Ten collaborative music, theatre and film projects from Scotland
- Mark Fisher
- 7 November 2012
It sounded like an unlikely dish, with ingredients including off-beat artist David Shrigley (who wrote the libreto), modernist composer David Fennessy and Magnetic North director Nicholas Bone working with the Red Note Ensemble, but when it emerged from the oven, this ‘sort of opera about cookery’ turned out to be funny, surreal and very tasty. Audiences and critics sent their compliments to the chef.
Take filmmaker David Mackenzie, sculptor Martin Boyce and saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, give them a Vital Spark award, tell them to drop their artistic preconceptions and send them out into the world together. The result: an ongoing series of unclassifiable installations at Glasgow’s Tramway. Gallery, cinema or concert hall? Yes to all of the above
An after-hours reverie at Glasgow’s Arches that pooled the talents of actor/director Cora Bissett, dramaturg David Greig and the band Swimmer One, plus contributions from Ricky Ross, Annie Griffin and many others, resulting in a hybrid that was neither theatre nor gig, but was loved by anyone who’d stayed up past their bedtime. Oh, and there was also a movie.
Glasgow’s A Band Called Quinn earned a theatrical pedigree when they provided the live soundtrack to Vanishing Point’s dystopian version of The Beggar’s Opera at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum in 2009. In October 2012, members of the band hooked up with Grid Iron director Ben Harrison at Glasgow’s Arches for a blend of storytelling, music and film by Uisdean Murray – plus silent-disco technology – based on a play by Pippa Bailey.
Was it a ceilidh? Was it a modern dance performance? Did you watch? Did you join in? Yes, yes, yes and yes, as Frank McConnell’s Highlands-based dance company Plan B hooked up with the foot-stomping Shooglenifty (no mean masher of genres themselves) for a show where the lines between participation and performance were well and truly blurred.
Graham Eatough, best known as the artistic director of the now defunct Suspect Culture, and Graham Fagen, visual artist, have collaborated on a series of shows that sit at the meeting place between performance and installation. The most recent, at Glasgow’s Tramway and part of Glasgow International, featured a film crew putting together a movie while the audience raced from set to set piecing together the story.
The finished results were recognisably opera, but many of the collaborators were a surprise. Scottish Opera commissioned 15-minute librettos from names previously unfamiliar to the genre, including novelists Louise Welsh, Zoe Strachan, Bernard MacLaverty and Ian Rankin, teaming them up with composers including John Harris, Lyle Cresswell and Craig Armstrong. The result was 15 short operas produced between 2008 and 2010. www.scottishopera.org.uk
Still in production, this Glasgow-set musical feature film is bringing the talents of Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch to the big screen as he re-imagines his 60s-infused 2009 album of the same name in cinematic terms. As well as drawing money from Channel 4’s Alpha Fund, the film has been crowd-funded through Kickstarter by the many fans who can’t wait to see it happen.
With its after-hours rambles into the Scottish countryside, NVA has brought on board all manner of musicians, technicians and performers. For the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival, artistic director Angus Farquhar headed to Arthur’s Seat with Shaun of the Dead choreographer Litza Bixler, lighting designer Phil Supple, designer James Johnson and the sound specialists of the Resonance Radio Orchestra, not to mention thousands of hill runners.
All artforms are welcome in Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson’s self-styled creative circus, a monthly Edinburgh cabaret that encourages avant-garde spoken word, animation, music and short-film fusions. There’s an associated record label, extracurricular visits to London, Ayr, Glasgow and Manchester, and a roster of performers from Alasdair Gray and Liz Lochhead to Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian.
Avant-garde spoken word, film and music fusion night describing itself as 'playing host to the sinister and the sanguine'.
Edinburgh's noisiest avant-garde wordsmiths head out west to spread the word of their musical and spoken word delights.
A multimedia piece telling the story of a female musician looking to make it big in the music industry, brought to the stage by a collaboration between Grid Iron's Ben Harrison, musician Louise Quinn and others.