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Ignition - The Final Performances

by Misa Hay -

A creative project led by Wils Wilson (Director) and John Haswell (Associate Director) in Shetland, culminating in a mobile, multi-site performance, inspired, created and performed by members of the community, taking place in three locations across Shetland in March 2013.

Since October 2012, all 23,000 inhabitants of Shetland have been invited to explore the bittersweet relationship with the automobile - how it shapes us, defines us, supports us, frees us, challenges our attitudes towards our dwindling resources and, sometimes, kills us. Spurred by the tragic death in November 2007 of a young 18 year old Shetlander, in a car crash, Ignition has explored the global and personal impact that our reliance on the car and its fuel has on our lives. 

What is the car doing for us? What is the car doing to us? 

Over the last 6 months the Ignition team has been collecting "car stories" from the people of Shetland through a programme of unique, car-related, but unmistakably Shetland-flavoured engagement activities. These have included a Hitchhiker in Residence, who threw herself on the generosity of local drivers as she hitched around Shetland dressed as the White Wife, a well-known figure from Shetland folklore, serving mobile Sunday Teas; Car Yarn sessions which invited local knitters (and non-knitters) to "mak and yak", sharing car stories, whilst creating panels for a car cover which has now created a knitted car; Da Road, a major new piece of music by Hugh Nankivell inspired by Shetland's longest road from Sumburgh to Skaw and created though music workshops with local people of all ages; a dance residency in a care home; and a parkour event "New Journeys in Familiar Places", which redraws the map of Lerwick for pedestrians and drivers alike.

The Ignition creative team include: Wils Wilson (Director), John Haswell (Associate Director), Chris Grant (Parkour Director), Becky Minto (Designer), Janice Parker (Movement Director), Hugh Nankivell (Composer), Jacqui Clark (Creative Artist), Lowri Evans (Creative Artist), Rob Evans (Dramaturg & Text), John Morris (Dance Practitioner).

From taking a newborn baby home from hospital to being part of a funeral cortege, the individual stories collected through these workshops and interventions, illuminate the milestones of personal journeys across Shetland. The stories compiled, and music created throughout the Ignition journey will drive the final Ignition performances taking place 20-30 March 2013. Set in three locations across Shetland (Brae, Yell & Bigton) the site-specific theatre performances will take the audience on an adventure in shared cars. Taking place in one indoor and two outdoor venues in each location the audience will see, hear and be a part of the immersive Ignition journey.    

After touring the three locations the project finale, which will be a one off celebration of Ignition, will take place in a stunning outdoor venue in Brae. This is for anyone who has been involved in the project, or can be experienced as a one off free participatory performance involving light, cars, theatre, music and stories. 

The Ignition project is led by Wils Wilson who is returning to Shetland after HOME Shetland which, in 2006, took its audience on a journey around the Hjatland ferry in Lerwick Harbour from top deck to cabin to car deck. Other work for National Theatre of Scotland includes the multi-award-winning The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, currently completing an international tour of bars, pubs, howfs and function rooms of all shapes and sizes, Gobbo (Best Production for Children & Young People, Critics" Awards for Theatre in Scotland).  Wils is site-specific theatre specialist.  She was co-founder and co-Artistic Director of wilson+wilson (1997-2007), creating site-specific art, installation and theatre. Work included HOUSE, Mapping the Edge, News from the Seventh Floor and Mulgrave, which took audiences to locations including a derelict house, a tram, woods, a ballroom and a department store at night. 

Performance information

Brae -  20-23 March 2013; 7pm - meet at Brae Hall

Bigton - 26 & 27 March 2013; 7pm - meet at Bigton Hall

Yell -   29 March 2013; 7pm - meet at Cullivoe Hall

Finale - Brae  30 March 2013; 7pm - meet at Brae Hall

Tickets: Performances:£10 (£7 concession) Tickets must be booked in advance 

Finale: Free but ticketed

Box OfficeIn person at Islesburgh & Mareel; by phone:  01595 745 555; online:

Tickets will go on sale from 22 February.

Audience/Access Information

The audience will travel between the venues in cars and this will involve car share. Elements of the performance will also take part in cars. As two of the venues are outdoor it is recommended that the audience dress for all weathers.  Due to the nature of the event it is recommended that anybody with mobility issues should make the box office aware of these when booking so any access needs can be taken into consideration.

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