Sound and Visual Performance Celebrates Declaration of Arbroath This September

The celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath were supposed to take place last year, but global events dictated otherwise. The Declaration was written by the barons of the kingdom of Scotland to the Pope asking for the recognition of Scotland’s independence and acknowledgement of Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king. With the country in lockdown and travel banned, any events marking this significant letter was put on hold. 

In its place, as we hold the hope of more travel and social mixing freedom, is a project that is the brainchild of Angus Farquhar of Glasgow-based Aproxima Arts, and a creative response to the ancient topography of the landscape that forms the special character of the region.

His sound and visual promenade performance will take place in the east coast dunes of Lunan Bay, Angus that give the project the name of Over Lunan. Keeping the anniversary date in the frame, it has been commissioned by Arbroath 2020+1 and Hospitalfield.

The installation, that will be narrated by Scottish actor Robin Laing, draws on the sea and its myths, capitalising on the perfect crescent of Lunan Bay to become the sonic area for the environmental artwork that links Mesopotamia to Scotland by uncovering ancient stories of both cultures divided by thousands of years and miles. Dually, Over Lunan will shed light on the fragility of the natural world and the first spiritual aspirations of humanity that were formed long before today’s established main religions.

An exchange between musicians from Scotland and the Middle East, that aims to further explore the links between Scotland and Syria, Iraq and Turkey that once formed Mesopotamia, is incorporated in the project.

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of Aproxima Arts saidLunan Bay is one of the most resonant coastal landscapes in Britain and the perfect site to explore a mythical story of flood rise and animistic ritual; it will be a joy to be working together in September, to produce Aproxima Arts’ first major production.”

The soundscape project will involve a selection of musicians and composers,  including composer of electroacoustic music Andrew Knight-Hill; trumpeter and conductor Bede Williams; musician Claire Innes-Hopkins and musician and composer Cameron Sinclair. Joining them in the team are designer James Johnson; filmmaker Michael Hunter and dramaturg and co-script writer Purni Morell. Expert advice has come from Professor Martin Worthington, Head of Assyriology at University of Cambridge and Professor Nathan Wasserman, Flood Mythology Studies at Berlin and Jerusalem Universities.

Over Lunan, that is part of Arbroath 2020+1 celebrations, will run from 2nd till 12th September 2021 with tickets going on sale mid-June 2021. Details at Arbroath Festival website.

Irene Brown

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