Wild Goose Festival Presents the World Premier of Solway to Svalbard

This world premiere is highlighted as this year’s finale event with the world premiere will take place at the Loreburn Hall in Dumfries on Saturday 29th October.

Solway to Svalbard is an immersive, multi-artform response to the spring migration of barnacle geese.

Forming part of Dumfries & Galloway’s Wild Goose Festival, which is produced by The Stove Network, supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, and held in Dumfries and surrounding areas, the festival unites key partners from the region in an exploration of nature, creativity, and place, Solway to Svalbard follows the migratory rough of Svalbard’s Barnacle geese from Southwest Scotland to the High Arctic and back.

This unique piece of theatre brings together original music with cinematic visuals, evocative soundscapes, and live storytelling.

Created by composer Stuart Macpherson, filmmaker Emma Dove and sound recordist Pete Smith the project was developed over the course of five years, enabled by support from Creative Scotland, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians UK, Tenk Traena AiR, Galleri Svalbard, DG Arts Live, The Stove Network, DGU and the National Theatre of Scotland’s Engine Room programme.

This world premiere is highlighted as this year’s finale event with the world premier will take place at the Loreburn Hall in Dumfries on Saturday 29th October.

Pete Smith – Sound Recordist “We have all put so much work into this project and I think we have really created something that not only gives audiences and insight into the geese’s journey but also the journey we have gone on as the friends in creating the work.” The development process of this project has encompassed research trips to the High Arctic, writing and filming sessions in the wetlands of the Solway Firth, writing residencies in Scotland and Norway, pop-up musical performances in Caerlaverock Castle and a work in progress performance in a working man’s club in Dumfries for the National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘Just Start Here’ festival.

Stuart McPherson – Composer “Fancy spending a couple of days filming and recording geese at the wetlands?…

… I don’t think any of us had any idea of the journey that we had just started when we got together for that initial reccie!” Solway to Svalbard is the culmination of the research, inspiration, documentation, ideas, thoughts, and feelings of the three collaborators and through their in-depth development, a richness of material has been generated that captures very special and intimate moments of the barnacle geese’s migration.

Emma Dove – Filmmaker “When Stuart approached me to work on Solway to Svalbard, I felt an immediate connection to the piece. I naively imagined setting up my camera down on the Solway Firth and patiently waiting for skeins of geese to fly in perfect formations overhead.

The reality really was much more of a wild goose chase – a lesson in our limits as clunky humans stuck to the ground, as well as an incredible journey of discovery of the places, habitats and people that are connected by the barnacle geese and their round trip to the high arctic.”

Solway to Svalbard is a work about the natural world and the collective relationship we have with it. Audiences will learn about the geese, their habitat – what is changing and why that’s important. The barnacle geese are a conservation success story to celebrate but they are also an indicator species – their shifting behaviours and journeys pointing to rising temperatures and climate change. Above all, Solway to Svalbard is a work about feeling and connection. Immersed in the sights and sounds and movement of the geese and orchestrated by live music – audiences will be invited to feel their own interconnectedness with the natural world.

Solway to Svalbard is a live performance incorporating original orchestral music, film screening, and unique audio design. BSL interpreted, tickets for the premier of Solway to Svalbard are on sale now via: https://wildgoosefestival.scot


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