Press Release: sound festival commission selected for Made in Scotland 2015

The Garden, a work created by Zinnie and John Harris, to be featured in prestigious showcase

Pauline Knowles and Alan McHugh reprise the central roles in The Garden

The Garden, a work commissioned by the sound Festival from Zinnie and John Harris for its critically-acclaimed “Out of the Box” opera weekend, has been selected for the prestigious Made in Scotland showcase it was confirmed 20 May 2015. Premiered in Aberdeen in 2012, The Garden was part a weekend of pieces commissioned by Scotland’s new music festival from leading Scottish composers and writers which were staged in unexpected and unusual venues.

A curated showcase of the best in Scottish performance, Made in Scotland is presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It offers national and international promoters to opportunity to see work and encourages artistic collaborations to be forged. The 2015 programme was announced by Fiona Hyslop, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs. The Garden will be part of the Traverse Theatre’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme) from 18th-23rd and 25th- 30th August 2015.

‘We are delighted that The Garden has been selected for the 2015 Made in Scotland showcase,” says sound Festival director, Fiona Robertson. “It is an accolade the recognises both the calibre of new music being created in Scotland today and the important contribution to Scotland’s cultural landscape of sound, Scotland’s major dedicated new music festival.”

“Following its world premiere in Aberdeen The Garden has already been staged in London and mainland Europe, and we hope that the profile which the Made in Scotland showcase offers will open up further opportunities to present the work and collaborate internationally,” she adds.

“The sound Festival opened the world of opera to creators and audiences who feel inhibited by or excluded from its institutional conventions. And it gives those of us with more traditional ideas of music theatre a whiff of the creative zeitgeist.”
Financial Times, November 2012

The Garden is set in a dystopian future. A scientist spends all day working in a scientific institution which is tasked with solving the world’s environmental problems, whilst his wife sits in their high-rise flat stifling in the heat and wishing that they were somewhere, anywhere else. It is based on an original short play of the same name by Zinnie Harris, commissioned by the Traverse Theatre in 2009 as part of “The World is Too Much With Us” season and winning a Scotsman Fringe First Award.

“In both the play and libretto I wanted to explore what it might be like to live in a world that is similar to ours, but which has become overpopulated and under resourced, and where there is hardly any vegetation,” she explains.

“The Garden is a beautiful play and the challenge was to find a musical form that retained the sublety, lightness of touch and intimacy of the original,’ adds John Harris. “Our approach was to create a piece where song and speech are part of the same musical continuum; where one transforms seamlessly into another.”

“The couple were played with riveting dramatic intensity by
Alan McHugh and Pauline Knowles”
The Herald 2015
“A despairing urban couple played compellingly by
Alan McHugh and Pauline Knowles”
The Scotsman 2012

The Made In Scotland performances will see Pauline Knowles and Alan McHugh reprising the central roles.


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