l ANNA Stapleton, Administrative Director at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, has announced that she will be stepping down from the position in June.

"As the company enters a new phase of development, including planning and fundraising for a capital project to restore the physical fabric of the building, it was the right time for me to pass on the reins," she said. Stapleton has spent 35 years in the performing arts industry, 13 of them at the Gorbals theatre. Her legacy includes stints as Drama and Dance Director at the Scottish Arts Council and Drama Director for Arts Council England.

l BEST-SELLING author Alexander McCall Smith, below, will be unwrapping a few nicely packaged anecdotes ahead of Christmas when he takes to the stage at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening. There's a strong musical element to the event, too, as the writer chats about the tunes that have inspired Sunshine On Scotland Street and his other novels, accompanied by a small group and a choir from St Mary's Music School. It all gets under way at 7.30pm.

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l STEVE Mason, founder member of The Beta Band, has announced details of his third solo album, to be released on March 11. Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time is Mason's most openly political album, fuelled not only by the current global climate but also the lack of dissenting voices in popular culture. It features nine songs recorded in London and a further 11 short linking pieces assembled in the musician's studio in Fife. A video for album track Fight Them Back is streaming at Mason's website.


l ROCK supergroup Asia, who were due to play the Queen's Hall on Monday, have been forced to cancel their entire UK tour due to drummer Carl Palmer coming down with a severe case of E. coli. Earlier this year, the band, which also features original members Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and John Wetton, released 30th anniversary album XXX. Tickets are refundable from point of purchase.