Key Information:


October 2012 - May 2013


National Theatre of Scotland

Project Subject

Exploring car use with Shetland Residents.


Brae, Bigton, Cullivoe

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In October 2012, National Theatre of Scotland and Shetland Arts, with support from Creative Scotland, started ‘Ignition’, a project exploring with Shetland residents the bittersweet relationships with the automobile – how it shapes us, defines us, supports us, frees us, challenges our attitudes towards our dwindling resources and, sometimes, kills us.

Exploring our many complex interactions with the automobile, Ignition engaged with Shetland’s residents, to explore both the personal and global impact of their use in our lives, in a group of islands that are home to Europe’s largest oil terminal and a centre of renewable energy research and development.

Ignition used a range of workshops/residencies, pop-up events and public events to help gather information from as many of Shetland’s residents as possible. This included Dance and Parkour Workshops exploring travel. The White Wife, an actor travelling round Shetland’s long and winding roads, used a number of methods to gather ‘car stories’, from hitch-hiking, to Sunday Teas on Wheels, to travelling ‘On Da Buses’ exploring the use of public transport.

Music was also been used to extract some stories and thoughts about the car – Ignition’s resident composer Hugh Nankivell worked with schools and music groups to write and arrange music inspired by travel and transport.

On 12th January, 2013 an open day was held at Mareel, inviting the public to stop and think about how cars are involved in their lives, and share more stories.

Ignition culminated with a final series of performances that delivered one of the most ambitious, exciting and unique site theatre experiences, and use the car itself as part of the theatre space. There were a total of 7 performances, at Brae, Bigton and Cullivoe.


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