Kilmartin Glen, Argyll
4th - 16th September 2007, Preview: 3 September 2007.
HALF LIFE was a major landscape work and the first co-production between The National Theatre of Scotland and renowned innovators NVA. Staged throughout the day and night in one of the world’s most significant prehistoric regions, HALF LIFE offered a physical and emotive experience which reveals the dark but inspiring mindset of Scotland’s early Neolithic inhabitants. The extraordinarily rich heritage of Mid-Argyll has a remarkable story to tell, through thousands of years of intense marking of living rock formations and the raising and building of henges and burial complexes. It carries the beginnings of a truly cultural landscape.
HALF LIFE started by day, when you were invited to explore a series of atmospheric sites and installations based around known and rarely seen prehistoric landmarks. The route followed recently recovered archaeological field notes giving invaluable insight into the area. These included newly discovered cup and ring marked stones carved 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, magnificent burial cairns, standing stones and ancient hill forts, with walks ranging from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Dense forests were manipulated to create intriguing new entrances and vistas around chosen sites, while new audio compositions enhanced the existing sounds of the natural environment.
In the evening, a powerful outdoor production was staged in an atmospheric forest location at the entrance to Kilmartin glen, centred on a sculptural set constructed from hundreds of felled logs. Seen through the eyes of an eminent archaeologist, in HALF LIFE the realms of the living and the dead seemed to merge, bringing to light the remarkable beliefs that focussed the ritual activity in our earliest societies; beliefs that still echo through the present landscape.
HALF LIFE in the community
NTS learn were working with 100 third year pupils from Lochgilphead High School over a 13 week period. A team of leading artists with a variety of creative skills and backgrounds explored the idea of “Journey” in the physical, emotional and spiritual sense. The work created was a combination of: live performance, video imagery, art installation and music composition but most importantly work was created and owned by the pupils.
In addition, a bespoke work-shadowing programme ran for young adults to have a once in a lifetime chance to work alongside some of the UK’s specialists in the field of design, light and sound technology. The community opportunities were coordinated by our invaluable HALF LIFE Community Co-ordinator Margo Winning.
Day events Creative Director: Angus Farquhar Designers: James Johnson / Simon Costin Sound Curator: Barry Esson Sound Composers: Lee Patterson / Toshiya Tsunoda Book designers: Skratch
Night performance Creative Director: Angus Farquhar Co-Director: Mark Murphy Writer: Thomas Legendre Designers: James Johnson / Simon Costin Sound Curator: Barry Esson Lighting Designer: Phil Supple Composers: Rhodri Davies /Angharad Davies
HALF LIFE has raised Argyll & Bute’s profile nationally and internationally to broaden the range of quality events currently taking place. No equivalent nationally led arts project taken place in the region before and it remains pioneering on a UK wide level. The venture also realised its potential to boost the local economy by creating temporary employment and attracting significant tourism.
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