Hebridean Dark Skies Festival launches in 2019
- Henry Northmore
- 18 October 2018
A mix of theatre, music, film, art, science and star gazing on the Isle of Lewis
The Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides has some of the darkest skies in the UK. And this lack of light pollution means it is one of the best places for star gazing in the country. Taking advantage of this natural phenomenon is the inaugural Hebridean Dark Skies Festival which launches in February 2019 and promises a mix of art, science and astronomy.
The programme covers everything including music, film, theatre, workshops, talks and a special pre-schools programme all with a cosmic or nocturnal theme. The festival will open with a screening of 1925 German movie Wunder der Schöpfung ('Wonder of Creation') with a live score performed by Herschel 36 (aka jazz musicians Stu Brown and Paul Harrison) that premiered at the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival in 2016. It then closes with a screening of critically acclaimed Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy.
Other highlights include Whatever Gets You Through the Night, theatre director/writer Cora Bissett's collaboration with Scottish band Swimmer One and playwright David Greig, which is a gig / play / film that captures Scottish nightlife in all it's glory. Emma Pollock and Rachel Sermanni will be among the performers in this special Hebridean version of the award-winning multi-media project. Singer-songwriter Pollock will also be performing alongside Natalie Marr, who is working to protect Britain's dark sky space; Space Ape is sci-fi adventure for kids with storyteller Andy Cannon; there are also talks from science and space experts Heather Couper, Nigel Henbest and The Sky At Night's Chris Lintott.
If you would like to share your images of the night sky there is a photography competition for Hebridean residents and the ten best will be displayed at An Lanntair throughout the festival. The winner will receive a pass to Dark Skies and runners up will get a special VIP invite to the opening gala. Deadline for entries is 23 Nov.
The Isle of Lewis is also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights so if the conditions are right the Aurora Borealis might put in a special guest appearance.