08/09/2015 - 02/04/2016
Granite was a major new participatory arts project presented by the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council. It was held across seven months from September 2015 to April 2016 and celebrated the spirit of Aberdeen’s people and explored the city’s past, present and future.
A pre-Christmas programme of pop-up events around the city centre, was followed by a large-scale theatrical finale – featuring a cast including professional performers and community participants in the quadrangle of Marischal College, the largest grey granite building in the world.
Presented by National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council
Headline Sponsor: Deloitte
Supported by Aberdeen Inspired, Balmoral Group, Mackie’s of Scotland and Creative Scotland
Produced in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts, ACT Aberdeen, Citymoves Dance Agency, SHMU, Sound and University of Aberdeen Music.
The Granite Finale was a sweeping, epic and unprecedented outdoor theatrical event, telling the story of Aberdeen, from 1863 to 2016, in just over an hour.
Three performances from Thursday 31 March – Saturday 2 April 2016 were staged, featuring a large ensemble cast, live orchestra and choir, aerial performance, dance, digital soundscape and video projection. The production took place in the majestic quadrangle of the iconic Marischal College.
Audiences were transported from the bowels of the earth, over the North Sea and into the heavens, across continents and centuries and back again.
Through snowstorms, squalls and towering waves.
From Kemnay to Calabar, Torry to Gothenburg, the North Sea oil fields to Tsarist Odessa.
From a night on the tiles in Union Street to a month at sea on an Atlantic schooner.
They met the men and women who built this city:
The cutters and gutters and oil workers, the scientists, revellers and football fanatics.
Those who left Aberdeen to find their fortunes,
and those arriving here today, to chase theirs.
Granite Sound took place on the streets of Aberdeen on 7th and 8th November 2015. What does Aberdeen really sound like? We’ve been asking the people of Aberdeen to tell us. A unique, free, guided soundwalk across the city centre into Aberdeen’s past, present and future. Sounds of people and music and poetry. Industry and nature and everyday life. The grit and the glint. Delivered wirelessly into your headphones, triggered by GPS as you walk the city’s streets. Created by Aberdeen-based sound artists Pete Stollery and Suk-Jun Kim, with students from the MMus Sonic Arts programme at the University of Aberdeen, including music composed by Phillip Cooke and texts and poems by Wayne Price, Helen Lynch, Sheena Blackhall, Hazel Hutchison and Michael Brown.
A pop-up theatrical pageant of legendary figures from Aberdeen’s past, present and future, was unleashed on audiences and shoppers in the city centre on 14th and 15th November 2015. We asked you to tell us about the unsung heroes who shaped the city’s destiny. Excavating true stories and tall tales of tenacious Aberdonians. Remixing the songs that celebrate the music, the mavericks and the major events. Imagining the guardians of Aberdeen’s future… Three different performances, rotating between three city centre locations. Created with and performed by ACT Aberdeen Senior Youth Theatre and Adult Drama Groups and Aberdeen Performing Arts Senior Youth Theatre Group.
Sixty windows were brought to life across Aberdeen city centre in late December. The city’s streets were transformed into a pop-up, light-up gallery, full of fleeting video portraits of an ever-changing population. 228,990 people live in Aberdeen. That’s what it was at the last count anyway. Probably more than that now. Who are these people? Since August, we’ve been travelling around the city to meet and film some of them. In workplaces, shopping malls, libraries and community centres. We took a video camera and we asked every person three questions: > What’s the most incredible thing that has ever happened to you? > What brings you home here? > What do you need to get through the day? We asked these questions and we asked the people of Aberdeen to give their answers to the camera without using words. Their answers will appear here soon…
As the Christmas lights sparkled on Aberdeen’s wintry streets, Granite Dance brought an eight minute charge of gentle joy to the city centre bustle. Interweaving Scottish and Russian folk dance patterns to an uplifting soundtrack, it was performed with a glint in the eye by the Fusion Youth Dance Company and Quicksilver over-50s group from Citymoves Dance Agency. Inspired by the incredible journey of The Rooshian, who walked with his family back to Aberdeen from Odessa – there’s more of him to come in the Granite Finale…
In late 2015, young people from SHMU worked with artists Graeme Roger and Philippa Tomlin to create short pieces of film, which we have called Digital Poetry. They were directly inspired by writing from Yvonne Heald and Trisha Harvey who are part of the Granite Writers’ Group and include some of their words within the pieces. Each piece reflects upon a favourite place in Aberdeen and the atmosphere of the writing and the city itself. You will see that they have also been inspired in style by music videos and creative adverts. The sound supporting the videos online comes from Pete Stollery and our Granite Music pieces.
We had a brilliant time coming up with creative ways to explore poetry and place, making storyboards and then going out on location to film the pieces. It was really fun to explore Aberdeen and look at the city in a different way.
Aberdeen City CouncilLink to website