OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, 28 January 2013
A HIGHLAND production which puts Scotland’s DNA under a theatrical microscope has been sparking imaginations and inspiring audiences across the country.
INFINITE Scotland, touring now as part of the Year of Natural Scotland, explores the country’s contrasting landscapes, coastlines and cities using breathtaking images, music, film and words.
‘Scotland small? Our multiform, infinite Scotland small?’ was a famously incredulous question posed by poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and inspiration for the groundbreaking multi media show, narrated onstage by Taggart actor Blythe Duff and writer and Culbokie-based broadcaster Kenny Taylor.
“Scotland’s environment and culture are inextricably linked strands of the country’s DNA,” explained producer Bryan Beattie, who is also from the Black Isle. “We wanted to explore that, using images, music and words. Putting Scotland’s DNA under the microscope in this way helps open our eyes to what’s around us.
“There are remarkable things around us every day that sometimes we just don’t notice – and some things that we have just not been aware of at all. Sometimes looking at what’s around us in a fresh way can reveal something completely new about it.”
Infinite Scotland blends scientific eyes and artistic creativity with astounding results. Grains of sand under an electron microscope, ancient sacred places, rocks, trees, mammals, birds – discovering the life and landscape around us and how we have interacted with it over millennia is profoundly compelling.
The stage show weaves awe-inspiring images by National Geographic photographer Laurie Campbell with atmospheric live music composed by David Allison and Gaelic singer Maeve MacKinnon. Films feature explorer Mark Beaumont, writers and broadcasters Richard Holloway and Muriel Gray, architect Malcolm Fraser and Gaelic singer and folklorist Margaret Bennett.
Video and production designer John McGeoch of Highland company Arts in Motion brought all the pieces together to create a spectacular multi-media journey across the beauty and wonder of Scotland.
“Visually the show was absolutely superb and I loved the clever and imaginative way it drew together its various strands,” said Alison Bell of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), who was among the audience at the packed opening night at Eden Court on Monday.
“Infinite Scotland combines superb literature with images, songs and music to give a great evening’s entertainment. I came away feeling I’d really learned a lot – and bursting to check out more. The first thing I did on getting home was dig out a book of Norman MacCaig poems!
“SNH funded the show along with Creative Scotland as part of the Year of Natural Scotland, which is all about promoting Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity,” Alison added.
“Infinite Scotland does exactly that – it awakes a real interest and desire to find out more about our wildlife, landscapes and culture.”
An innovative web and social media presence is integral to the Infinite Scotland project, which invites audiences and online followers to interact and submit their own questions, words and images. Feedback on social networks has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.
Catriona Ross is a freelance journalist and communications specialist who has been working on press and PR for Infinite Scotland.
© Catriona Ross, 2013