.
“We’ve got the Ten Foot Tall theatre company doing that with APA.
“We’re trying to grow that festival. We’ve got archives, a Poisoned Afternoon Tea and escape rooms.”
Organisers are also trying to make sure the wider city centre feels involved in the festival.
Ms Boulton said: “One of the things I’m very keen on is that it’s not just about APA doing a festival, it’s about the city doing a festival.
“I’ll certainly work closely with Aberdeen Inspired and try to get them to get their restaurants involved.
“Mackies is doing a Granite Noir ice cream and BrewDog have done Granite Noir beers.
“We’re trying to make sure there’s a win for everyone but that will only work if people engage.
“We’re really trying to make it a city festival.”
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As revealed earlier this week, Ms Boulton hopes the Union Terrace Gardens revamp will have space for the cultural community.
Other priorities include encouraging city centre living, looking at how people move around the city and looking at options for the potential, or partial, pedestrianisation of Union Street.
In September 2018, the council agreed to waive the affordable housing contribution in the city centre for the next two years to help offset the financial risk associated with city centre development and to encourage more residential living.
Ms Boulton said: “We took out affordable housing purely because it’s very expensive to develop these upper floors but also we want people in the city who have disposable income so they will sustain the retail element.”