Trailblazer events

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National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council present


Granite: A major new Aberdeen arts project celebrating the city and its people,

bringing Aberdeen’s streets to theatrical life.
Headline sponsor: Deloitte
Supported by Aberdeen Inspired, Arts & Business Scotland, Balmoral Group, Mackie’s of Scotland and Creative Scotland

Produced in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts, ACT Aberdeen, Citymoves Dance Agency, Sound Festival, Station House Media Unit and University of Aberdeen Music.
Four theatrical trailblazers, offering free family-friendly entertainment across four winter weekends in Aberdeen City Centre, will launch Granite across the city from 7 November 2015. Granite Sound, Granite Theatre, Granite Video and Granite Dance will offer audiences the opportunity to experience the city in entirely new ways, with four cultural urban happenings, created and performed by leading local artists alongside a host of community performers.
Professor Pete Stollery, Head of Music at the University of Aberdeen, is lead artist for Granite Sound, a unique guided audio walk through some of the city’s iconic streets and spaces. Taking place on 7th and 8th November, audience members will be able to choose from two routes, starting at either Belmont Street or Union Street. Voices, soundscapes and especially composed music will be experienced through headphones at specially designated points along the way.
Professor Pete Stollery says:This has been an amazing experience. SERG (Sound Emporium Research Group), the sonic art research group at the University of Aberdeen has been recording sounds in and around Aberdeen and presenting sound installations and other sound art works throughout the city for a number of years, but this project allows us to work with National Theatre of Scotland, as well as being part of the sound festival and work with some really exciting composers, writers and members of the public."
Granite Sound takes place on 7th and 8th November, is free but ticketed and requires prior booking.
Granite Theatre takes place at locations around the city centre on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November. Simon Sharkey and Phil McCormack (National Theatre of Scotland), working alongside Aberdeen Performing Arts and ACT Aberdeen, have created a pop -up theatrical pageant of legendary figures from Aberdeen’s past, present and future to be unleashed on audiences and shoppers in the city centre on 14th and 15th November 2015.
Granite Video has been created by leading Scottish artist and filmmaker Graeme Roger (Culloden Battlefield Artist in Residence). He has spent the last few months capturing on film local Aberdeen residents and workers and their reactions to three key questions. These films will be shown across 50 shop window fronts throughout the weekend of 18th and 19th December. The three questions asked of participants for Granite Video are at the heart of the story of this project and the answers given by Aberdonians will inspire the script for the final show, Granite.

  • What is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you?

  • What brings you here?

  • What do you need to get through the day?

Graeme Roger says: Spending time and meeting a diverse range of people from across the city is fascinating for me, and I always feel privileged when stories are shared and, for a moment, you get to see what people are 'really' like.”
Granite Dance also takes to the streets on 18th and 19th December, featuring members of Citymoves, the leading dance agency for North East Scotland. Young dancers from Fusion dance group and older dancers from Quicksilver will entertain pedestrians and last minute Christmas shoppers in the city’s precincts, led by choreographer Brigid McCarthy (Dundee Rep Dance Company, The X-Factor and Group n.) is now launched, offering everyone with a connection to Aberdeen, past and present and future, the opportunity to connect with the project. Led and broadcast by SHMU and shared online via, music, stories, testimony, interviews, discussion and debate all about the Granite City will be served up digitally for audiences everywhere.
These four trailblazers are building up to the spectacular finale, GRANITE, a large-scale theatrical experience taking place in Marischal College in Spring 2016. More information about the project and booking details will be announced in the New Year.
The Granite creative team includes: Director Simon Sharkey (The Tin Forest, Extreme); Associate Director Phil McCormack (Jump, Extreme); Costume and Set Designer Becky Minto (Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Ceremonies); Lighting Designer Colin Grenfell (Black Watch); Dramaturg Peter Arnott (Janis Joplin: Full Tilt and The Cone Gatherers for HMT Aberdeen); and Video Artist Graeme Roger (Culloden Battlefield Artist in Residence). Acclaimed Scottish writer and playwright Peter Arnott is currently working with a writers group in Aberdeen, creating the script for the final performances.
Granite Director Simon Sharkey says: We’re up and running now in Aberdeen, working with some of the city’s best creative talent to create a series of unforgettable events across the city centre. As the nights start to draw in, we’ll be lighting up Aberdeen with free performances and installations that engage, entertain and explore the city’s past, present and future.”
Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam says: Working in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland on the Granite project will provide a fabulous opportunity to tell Aberdeen’s unique story from a range of perspectives. The National Theatre of Scotland will use their special skills to work with a significant number of individuals and groups in the city, creative and not so creative, so that their stories can be turned into unique theatre experiences. Granite will showcase and celebrate the talent already in the city and encourage others to get involved and I am sure that this project will confirm Aberdeen’s place on the cultural map and inspire even greater artistic ambition in the city.  It’s a huge opportunity.”
Derek Henderson, Deloitte’s Senior Partner in Aberdeen, says: “We are honoured and excited to be involved in Granite – and look forward to providing continued support for the initiative in the weeks and months ahead. It’s sure to bring the city to life and provide an extraordinary experience for everyone involved. “There’s a great deal of anticipation in the air and we can’t wait to get started. The trailblazer events perfectly demonstrate Aberdeen’s diversity, as well as its rich history, culture and creativity: just some of the many reasons we are committed to, and continue to invest in, the city.”

Granite Sound: Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November 2015
Granite Theatre: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November 2015
Granite Video: Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December 2015
Granite Dance: Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December 2015
Please check for locations, timings and information on booking Granite Sound. All performances are free and fully accessible


Join the conversation: @NTSonline #GraniteAberdeen

National Theatre of Scotland Press contacts:
Adam McDougall, Press and Marketing Officer:

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9231 M: +44 (0)7738 153157

Emma Schad, Press Manager:

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9016 M: +44 (0)7930 308018

Press Images available on request.


  1. The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally and works constantly to develop new talent. Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the Company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the Company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the Company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.

Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director, National Theatre of Scotland says “ As Scotland’s National Theatre, we pride ourselves on playing a significant part in the cultural life of Scotland’s major cities and creating opportunities for communities nationwide to make work with us. I am delighted that our Learn team will be co-ordinating this hugely exciting and ambitious cultural project in Aberdeen, working with key partners, agencies and organisations, without whose support this wouldn't be possible. I can't wait to see how Aberdeen chooses to tell its story, and how its people will come together to celebrate this unique and vibrant city”

  1. In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms. The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.For more information, please visit

  1. Arts & Business Scotland (A&BS) is a national charity which encourages and promotes new and sustainable collaborations between the creative and business sectors. It fosters dynamic cross sector relationships to enable Scotland to benefit from a vibrant cultural community. The New Arts Sponsorship (NAS) Grant scheme encourages private sector sponsorship of cultural activity in Scotland. Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by A&BS it offers £1 for £1 match funding to cultural organisations which have secured sponsorship from an eligible business.

In total, over £7 million has been invested in culture through NAS with Scottish Government investment exceeding £3 million since the grant scheme began in 2006.

Arts & Business Scotland's Chief Executive, David Watt says: "Granite is a fantastic initiative and an exciting addition to the National Theatre of Scotland's tenth anniversary programme. Arts & Business Scotland is delighted to be associated with the project through our New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme and have no doubt it will prove to be a huge success."

  1. Balmoral Group Holdings Ltd is a privately owned company based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Employing over 600 people, Balmoral has been providing solutions to the oil and gas, marine, construction, environmental engineering and processing sectors since 1980.

Jim Milne CBE, Chairman and Managing Director, Balmoral Group says:

As an Aberdeen-based company and very much part of the local community, we are delighted to be working with like-minded innovators at National Theatre of Scotland on Granite. This is a huge and ambitious project and we expect nothing less from our national theatre company. From the early days of quarrying and exporting granite around the world to current times when companies such as ours operate on a global basis, Aberdeen has always been a city of vision and ambition. The Granite project will learn from the past, inform the future and focus on Aberdeen’s spirit in the best possible way.”

  1. Aberdeen Inspired is Aberdeen’s Business Improvement District within the city centre, funded by levy payers. Aberdeen Inspired works on behalf of 700 (approx.) city centre businesses.

Aberdeen Inspired Chief Executive Gary Craig says: Aberdeen Inspired will continue to support such productions that celebrate the unique attributes of our city, while also shining a creative light on our rich history. One of our overriding aims as a company is to continue to increase footfall to our city centre, and we believe Granite will provide an exciting programme of installations and events that will pull in captivated crowds. We are looking forward to seeing the productions coming together in partnership with some of our city’s artistic creative groups.”

  1. ACT Aberdeen is a leading community arts venue run by a small core team of staff and over 80 volunteers, which provides facilities and opportunities for professional, amateur and youth companies and individuals to enjoy an enriching cultural life through tuition, performance and participation, regardless of age or social circumstance.

ACT Aberdeen Artistic Director Paula Gibson says:

Louise Baxter, current Chair of ACT Aberdeen, and I planted the seed of telling the story of the granite industry (through the eyes of the people who worked in it) with the National Theatre of Scotland some time ago. Instantly, they were taken with the idea and we returned to Aberdeen enthused with the potential for this project. National Theatre of Scotland represents the very best of contemporary community theatre and we are delighted and privileged to be working alongside Simon and his team of creatives as this sparkling project comes to fruition.”

  1. Citymoves Dance Agency nurtures a diverse programme of dance classes, performance groups, workshops, residencies, targeted partnership projects across Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland. It produces DanceLive – Scotland's only annual festival of contemporary dance which is celebrating its 10th birthday in October 2015. Citymoves' purpose is to make a difference through dance and we aim to forge strong partnerships, increase participation, develop audiences and nurture talent. Citymoves Dance Agency receives strong support from Aberdeen City Council and is a Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisation.

Citymoves Dance Agency says: “Citymoves' purpose is to make a difference through dance, whilst participation, performance and collaboration sit at the very heart of the organisation. Granite is exceptionally exciting as it offers two of our performance companies, Quicksilver (our over-50s company who’ll be fresh from performing at Dance Live 2015) and Fusion (our nationally renowned youth dance company) the opportunity collaborate and perform to our home crowd in one of the most iconic sites in the city”

  1. Mackie’s is a pioneering family business from Aberdeenshire which has diversified into making ice-cream, crisps and most recently chocolate - all under the ‘Mackie’s of Scotland’ brand. Mackie's is a vertically integrated, fourth generation family business who have been farming at Westertown, Aberdeenshire since 1912 and making ice cream in a "sky to scoop design chain" since 1986. The award winning environmental business is powered by renewable energy from Mackie’s wind turbines and a solar panel farm.

The 1500 acre arable farm supports a 450 cow dairy herd which supplies fresh cream and milk for their real dairy ice cream. Mackie's now produce over 11 million litres of ice cream per annum in several tub sizes for both retail and food services markets and also make their own plastic packaging on the farm. 61 staff, with an average tenure over 12 years, work for the company. Mackie's ice cream is the No.1 brand in premium ice cream in Scotland. In 2009 Mackie’s diversified into premium crisps, made in a joint venture company under license and now exporting to over 20 countries worldwide.
Mackie’s are currently building a chocolate factory at the farm to make their latest new product- a range of four flavours of chocolate – with a hint of Scotland provided with Scottish malt, Scottish-grown mint and their home-made honeycomb. Mackie’s chocolate is available in selected Scottish Tesco and Sainsburys outlets and online at

Karin Hayhow, Marketing Director from Mackie’s of Scotland says Mackie’s are delighted that the National Theatre of Scotland team are coming to work their magic in our home town of Aberdeen. We look forward to working with them to explore stories from the people of Aberdeenshire. As a fourth generation family business we appreciate that the endeavours of our ancestors have helped create a vision for our future generations. We are looking forward to a celebration of Aberdeen and its people from the creative genius of the people of the National Theatre of Scotland and their local allies”.

  1. Station House Media Unit (shmu), established as a charity in 2003, is one of the core cultural organisations in Aberdeen, and is at the forefront of Community Media development in Scotland, supporting residents in the seven regeneration areas of the city in the use of a range of media for a variety of purposes.  shmu is actively involved in radio and video production, traditional and on-line publications, music production and digital inclusion programmes. The organisation also supports other disadvantaged communities, both geographic and communities of interest, with an employability and training arm and a programme for offenders, both pre and post-release.

Station House Media Unit Chief Executive Murray Dawson says:

We have been using media for many years to help the people of Aberdeen reminisce and to tell stories of great personal value to them. This is not only a fantastic project from that perspective but it will also afford an opportunity for our many volunteers to actively participate in a high quality collaborative project”

  1. Aberdeen Performing Arts is a charitable trust managing Aberdeen’s His Majesty's Theatre, Music Hall and The Lemon Tree. APA's vision is to reach for the stars in everything we do. Through staging and producing a wide and diverse range of work we aim to touch emotions, lift the spirits and expand the minds of both residents and visitors to the North East of Scotland.

Lisa Mathieson, Creative Learning Manager at APA says: We are delighted to have our Senior Youth Theatre take part in this exciting project with the National Theatre of Scotland. Aberdeen has a story to tell and we are proud to have our young people take a role in telling it. It is exciting to have a new team of artists come to the city to collaborate with the talent that already exists and provide the community with a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform a story about Aberdeen, in Aberdeen, for Aberdeen.”  

  1. Based at Banchory’s Woodend Barn, Sound organise the annual Sound Festival: Scotland's Festival of New Music, as well as workshops and performances throughout the year. We aim to make new music more accessible through a variety of performances, workshops, talks and other activities, as well as to encourage excellence and experimentation by commissioning and producing new work, and to nurture local and Scottish talent. We do this in partnership with a range of local, national and international arts organisations.

Sound chairperson Pete Stollery says:This has been an amazing experience. SERG (Sound Emporium Research Group), the sonic art research group at the University of Aberdeen has been recording sounds in and around Aberdeen and presenting sound installations and other sound art works throughout the city for a number of years, but this project allows us to work with NTS as well as being part of the sound festival and work with some really exciting composers, writers and members of the public.”

  1. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

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