Robert McLellan was the most important Scottish dramatist and short story writer to work in living Scots in the twentieth century and his influence on the world of Scottish writing has been crucial. Since his centenary in 2007, the festival has continued, not simply as a celebration of McLellan himself, but with a view to providing the means of creating new work in Scottish writing. Poetry and competitions are popular, and the creative skills of young people are developed through skilled work in the visual arts, including film, as well as running a students' music school on the island during the festival week. There is also a constant drive to forge cultural links with other rural and island communities.

Arran Summer School

As part of the McLellan Arts Festival, the Arran Summer School is an ten-day intensive course for aspiring solo singers. The school caters for 16 students, who spend their days developing their technique and performance skills. The course is very intensive, but also relaxed and non-competitive and friendly expert tutors provide a supportive atmosphere for vocal and artistic development. Students receive five individual vocal tuition sessions in addition to repertoire coaching. The course culminates in a students' performance of an opera gala, giving opportunity for solo and group performances, and in a concert performance of an oratorio, in which local singers join with the students as chorus members.

Previous tutors include: Peter Alexander Wilson, Patricia MacMahon, David Jones, John Fisher, Alec Crowe and John Wilson. The summer school 2015 will run from August 28th – September 8th and will cost £550 including all accommodation, food and teaching. For information contact Peter Alexander Wilson at Royal Northern College Manchester on 07879 631422.

The song 'Isle of Arran' is performed on the following video by the students of the Royal Northern College of Music: