FIVE performing artists based in Shetland, or with strong connections to the islands, have been selected by Shetland Arts to receive support for producing new work. The first performance took place at Mareel this week - A Journey of Flight – and other commissions are underway with their performances taking place over the coming months. 

A Journey of Flight - A Dance Performance Project from Kathryn Spence

Performed at Mareel 14/02/2023

“The overarching theme is migration of birds, through an all-female, 30-minute dance theatre piece.  This immersive performance experience will focus on arrivals and departures, reasons behind moving on and nostalgia of places, as well as the notion of flight itself. Inspiration comes from the changing of seasons, ocean currents and light, as well as migratory patterns of sea birds.

These themes feel relatable to the crises of migration and refugees. Inspired by Shetland seabirds, we cannot overlook the recent devastating impact of avian flu, which leads to discussion around our environmental and climate futures. By exploring the landscape and those in it through the meditative experience of performance, we bring these issues to the forefront.”

Slew – A Performance Knitting Project from Helen Robertson

Livestream on Tuesday 21st March

“I have long held an image in my mind of a deckchair sitting on a beach, the seat of which is knitted in the Shetland Print and the Wave Lace pattern. I see this as tying together various parts of my own and other islanders heritage. For countless generations, Shetlanders were reliant on the sea and knitting for survival. The image of an empty deckchair with the sea views through the sea inspired lace would be a powerful one I think. It pays tribute to the hard work and skill of the past generations while acknowledging and symbolising our own modern possibilities for leisure.”

The Eyland Project - A Musical Project from Renzo Spiteri

Performance 31st March – 2nd April at Brae Hall, Lerwick Town Hall, Bigton Hall

“Through a collaborative, creative process, we soon started making the most of David Boyter’s Scottish background and his particular interest in developing the role of fretted instruments within the rich seam of traditional music and my own Mediterranean musical roots. With the recent inclusion of Shetlander Sophie Wishart into our collaborative process, we are now fusing the diverse musical identities that each of us brings. The result is a melting pot of musical ideas that range from Scottish folk to Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern rhythmic patterns, creating The Eyland Project’s distinctive sound.

Our original music sits at the intersection between folk and world music, creating an exciting fusion of moods, melodies and rhythms. We anticipate that the diversity and texture of our music will engage and draw audiences into the beauty and energy that our repertoire will transmit.”

Me, Myself and Mary (Queen of Scots) – A Play from Jordanna O’Neill

Performance Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 April at Mareel

“Me, Myself and Mary (Queen of Scots) is a new play by award winning writer Raymond Friel currently being developed in collaboration with Shetlanders Director Jordanna O’Neill (Director) and Marjolein Robertson (Performer). The play will have an original score and will be suitable for teenage and adult audiences.

The one woman play with a cast of thousands! Join citizen historian - and proud Shetlander - Mary Fraser, on a whistle-stop tour of Queen Mary’s life and times and – amazingly - how it mirrors her own! (With less beheadings and an annoying sister…) Jam-packed with murder, mayhem, intrigue, family infights and gender politics, the story of Queen Mary’s life is more relevant now than ever … and all of this with a Shetland twist.”

The Living Mountain Trio – Musical Project from Jenny Sturgeon

Performance Date TBC

“For this commission I will work in collaboration with two of Scotland’s finest musicians to develop and create something truly special. Working alongside bassist, synth player and projectionist Grant Anderson and cello player Alice Allen, together we will create a dynamic, rich and immersive experience for Shetland audiences. We will explore our use of and interaction with instrumentation, live loop/field recording triggering, new song arrangements and film.”

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