Alien Species: Plastic trash inspires pop-up theatre and dance show for coastal locations

The impact of plastic pollution on Scotland's marine life is to inspire a new outdoor theatre and dance show which will be performed at coastal locations around the country.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 4:55 am
Dudendance Theatre performer Harvey Lancaster Rous.
Dudendance Theatre performer Harvey Lancaster Rous.

Beaches, bays and outdoor pools will play host to Alien Species – which will imagine what would happen if discarded plastic mutated into sea creatures.

Performers will be wearing bright orange costumes inspired by the “non-native species” harming the environment in seaside locations around the world.

The site-specific show has been developed by Aberdeenshire-based Dudendance Theatre in collaboration with environmental groups and initiatives around the country for the last three years.

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Dudendance performer Lewis Sherlock.

The company, which has been run from Huntly for nearly 20 years, has been awarded £102,029 from the Scottish Government’s arts agency Creative Scotland to go on tour to coastal locations in the north-east and north-west of Scotland.

Five performers – Alima Askew, Paul Rous, Petra Pennington, Harvey Lancaster Rous and Cathi Sell – have worked with designer Heather MacCrimmon, musician Fiona Soe Pain and Dudendance’s artistic director Clea Wallis on the development of the show, including a number of pop-up pilot performances earlier this year.

Wallis said: “The disposable quality of modern materials is having an irreversible, devastating effect on the planet.

“The work has an organic feel while at the same mtime creating artificial alien forms.

“We want to create a juxtaposition of visual sensation -

forms of beauty that transform into trash. The idea is to imagine what a new alien species would look like if plastics mutated into living beings.

“The spectacular costumes are inspired by sea creature forms- some with internal skeletal structures that can be shed, shaped and transformed in tandem with the elements.

“Performances will take place on the coast with audiences discovering the ‘Alien Species’ as they evolve out of the sea and sand.”Alien Species is one of 17 theatre and dance productions sharing a £1.72 million touring fund of National Lottery money, which is run by Creative Scotland.

Beaches around the country will also play host to Move, a powerful story focusing on migration, which was staged on Edinburgh’s waterfront during this year’s Fringe.

Julia Tauvedin’s move is described as a “breathtaking choral drama inspired by ancient keening rituals, weaving storytelling, choral soundscape and Gaelic song.”

Locations in Orkney, Shetland and the Borders will play host to Rob Heaslip’s pop-up dance production Straw Boys, which will blur the lines between traditional and contemporary dance and music, and will feature straw costumes inspired by the traditions of Mummers, Guisers, Burdie Boys and Skekklers.

There will also be a revival for Rocket Post, Lewis Hetherington’s show based on the true story of the German scientist Gerhard Zucker, who came to Scotland to carry out an infamous attempt to use rockets to send mail.

Laura Mackenzie-Stuart, Creative’ Scotland's head of theatre, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, a selection of Scotland’s most luminary artists and performers will bring enlightening and spellbinding productions to new audiences and fans alike.

“Using an array of locations to give audiences more choice, the magic of theatre will be enjoyed both inside and outside the theatres which have been the pillars of their communities, despite the challenge of the past year.”