Cady Crowley

This year’s On the Rocks Festival is coming early to St Andrews, with a fall semester event taking over the town Saturday, November 18th. We took the time to find out what you’ll need to make the most of your On The Rocks experience by interviewing the Head of Events, Oliver Savage, so study up, and get excited for your immersive arts experience!

1. How would you describe On The Rocks Festival to students new to St Andrews?

OTR is the largest student-run arts festival in the UK, providing an opportunity for students in St Andrews to showcase their amazing creative talent, as well as encouraging people from around the country to contribute their work. We programme a wide variety of exhibitions, shows, and events from across the St Andrews community, encouraging students to make and do really exciting things, but we also demonstrate the amazing creative world that’s waiting outside the bubble. Basically, it’s a platform to promote creativity in our little seaside town, and show that St Andrews might be small, but it definitely packs a creative punch!

2. What kind of events can we expect to see this year?

We’ve already had a wide variety of event applications for OTR 2018, but on top of that, we also run a collection of entirely free events that we organise ourselves – as the Head of Events for OTR, I’m in charge of putting those together.

This year, we’re focusing on the theme of ‘alternative creativity.’ On The Rocks does a great job of encouraging creative students to make things and showcase their work, and we want to build on that by demonstrating that creativity isn’t just for the arts. At the moment, we’re exploring events that discuss creativity in business, science, sport – or basically any sector at all. Notably, we’re going to be holding a ‘Creativity in Industry’ panel event, where we will be inviting high ranking professionals from a variety of industries to talk about the creativity required in their jobs. And on a slightly different level, we will be holding a cocktail making class – because of course, there’s creativity everywhere, and especially in bartending!

3. The Semester 1 event is going to be on “immersive art experiences”. Can you tell me a little about what that’s going to look like?

Absolutely! So for the semester 1 event, we’ve built an immersive art exhibition themed around the idea of life in St Andrews. That means that there will be lots of things for you to see (like sculpture, painting, photography, film, fashion, creative writing, performances – plenty to look at) but there will also be lots of things for you to do. A few of our individual pieces are interactive, and we’ve got a programme of workshops that has been released on our Facebook page. As well as that, there is space to try some creative writing, and space to tell us your thoughts about the exhibition.

Alongside all that, we’ve also got a little scavenger hunt going on – if you make it around the exhibition and manage to find everything, then just tell us your name and you’ll be entered in to a draw to win a prize at our cocktail reception between 8pm and 10pm. Don’t worry, more details about this will be available when you arrive!

4. What about this semester’s On The Rocks event gets you most excited?

I think for me, the programme of workshops is really very exciting, and that’s what makes this exhibition a little bit different. We’ve got lots of different things from sculpting to painting to jewellery making, and I’m just particularly excited about seeing how people interact with that and watching what they come up with. Putting together the workshop programme has been hard work, but I really think it will pay off and will be something people enjoy!

5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to make the most out of their On The Rocks experience?

That’s a great question – I think I would give two pieces of kind of contradictory advice. First, I would say just see as much as you can. Take a gamble on some events that you’re not quite sure about. The Edinburgh Student Arts Festival contributes a show to OTR every year – I was unsure about going to see their piece last year because it looked different and a bit weird, but I went along and had an absolutely amazing time. So see as much as you can, even if you’re not sure about it.

My second piece of advice would be to plan ahead. The OTR programme will be launched early next semester, which means you will have plenty of time to pick out which pieces you want to see and which events to attend. If you make yourself an OTR calendar, or even just circle the pieces you like the look of in the programme, it will make the week much easier for you!

On The Rocks will take place Saturday, November 18th, from 12pm-8pm. For more information, visit their Facebook page here