Insider Interview Aberdeen: Ben Torrie

By: Katie Manning

January 10, 2013

Pic Donald Stewart. 07768727505

Ben Torrie is Head of Programming for the Lemon Tree, His Majesty’s Theatre and the Music Hall, in Aberdeen. Working at the heart of the arts scene in the city, he’s programmed an array of music, theatre, dance, music and comedy for the venues, including Emile Sande, Scottish Ballet, Sarah Millican and John Bishop. We chatted with him about his city highlights.

Aberdeen has some great arts spaces. What do you enjoy most about working here?

The variety of what you can see across the venues: on any given night there can be a multi-million pound West End musical, a world famous rock band, or a cutting edge new play. We manage to get some huge names to come and play up here; I’m really proud of that. And that’s just us; the galleries in Aberdeen also do a great job of showcasing international, as well as Scottish talent.


His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen © michimaya

What’s your favourite cultural space to hang out in and why?

It depends on what mood I’m in. I’ve a lot of affection for The Lemon Tree; it has a great atmosphere. But if I’m looking to chill out, I’ll generally wander around the Aberdeen Art Gallery: the 19th century architecture of the building is great and they always have good exhibitions inside.

Aberdeen Art Gallery | Aberdeen

Aberdeen Art Gallery © Aberdeen Performing Arts

When you’re off the clock, where do you like to eat and drink in Aberdeen

In terms of a hidden gem, La Stella on Adelphi Lane does great Mediterranean food; the Moonfish Cafe, too, while tiny and a bit off the beaten track is well worth the trip. For drinks in Aberdeen, The Illicit Still has a great atmosphere or The Noose and Monkey does good drinks and entertainment.

The Noose And Monkey | Aberdeen

The Noose & Monkey, Aberdeen © Noose & Monkey

Aberdeen is surrounded by beautiful coastline and great walks. What are your favourite(s) and why?

I have two favourites. One is Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven; it’s a ruined medieval fortress set out on a rock just off the coastline – it’s an absolutely stunning spot. I also love just taking a walk in the sand dunes at Balmedie; they stretch for 14 miles from Aberdeen to Newburgh.

King's College | Aberdeen

King’s College, Aberdeen © Anna Millar

What one thing should any visitor to Aberdeen do?

The city centre of Aberdeen is great; but if you want to head for something a little different take a walk down to Old Aberdeen, which lies just to the north of the city. I like to take a wander through King’s College and on to St Machar’s Cathedral and the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens when I have time.


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places