Ignition explored the unique relationship that Shetland and Shetlanders have with the car through theatre performance, installation, parkour, music, dance, knitting, conversation, film and the great Shetland institution of the Sunday Tea.
Culminating in a large-scale mobile theatre performance created and performed in and on cars, buses, caravans and vehicles large and small, both moving and stationary, Ignition took audiences of drivers and passengers to sites across Shetland and asked the question 'what is the car doing to us?'.
Meeting at a village hall, audiences experienced an interactive installation which brought together film, music, sound and verbatim interviews. After an introduction from a modern day White Wife (a ghostly figure of a woman who is said to appear in the passenger seat beside lone drivers at night on remote Shetland roads) giving 'advice' for driving through the islands, and registering their own journeys into a log book, audiences were divided into carloads and led out into the night and into their cars.
Their journey was animated by performances, music and sound, as each car was flagged down by a hitcher in need of help, each with their own story to tell. The night's journey took audiences to three sites: a car park, where small groups experienced intimate performances inside a car, a caravan or a bus; a performance where the car radio provided a soundtrack of music and poetic fragments, and the audience watched a highly physical performance through their windscreen as part of a car corral; and a final coming together in the warmth of a village hall, where communal singing, tea and fancies brought the evening to a close. The journeys and stories of the audience themselves formed the content of a final song, 'All the journeys we've made...' before the audience drove home through the night.
Director: Wils Wilson
Writer: Robert Evans
Composer: Hugh Nankivell
Movement Director: Janice Parker
Designer: Becky Minto
Parkour Director: Chris Grant
Over the 18 months before the final performance, material was gathered and relationships were forged across Shetland with individuals and groups, many of whom went on to be part of the final performance. Each project had its own integrity and was also part of the whole, shaping and being shaped by the other activity and the final event. These included:
Da Road - a CD and live music performance created by Hugh Nankivell and the people he met and made music with as he travelled Da Road, the long road which goes from north to south of the islands.
The White Wife - a live theatre intervention. Performance artist Lowri Evans hitched across Shetland as the White Wife of Shetland folklore, recording interviews with drivers as she went.
Residency - A dance residency at Wastview Care Home led by dancer and choreographer Janice Parker.
Shetland Parkour - the vibrant Shetland parkour group created their own theatre performance with parkour and movement director Chris Grant, as well as performing in the final Ignition performance.