Storm To Rise At Dumfries Whitesands In October

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Rising at the Whitesands, STORM a 10 metre tall figure by Vision Mechanics, will tour the town, engaging with many community groups along the way, celebrating our coasts and waters and the need to protect them, as part of Dumfries & Galloway Art Festival’s response to COP26.

Created for the opening of Celtic Connections 2020 by Edinburgh-based visual theatre company, Vision Mechanics, STORM will once again rise from the oceans to walk on land. STORM is a legend come to life, emerging from the sea, and coming to Scotland to tell us that the oceans are in crisis.

The Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, responsible for bringing STORM’s brother, The Big Man Walking to Dumfries 11 years ago have organised an event that celebrates the work of community groups across Dumfries. As part of their year-round Arts Live programme, STORM will showcase the very best of what Dumfries & Galloway has to offer on Saturday 16th October.

STORM, a free, outdoor theatre spectacle is funded by EventScotland through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund and has been developed in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21. In Dumfries & Galloway, they are delighted to be supported by Creative Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway Unlimited, ANCBC, Barfill Trust, Turtleton Trust, and the Together Again fund. They are also generously supported by the People’s Project, The Station Hotel, The Rotary Dumfries, Plaswood and The Crichton Trust.

Aided by ten puppeteers, STORM – Scotland’s largest puppet – will travel Scotland’s coastlines and urge care and protection for our oceans and environment as she takes in the natural beauty found all across her home nation.

Made from entirely recycled and natural resources STORM is ten metres tall and weighs around 500 kilos. Her eyes are the colour of oyster shells, her hair thick strands of kelp, her voice the chorus of the waves. She is accompanied wherever she travels by a beautiful soundscape created by the pioneering Scottish folk singer Mairi Campbell.

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival recognises the serious threat the climate emergency has to our future, our wellbeing, and our culture. As an organisation, they are committed to minimising their environmental impact, working directly and in partnership with participating venues and their network. As COP26 is fast approaching, they are reviewing how they respond to climate change and encourage activism and sustainable changes to how they deliver their programmes.

STORM is their response to COP26, inviting communities to voice their concerns by performing on the streets of Dumfries, sharing their passionate activism. This exciting and powerful programme will see intergenerational community groups respond to climate change. The council will share their new 7 stage strategy to environmental sustainability by 2030 and STORM will be the start of an ongoing dialogue for carbon reduction methods across the region.

The latest production from Edinburgh based visual theatre makers Vision Mechanics, they previously toured the giant puppet Big Man Walking across Scotland, transformed Drummohr House into the world of Oz, and installed Giants in the Forest across the UK. Their work invites people to celebrate and participate in creating memorable and interactive productions on huge scales. STORM is their most ambitious, challenging, and politically resonant project yet.

STORM’s journey will be free to witness along with the exciting community activities planned throughout her journey to show her how dedicated Dumfries is to protecting her coasts and waters. The route map will be released nearer to the date of the event and the walk will be broadcast live on social media.

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival are bringing STORM to Dumfries as part of their year-round Arts Live programme of events. Arts Live is a year-round touring performance programme for Dumfries & Galloway. Through this project, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival have created a network of venues, artists, and promoters who they work with to stage events and organise touring performing arts to visit Dumfries & Galloway. As part of Arts Live, they offer training, support, and aim to create a strong future infrastructure for performing arts in the region.

Vision Mechanics Artistic Director, Symon Macintyre said: “Like many of us, STORM has been resting at home since early 2020, lying in wait to begin her journey across Scotland. We are delighted to be able to assist STORM in her journey to some of Scotland’s most beautiful coasts and waters. We believe strongly in her message of environmental care and are proud to be able to share it with people all across Scotland. From North Berwick, to Wick, to Dumfries – STORM is a striking vision to behold against the landscape of this beautiful country.” 
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “It is wonderful to have STORM rise again and return to Scotland to tell her story. We are living in a climate emergency and STORM’s journey along our country’s beautiful coastlines will help draw attention to the role we all have to play in protecting our oceans and environment.
EventScotland is delighted to be supporting STORM through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund and in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21.”
Lou Davies, General Manager of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival said: “We are delighted to be able to bring STORM to Dumfries this October. After the success of Big Man Walking 11 years ago, an event that is still talked about to this day, we hope that it will bring audiences back into the town after a long, hard period of isolation to celebrate together as a community. We have lots of exciting events planned throughout her journey including performances from three artists who we’ve commissioned with the kind support of the DGU Together Again fund.”

STORM will rise at the Whitesands in Dumfries on Saturday 16th October and will journey through Dumfries that day visiting many community groups along the way. The team at the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival are busy planning a number of performances for her and they will be announcing the community groups and performers involved on their social media and website over the coming weeks. @dgartsfest | www.dgartsfestival.org.uk