Theatre preview: Drift

Theatre preview: Drift

credit: Daniel Lacasta Fitzsimmons

Site-specific theatre is set to drift up to a beach near you this summer

Vision Mechanics, under the leadership of Symon MacIntyre, have a dynamic approach to theatre. Variously responding to specific sites – they have toured Scotland’s botanic gardens – and balancing between theatre and visual art, their performances incorporate a wide range of styles, from film through aerial to lectures. For *3Drift*2, MacIntyre was inspired, however, by the story of a shipwrecked crofter.

‘I heard the story of Betty Mouat and was inspired by her courage and fortitude,’ he says. ‘In January 1886, in a sudden storm, the captain and the crew of the Columbine were washed overboard. This left 60-year-old Betty, who was on a routine 2-hour trip to Lerwick to sell her knitting, drifting off to Norway.’

Responding to the tale with a simple line drawn in a sketch book, MacIntyre quickly developed a concept for the performance. ‘This was my vision of Betty, on a line suspended between the sky and the seabed.’ The audience move through a series of sculptures, ‘isolated by headphones’, listening to the specially composed music that follows Betty’s journey.

Drift is a typically ambitious Vision Mechanics’ project: intimate, firmly based in location, yet finding a way to combine the epic and the personal – and cross simplistic boundaries between theatre, art and nature.

Touring beaches across Scotland, Fri 26 Jun–Sun 9 Aug


Outdoor beach performance about Betty Mouat who, in 1886, drifted at sea from Shetland to Norway. Not suitable for young children.

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