HI-wireless Takes Off

1 Jul 2011

JULY brings a number of exciting new developments to the Northings and HI-Arts websites.

NORTHINGS is delighted to host HI-wireless, the brainchild of Euan Martin and Dave Smith, the co-directors of Right Lines. The pair cooked up the idea after deciding that an initial attempt to bring together a radio play, live theatre, local writers and the internet was just a shade too ambitious.

Instead, they came up with the ingenious idea of commissioning Highlands and Islands-based writers to create a ten-minute radio play, which would then be broadcast on the internet rather than conventional radio.

Funding from the Highland Council’s Literature Fund enabled them to commission five short plays, and additional funding from HI-Arts added on their own four-part series, Morrison’s Van.

Ron Emslie and Helen Mackay recording Morrison's Van at Acorn Studio in Findhorn

Ron Emslie and Helen Mackay recording Morrison's Van at Acorn Studio in Findhorn

The first of the plays, Black Isle-based novelist Angus Dunn’s Shaman In The Kitchen, will be unveiled on Northings on Monday. Thereafter, four more plays will be added at the beginning of each month until December, when Morrison’s Van will be released over four successive days.

The other plays are Iain Hector Ross’s Harris Tweed and Golden Slippers in August, Gavin Humphreys’ Gaelic drama Eireaball Na Dibhe (The Hangover) in September, Phil Barda’s Piper of the Roof in October, and Jan Storie’s Rinse Aid in November.

The plays were recorded at Universal Hall in Findhorn (other than the Gaelic drama, which was done at Dave Smith’s home in Tain), and the actors involved are Ron Emslie, Helen Mackay, Garry Collins, Jackie Goode, Morna Young, Lynn Dalgetty, Artair Donald and Seonaid Johansen.

HI-wireless can be accessed from the front page of Northings, and will also be available on Right Lines own re-vamped website. As Euan Martin said, it opens up a fresh possibility for encouraging new writing at a time when funding for stage drama is very tight.

“We are very grateful to the Highland Council Literature Fund and to HI-Arts for supporting this project, and also to Northings for hosting it,” Euan said. “ If this is successful we hope to extend it in future. There are a number of directions that it could potentially go in. Most of the writers hadn’t written for radio before, including ourselves, and we discovered in the recording process that it really is an art in its own right.

“We both feel this is an exciting way forward – in these difficult economic times it isn’t easy for theatre companies to get money to put on shows, and this is a different way of getting new writing out there.”

Monday 4 July will also see the re-launch of the new, improved HI-Arts website, serving the Highlands & Islands arts community, and the launch of the latest HI-Arts podcast, in which Robert Livingston, the director of HI-Arts, is in discussion with Randy Klinger of Moray Arts Centre in the first of a new series of case studies on cultural and social enterprises.

Plenty there both to look at and listen to, and of course, we will continue to bring you our usual range of news, reviews and features as well.

Kenny Mathieson


© Kenny Mathieson, 2011