Free outdoor show to transform historic Scottish abbey to launch UK-wide cultural celebration

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The historic heart of Paisley will take center stage in a week-long event that will combine state-of-the-art projection mapping technology with poetry, music and choral singing.

Billed as an “exhilarating journey” from the dawn of the universe with the Big Bang to the present day, About Us will explore the links between the cosmos, the natural world, and the human race.

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The free, ticketless event will take place on the cathedral walls and on temporary illuminated plinths to be installed outside the 12th-century building, previously used as a concert hall.

Historic Paisley Abbey will be transformed with a free outdoor show kicking off a UK-wide celebration of culture next month.

Company 59 Productions, the firm behind a series of spectacular opening events for the Edinburgh International Festival, is organizing About Us, which will feature live performances each night by the Paisley Philharmonic Choir, the City of Glasgow Choir and the Strathclyde University Chamber Choir.

Poems and animations created by young people from across Renfrewshire will be featured in the immersive outdoor experience, which will feature 25-minute shows between 7pm and 9:15pm from February 28 to March 6.

Key collaborators on the project include award-winning musician and composer Nitin Sawhney, who has created a new score for About Us, Scots Makar Kathleen Jamie, and mathematician, author and broadcaster Rachel Riley.

About Us, one of ten new cultural projects taking place across the UK in 2022, will launch the £120m Unboxed festival, instigated by the UK government after the Brexit referendum but backed since then by decentralized administrations.

Historic Paisley Abbey will be transformed with a free outdoor show opening a celebration of culture across the UK.

Lysander Ashton, the director of 59 Productions, said: “About Us has been a unique collaborative process that brought together poets, scientists, musicians, visual artists and scholars.

“All of these unique voices have contributed to a dazzlingly rich composite vision of the extraordinary universe we all share.

“About Us is an invitation to experience a world where you are made of stars, you are built from a trillion intricate cells working in harmony, you are related to dinosaurs, and you can connect with a billion people with the press of a button. button. button.”

Martin Green, Creative Director of Unboxed, which will be available across the UK until October, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to open Unboxed, the UK’s most ambitious celebration of creativity to date, in Paisley with About Us and literally , a Big Bang.

Historic Paisley Abbey will be transformed by About Us, a free outdoor show that will kick off a cultural celebration across the UK. Image: 59 Productions

“It will show us what can be achieved when we harness the creative power of scientists, technicians, producers, musicians, poets and mathematicians to produce and present a truly extraordinary and inspiring experience that the audience, the choirs and the young people who have contributed, will never forget. .”

Other Unboxed projects taking place in Scotland include Dandelion, which will combine food farming initiatives with music.

The Dreamachine, an immersive kaleidoscopic light experience that visitors will experience with their eyes closed, will visit Edinburgh, where Polinations, a project to create a ‘monumental temporary forest garden’, will launch in the form of a 40ft tall ‘supertree’ . .

Iconic Scottish locations are expected to feature in Green Space Dark Skies, which will see dramatic strings of light created across the UK.

Historic Paisley Abbey will be transformed by About Us, a free outdoor show that will kick off a cultural celebration across the UK. Image: 59 Productions
Historic Paisley Abbey will be transformed by About Us, a free outdoor show that will kick off a cultural celebration across the UK. Image: 59 Productions

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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