National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with Findhorn Bay Arts announces Roseisle Beach on the Moray Firth as one of the 6 locations in Scotland taking part in Danny Boyle’s Armistice Day commission for 14-18 NOW which marks the centenary of the end of the First World War.
On 11 November 2018, the public is invited to gather on Roseisle Beach for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.
Millions of people served in the First World War and many left by sea. National Theatre of Scotland leads events at six beaches across Scotland including St Ninian’s Isle beach, Ayr Beach, Scapa beach in Orkney, St Andrews’ West Sands, Roseisle Beach on the Moray Firth and Cula Bay beach on the isle of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.
Each event centres around the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War with a connection to the local community. The portrait will be designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye and will be washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. Please note the scale of the sand art is weather-dependant.
Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Danny Boyle to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on Roseisle Beach and beaches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland on 11 November. Copies of the poem will be available at the beaches for those who wish to come together or to offer their own personal contribution.
Local communities are encouraged to take part in a workshop ahead of the event: on Saturday 3 November, between 2pm and 3.30pm in St John’s Lodge, Forres. During the workshop led by a representative from the local community, public will learn details on how they can become a part of the single biggest event in the UK and Republic of Ireland on Armistice Day. There will be an opportunity to listen to and share stories of local heroes who fell or returned; worked the land or tended to the sick during the great war as well as exploring war-time poetry. Those interested in attending the workshop in Forres Town Hall are required to register via this link.
The public is also invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on 11 November. The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ which aims to tell 8 million stories of those who served from Britain and the Commonwealth. Visitors to the website can also add portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War.
Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of National Theatre of Scotland, said: “The First World War had a devastating impact on Scotland, with tens of thousands of young lives lost and many more forever altered. Our nation has an enduring and emotive connection to the sea and our beautiful coastline has seen many come and go throughout history. Pages of the Sea will create an artistic tribute, both personal and communal, through art, words, pictures and stories, acknowledging all those who left our shores during WW1. As a theatre without walls, the National Theatre of Scotland welcomes this poignant opportunity to help bring communities together in this fitting act of remembrance. We would like to thank our partners, Findhorn Bay Arts, for their invaluable support of this special project.”
Kresanna Aigner, Artistic Director of Findhorn Bay Arts, said: “It’s a great privilege to have this project come to Moray and for local people of all walks of life to have the opportunity to reflect and participate in this unique remembrance event here on Roseisle Beach. Findhorn Bay Arts works to bring creativity, people and place together and Pages of the Sea epitomises this ethos in what is sure to be a remarkable and emotive experience.”
Local artist James Chitty will lead the creation of the beach art on Findhorn beach. James said: “In the aftermath of the hugely successful 3rd Findhorn Bay Festival there is a great sense of community engagement locally and I’m keen to work with people to keep the energy growing. This project is a great opportunity to bring a wide range of people together to share a poignant moment of personal reflection on humanity, what better growth can we take from the horrors of war?”
The work is commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and delivered with partner organisations across the UK: National Trust; Activate Performing Arts; Creative Foundation; Eden Project; National Theatre Scotland; Nerve Centre; Swansea City Council and Sunderland Culture.
Supported by The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.
The project is the latest collaboration between the National Theatre of Scotland and 14-18 NOW. It follows the success of previous nationwide participatory projects We’re here because we’re here, with artist Jeremy Deller in 2016 marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, and PROCESSIONS earlier this year, which in Scotland saw thousands of women take to the streets of Edinburgh in a colourful march to celebrate the centenary of votes for women. 14-18 NOW also collaborated on the powerful The 306 trilogy, the final part of which, The 306: Dusk, premieres in Perth later this month.