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Trowie encounters planned for next week

Peatbog restoration boss Sue White.

THE IMPORTANCE of peatbogs will be brought home to schoolchildren in a light hearted way with an al-fresco performance involving trows, music and drama.

Drama on the Bog will be performed by The Peatbog Trows three times a day from Monday 21 May to Thursday 24 May. Twelve school groups are pencilled in to attend and it is anticipated 450 children will see the show next week.

The school parties will muster at Mackenzie’s farm shop at Cunningsburgh before taking a 15 to 20 minute walk up a muddy track to the “theatre” where they will meet a couple of dejected trowie refugees who have lost their habitat.

The Peatbog Trows’ Izzy Swanson said: “The 15 minute hike up to and down from the site is all part of the experience, so we really hope for decent weather.”

Later on in this “site specific promenade production” the audience will meet a couple of Trowies who are much happier as they now live in partially restored wet bog, more suited to the life cycle of the rare and elusive peatland trows (not to be confused with their more unpleasant hill based cousins).

In the course of the performance the audience will hear about the work of Shetland Amenity Trust’s Peatland Restoration Project and how they can be of some help.

Rather than just a boring lecture, she thought it would be more interesting to create a piece of drama.The idea came from Sue White, who is in charge of peat restoration. She wanted to find a way to encourage people, especially children, to see how important the peatland is and the effect human activity has on it.

She got John Haswell on board and they came up with the idea of Drama on the Bog.

The Peatbog Trows is made up of a mix of local professional actors – Hannah Uttley and Paul Hughson, fiddler and actor Cathy Geldard and experienced local actors Zoe Spence and Robert Tonkinson, with many local faces making an appearance as trowie extras.

It has also benefitted from the participation of Jordanna Keilty-O’Neil, who has brought first hand experience of this kind of performance. Uttley also put together a resource pack for schools, to help teachers and pupils develop ideas and experiences from the visit.

Swanson said they had received a lot of help from several sources including Shetland Amenity Trust, Mackenzies Farm Shop and Café, Augean – for pathway improvements, Rova Head Waste Reclamation Centre and The Scrapstore and HNP Engineering who had supplied materials to create a trow refugee camp. Open Door Drama are helping with materials, costumes and props.

As well as the school performances, there will be two public performances on Saturday 26 May at 11am and 2pm with the muster point at Mackenzies Farm Shop.

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