Scot:Lands offers tour of free music, theatre and dance performances around Edinburgh on New Year's Day
Performances from RM Hubbert, Smallpetitklein and theatre show Whatever Gets You Through the Night
They’ve danced up trees, tackled events surrounding 9/11 and cavorted in castles: suffice to say, Dundee-based dance troupe Smallpetitklein don’t so much think outside the box, as build a new one entirely. Which makes them a perfect addition to Edinburgh’s already bursting, and no less inspired, New Year’s Day programme, Scot:Lands. Essentially a magical mystery tour of Edinburgh through the city’s Old Town, Scot:Lands consists of nine ‘worlds’, each one created by some of Scotland’s top musicians, dancers and artists, and performed in unique spaces in the city. The premise is simple yet intricate, with audiences encouraged to collect their Scot:Lands map from the Home:Land that is the National Museum of Scotland on Wed 1 Jan, and join in the fun. Highlights of the day will undoubtedly include Shadow:Land, a bespoke production of Cora Bissett’s award-winning multidisciplinary show Whatever Gets You Through the Night; Lobster:Land, curated by the mighty King Creosote, joined by Withered Hand; and NewFOUND:Land from the BAFTA-winning art collective Found, with RM Hubbert and Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Emily Scott joining them for good measure.
Although still a work in progress, Smallpetitklein’s artistic director Thomas Small is certainly thinking big with his strand, Wander:Land. ‘As soon as we heard about this idea of putting people into interesting spaces and the sheer diversity of the programme we knew we wanted to be involved,’ explains Small between rehearsals.
Inspired in part by a Tolstoy’s short story, Smallpetitklein’s piece The Snowstorms will take place in St Giles Cathedral with four 35-minute performances on a loop throughout the day.
An organist ‘in a past life’ before becoming involved in the world of theatre, Small is keen to play to the strengths of the Cathedral’s music and heritage – as well as injecting the show with some personal musical favourites, including Philip Glass’ glorious, mesmeric ‘Mad Rush’, (which was, rather fittingly, originally written for the Dalai Lama’s first public address in a New York cathedral in the early 80s). Small’s hope is to capture the transformative spirit of what New Year means to people.
‘There’s a beautiful connection with the choral music and that meeting of physicality and sound, so hopefully it will resonate with people. We’ll be using the organ and an 11-person choir, alongside the dance. The idea is really to catapult the audience into another world and take them on a journey with us.’
The director acknowledges, too, that anyone coming out on New Year’s Day has a sense of expectation: ‘The first [of January] can so often be about putting your feet up, but it’s also about shedding a skin and getting ready for new things: it’s daunting but also wonderful to try and capture that.’
Scot:Lands starts at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, noon, Wed 1 Jan, then various venues in the Old Town until 5.30pm.