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What is the car doing for us? What is the car doing to us?

A creative project led by Wils Wilson (Director) and John Haswell (Associate Director) in Shetland, from October 2012, resulting in a series of performances on Shetland in March 2013.

Over the course of seven months from October 2012, all 23,000 inhabitants of Shetland are invited to explore our bittersweet relationship with the automobile - how it shapes us, defines us, supports us, frees us, challenges our attitudes towards our dwindling resources and, sometimes, kills us. Spurred by the tragic death in November 2007 of Stuart Henderson, a young 18 year old Shetlander, in a car crash, Ignition will explore the global and personal impact that our reliance on the car and its fuel has on our lives.

Set in Shetland, a beautiful, remote archipelago of over 100 islands, host to Europe’s largest oil terminal and a centre for renewable energy research and development, the project promises to excavate personal ‘car stories’ through a programme of unique, car-related, but unmistakably Shetland-flavoured engagement activities, climaxing in a large scale outdoor performance.

The team will begin engaging with the people of Shetland from October 2012 with six performances in Shetland in March 2013.

The creative team include: Wils Wilson (Director), John Haswell (Associate Director), Chris Grant (Parkour Director), Becky Minto (Designer), Janice Parker (Movement Director), Hugh Nankivell (Composer)

Shetland Arts’ John Haswell said: ‘Shetland Arts is proud to be working in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland on this important project. It has been a long journey of almost five years since the tragic death of Stuart Henderson but now I am absolutely delighted that Ignition is really going to happen. It is wonderful to be working with such a talented group of people and I am certain that this dynamic project will engage with the Shetland public and that their engagement will help shape the final piece into something that will have an impact for many years to come.’

Director Wils Wilson said: ‘It's absolutely wonderful to be asked back to Shetland (after Home: Shetland 2006) to create Ignition with John. Firstly there's Shetland, and its people, who will make, dance, write, drive and dream Ignition into being. Then there's the scale of the thing, the ambition behind the project to touch the lives of so many people and create something together, to ignite creativity and community. And there's the car: that confusing, complex, powerful, iconic, dangerous, provocative, exciting invention that has been inventing us for more than a century.  Get in and buckle up!’

Ignition received over £167,000 through Creative Scotland’s Year of Creative Scotland programme.

Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland said: ‘Ignition will create first in a lifetime experiences for the Shetland community to enjoy and participate in creative activity where they might not otherwise have the opportunity. The location with its inherent transport challenges, whilst also being an oil centre of global significance, makes Shetland uniquely placed to artistically explore our relationship with the car. We hope as many islanders as possible get involved in this exciting project as part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

Planned activities include:

School Events:

Dream Cars – from October; workshops will take place in primary and secondary schools with the pupils designing their dream cars and planning their dream journeys as well as devising a giant live car game. Workshops will also take place with youth groups around Shetland who will be working with old cars and bringing them back to life.

Parkour – 3 December-March 2013; a parkour specialist will run workshops in schools looking at the different ways that they can map and travel across the local landscape.

Pop Up Events:

The White Wife – 13-22 Oct; the White Wife of Shetland folklore will be hitch hiking her way around Shetland and asking drivers to give her a lift and share their car stories on the journey.

Sunday Teas – 21 Oct, 16 Dec, 10 Feb; the White Wife will be bringing Sunday Teas to Shetlanders around the islands. These will take place at care homes, hospitals and community venues (21 Oct) as well as popping up at bus stops (16 Dec) and on ferries (10 Feb) around Shetland.

Back of the Bus – 14-22 December; The White Wife will be resident in the back of the Shetland buses collecting travel stories and exploring the fractured relationship between bus drivers and young Shetlanders.

Ferry Tales – 11-16 Feb; the White Wife will be back to collect more stories but this time she will be on the inter island ferries and at the ferry terminals collecting more stories.


Public Events:

Car Yarns - from 25 October; Inviting all Shetland knitters to knit squares to create the panels of a car, from bumpers and windscreen wipers to headlights and doors. Drop In sessions will be taking place at Shetland Library (5.30-8pm on Thursday 25th Oct, 1st, 8th & 15th Nov) and Mareel Café Bar (6.30-9.30pm on Tuesday 6th, 20th & 27th Nov) where knitters will be encouraged to ‘mak’ (knit) and ‘yarn’ (share stories). Tea, coffee and cake (yarn fuel) will be available.

Ignition Open Day – 12 January; Mareel, Lerwick; An opportunity to become involved in Ignition and enjoy the installation of the car panels used in Car Yarns, the dressing of the car with its knitted gansey, parkour workshops, remote control car rallys, road safety workshops, an interactive journey following the White Wife’s story so far, Dream Car workshops, listen to car stories and join in a series of lectures, seminars and invited speakers on the future of Shetland, oil, transport, innovation, energy.

New Journeys in Familiar Places - 22-24 Feb; Northern Focus Parkour will take an audience of 12 on a journey with a difference. Taking place around Lerwick it will focus on travel without using roads using the discipline of parkour and invisible theatre. Tickets will be available from Mareel Arts centre on 01595 745555.

Ignition – 25-30 March 2013; final performance details to be announced.

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