The Secret Sign

Finnich Glen, Drymen

May 9th – 16th 1998

The Secret Sign was presented at the ‘Devils Pulpit’ in Finnich Glen near Loch Lomond, Stirlingshire. One of the best kept secrets of lowland Scotland, the stunning natural gorge has entranced generations, with its intense greenness, dramatic geology and colourful history from its druidic origins to its role as a secret covenanters meeting place!

The audience were taken on a ‘walk in the dark’ wearing hard hats and wading boots, through the dark waters entering a magical landscape, brought alive by a huge environmental installation with light, sound, projection, fire and specifically created effects.

Working across all media, the journey evoked the northern seasons and their equivalent human emotions in a powerful and timeless setting.

The innovative use of sound is always central to NVA productions.  The soundtrack for the event was built out of the natural elements - the play of water on rocks, the shift of wind in trees and gullies, the calls of different birds and animals.  These elements combined with live playing to evolve a complex and haunting accompaniment to the visual animation.

The Secret Sign funded by New Directions in autumn 1997 was easily one of the most challenging projects undertaken by NVA. The reality of safely taking a live audience on a night-time gorge walk with wild birds of prey as the main performers offers perhaps unrepeatable challenges to be overcome! Dealing with everything from freak two metre high spate floods, trapped vehicles and near zero night-time temperatures, the company managed to produce a triumphant and groundbreaking event, hailed by the Herald newspaper as warranting ‘a matter of national urgency that the sell-out run be extended’!

Past Projects