Arts / Five arts projects – from music to knitting – given funding

Kathryn Spence.

FIVE performing artists based in Shetland, or with strong connections to the islands, have been selected to receive support to produce new work.

The first performance of the Shetland Arts commissions took place last week at Mareel, with others set to follow in the coming months.

Kathryn Spence’s dance performance project A Journey of Flight was performed at the arts venue on 14 February.

“The overarching theme is migration of birds, through an all-female, 30-minute dance theatre piece,” she said.

Spence added that the performance focused on “arrivals and departures, reasons behind moving on and nostalgia of places, as well as the notion of flight itself”.

Meanwhile a musical initiative called the Eyland Project will take to the stage at the Brae Hall, Lerwick Town Hall and Bigton Hall between 31 March and 2 April.

The project is a collaboration between Renzo Spiteri, David Boyter and Sophie Wishart.


“The result is a melting pot of musical ideas that range from Scottish folk to Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern rhythmic patterns, creating The Eyland Project’s distinctive sound,” Spiteri said.

Meanwhile Helen Robertson has been commissioned to undertake a performance knitting project called Slew.

“I have long held an image in my mind of a deckchair sitting on a beach, the seat of which is knitted in the Shetland Print and the Wave Lace pattern,” she said.

“I see this as tying together various parts of my own and other islanders heritage. For countless generations, Shetlanders were reliant on the sea and knitting for survival.”

Musician Jenny Sturgeon has been given support to collaborate with bassist, synth player and projectionist Grant Anderson and cello player Alice Allen in a new project called The Living Mountain Trio.

“We will explore our use of and interaction with instrumentation, live loop/field recording triggering, new song arrangements and film,” she said.

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The final commission is the one-person play Me, Myself and Mary (Queen of Scots), which is being directed Jordanna O’Neill and will see Marjolein Robertson perform.

“Join citizen historian – and proud Shetlander – Mary Fraser, on a whistle-stop tour of Queen Mary’s life and times and – amazingly – how it mirrors her own,” its blurb said.

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