Capital’s Gaelic primary school appoints first ever artist in residence

Rona MacDonald was raised on a croft in South Uist amongst a family of Gaelic singers, storytellers and pipers. Picture;  Peter Dibdin www.peterdibdin.com
Rona MacDonald was raised on a croft in South Uist amongst a family of Gaelic singers, storytellers and pipers. Picture; Peter Dibdin www.peterdibdin.com
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THE CAPITAL’S Gaelic medium primary school has appointed its first ever ‘artist in residence’ to work with pupils on developing arts education.

Creative producer Rona MacDonald will take up a position at the Taobh na Pàirce school until February 2019, creating a new work-in-progress for young audiences using text, movement and live performance.

Rona, from South Uist, will also deliver training to teachers, have time to focus on her own artistic practice alongside mentoring and attending an international children’s festival in Belgium and an artist retreat on Mull.

Some of her time will be spent working with Primary 3 pupils at Taobh na Pàirce on the development of the material before the work will be shared with the school community in early 2019.

Speaking about her new role, Rona said: “I’m delighted to be working with Imaginate on Fàs, the Gaelic Artist in Residence at Taobh Na Pàirce. This amazing residency will allow me the time and space to develop my practice and to try something new.

“I want to explore journeys and migration through the voices of young Gaels. Gaelic culture, amongst others, offers new windows, landscapes and meaning from which new stories, images, words and dances can be uncovered.”

She added: “Young people can have great fun with this and I’m looking forward to discovering their story with them.”

Rona was raised on a croft, amongst a family of Gaelic singers, storytellers and pipers and said it is that connection to the Gaelic language, land and culture that inspires all her work.

She has been making theatre as a creative producer for the last 20 years and recently has been focusing on her own Gaelic writing through poetry.

She has also recently written and performed Fuaigh, a ceilidh play, originally commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland.

Using song, story, imagery and dance, the production looks at the consequences of losing words, land and language and being forced to the edge.

The appointment comes as part of an innovative partnership between the school, Scottish national theatre organisation Imaginate and Creative Scotland. Katie Wight from Taobh Na Pàirce said she was pleased about the appointment, adding: “Taobh na Pàirce are delighted to be working on another project with Imaginate.”

She continued: “We have developed a strong partnership with Imaginate over the last few years and our learners have without exception loved the rich, creative opportunities they bring.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming Rona into our school and are excited by what she has to offer particularly in terms of Gaelic language and culture.”