Students join forces in a creative collaboration inspired by Uist landscapes. 

Two UHI North, West and Hebrides students have come together to create and stage a play based on their experiences living in Uist.  

The piece, entitled “For the Sound of the Sea in the Sky”, explores pollution and ecological collapse from the lens of three seabirds. Written, produced, and performed by Music students Marit Schoepel and Gracie Davie, the play places the climate crisis and environment at the heart of the work.

With inspiration drawn from their local environment and landscape, particularly gannets hunting in Eriskay, the work demonstrates how important Uist is as an inspiration to students and the local creative communities based there.

Both Marit and Gracie have been studying at Cnoc Soilleir, where they have been able to access new facilities such as a recording studio. Cnoc Soilleir has created a new home for creative collaborations in South Uist. The play will also be filmed by Donald Henderson an MG Alba apprentice placed with Ceòlas.

Music Lecturer Allan Henderson said: “I’m very proud of the students and the work they have put into this project, which is completely of their own volition. I’m proud of the way they have worked collaboratively with everyone here at Cnoc Soilleir, and I’m proud of their efforts to highlight environmental problems that we are all facing on a daily basis.

“It doesn’t surprise me that they have drawn inspiration from the local landscape. One only has to step outside your front door in Uist to understand the creative possibilities that our environment provides. I salute their creativity, because creativity changes the world for the better.”

Gracie, an HNC Music student, commented: “We are both artists who constantly engage with the landscape, so it made sense to collaborate on a project like this. Marit wanted to write a piece about the Northern Gannet and explore certain musical ideas, so my job as playwright was to create a structure/vessel which would allow the music to arise. The Music HNC leaves room for creative flexibility and collaboration, so this play was the perfect fit.”

Marit, studying BA Applied Music, added: “The piece showcases the destruction of our environment by letting three endangered birds tell their story. It is connected to the place of our studies - Uist, including field recordings from the Askernish beach, free improvisations and a composition.

The BA Applied Music is a course that allows students to explore and grow their creativity. I learned how to collaborate effectively and how to make my creative ideas a reality. Being in my last year, I am able to use my learned skills to develop such a project. The freedom of using the space in Cnoc Soilleir and equipment of UHI helped to create our piece.”

Everyone is welcome to come along to enjoy the play

Date: 20.03.24
Time: 7pm
Location: Cnoc Soilleir

For the sound of the sea in the sky a play by Gracie Davie with music by Marit Schopel | March 20 7pm | Cnoc Soillier

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