Arts & Culture
Caithness and North Sutherland is a haven for creative people and those eager to learn about our past. Inspiration is drawn from the landscape and its stories. From the Viking and Norse influences to the Scots Gaelic language, artists and history lovers never tire of the area and flock from all over the world to Caithness and North Sutherland to live, work, perform and create.
In order to nurture this strong interest in arts and culture, there is an array of clubs, events and organisations in the area which allow us to dabble in different creative outlets. We’re proud to be home to the most northerly UK mainland creative venues, museums and galleries which each run the most incredible programme of events, exhibitions and festivals. Here you’ll find a little more information on each and how you can get involved.
Live Performance Venues
The Mill Theatre in Thurso is home to the Thurso Players. Seating an audience of 88, it sees countless amateur and professional touring performances. The theatre allows the amateur dramatics group, Thurso Players a space to learn about all areas of performance and theatre.
Lyth Arts Centre (LAC) is the UK’s most northerly mainland arts centre. Every year from March to December, they present a programme of live performances from touring companies and visual arts – from Scotland, the UK and the world. This includes theatre, dance, family events, jazz, folk, classical and world music, comedy, circus, and much more.
Thurso Players amateur dramatics group are based within The Mill Theatre in Thurso. Groups of all ages are welcome to get involved with learning about performance, backstage, lighting and technical. Check out their facebook page for more details of how to join.
Wick Players amateur dramatics group are based in Moray Street, Wick and host their performances in the town’s Assembly Rooms. The club has been running for over 80 years! Groups of all ages are welcome to get involved to learn about performance, backstage, lighting and technical. All ages are welcome, check out their facebook page for more details of how to join.
Caithness Young Company is an innovative and introductory project offering in-depth training for aspiring performers, directors, technicians and writers into the world of professional theatre.
Led by Lyth Arts Centre, the programme of activity and work created by the young people will form part of the annual programme at the arts centre, including the Lyth Family Festival and the Summer and Winter Exhibitions.
Art Clubs and Groups
Firmly in the Summer social calendar is the Society of Caithness Artists annual exhibition. The exhibition attracts talent from all over Caithness and HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay even submits some of his work! The prince is an honorary Caithnessian as he spends Summer holidays here at his Grandmother’s holiday home in Mey.
The society not only offer a fantastic opportunity to have work shown, but offer a wide social circle of creative, talented people. The Caithness landscape offers so much inspiration its easy to see how our area boasts so many talented artists.
Thurso Camera Club offers keen photographers, both amateur and professional an opportunity to come together in a social environment to share their hints, tips and photographs with one another and the general public.
Art Studios & Workshops
Lindsey Gallacher owns and runs a Studio and Workshop in Thurso town centre. The intimate space allows visitors to pop in for a chat with Lindsey, browse items and even take part in a practical workshop to create a personalised piece of jewellery. Lindsay uses the ever popular Caithness Stone in much of her work which makes it even more special for both visitors and locals.
Patricia Niemann is a qualified goldsmith and designer for gemstones, jewellery and studio glass. Her studio and showroom is open to visitors. Patricia was born and bred in Bavaria, Germany but has been a Caithness resident for more than a decade.
Lotte Glob is a Danish Ceramist who has been living and working on the North West coast of Scotland for the past 50 years. Lotte explains on her website of her close, continuing and intense relationship with the landscape – an endless source of inspiration for her work. Lotte’s Studio and Sculpture Croft is outside Caithness in the neighbouring county of Sutherland.
North Shore Pottery is the studio of Ceramic artist Jenny Mackenzie Ross. Visitors are welcome in the Summer season months. In addition to the studio is a small gallery where items can be purchased.
North Lands Creative is a unique studio organisation and gallery in Lybster, Caithness. They focus on contemporary glass and have a national importance in developing glass in the UK. Through the Alastair Pilkington Studio and Gallery, North Lands Creative facilitates and supports professional artists to make new artwork. It also offers an accessible programme of talks, events and education activities around the studio and gallery which allows local people and visitors to get involved.
Museums and Heritage Centres
Strathnaver Museum is situated on the north coast of Scotland not far from Caithness. It is based in the former Parish Church of Columba in Bettyhill, Sutherland and opened as a museum in 1976. Its main theme is the tragic story of the Highland Clearances, it has a room dedicated to the Clan Mackay and also tells the story of crofting life. The Museum has a strong group of friendly and dedicated volunteers who would love to welcome new people to the area.
Since 1971, the Wick Society has striven to protect and promote Wick’s history. Today the Wick Society has under its wing the Heritage Centre, Isabella Fortuna, Johnston Collection, and Wick Voices – a oral history project.
Visitors and locals are encouraged to go along and enjoy the displays. The Society is run on a voluntary basis and new members are always welcome.
Dunbeath Heritage Centre provides a focus for the work of Dunbeath Preservation Trust. Acting as a research base, repository for research data, manuscripts, photographs and items of local material culture; an exhibition and interpretation space; a venue for lectures, storytelling and workshops; a gathering place for local people and visitors – young and old – alike.
Timespan is a cultural institution in Helmsdale, a village in Caithness’ neighbouring county, Sutherland. Timespan comprises of a local history museum, contemporary art programme, geology and herb gardens, shop, bakery and cafe.
Castlehill Heritage Centre is operated by Castletown Heritage Society as a visitor experience and educational resource. Themed exhibitions are held throughout the year featuring the history, heritage, biodiversity and social history of Castletown and the parish of Olrig. The Society also runs workshop and training days featuring local and vernacular skills which allows local people and visitors a chance to lean new things alongside like minded people.