Aproxima Arts presents ‘Over Lunan’
2 – 12 September 2021
Commissioned by Hospitalfield and Arbroath 2020+1, Over Lunan is an extraordinary sound and visual promenade performance in the dunes of Lunan Bay in Angus, Scotland. It is masterminded by Angus Farquhar of Aproxima Arts to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.
Drawing on our connection to the life-giving sea and the mythology that fills its timeless depths, Over Lunan is a monumental sound and visual installation located in Angus on Scotland’s East Coast. The perfect crescent of Lunan Bay becomes the sonic arena for a powerful environmental artwork linking the ‘cradle of civilisation’, Mesopotamia, and Scotland’s Lunan Bay, uncovering ancient stories running deep in the history and mythology of both cultures divided by over 3,000 years and miles.
Our world is formed and connected by the sea. Thousands of years ago, the UK’s coastlines were shaped by cataclysmic events – unimaginably huge underwater landslides, mega-tsunami… In Mesopotamia too, mythical floods gave rise to creation stories of the Apkallū – half-fish, half-human sages who emerged from the sea to bring knowledge to our shared ancestors.
Thousands of years later, those same lands lie decimated by war and the world’s oceans are rising again… what would the Apkallū say if they returned to speak for one last time?
Over Lunan will highlight both the fragility of the natural world and the remarkable first spiritual aspirations of modern humanity, formed long before Christianity, Judaism and Islam took root.
This special open-air production is designed to be enjoyed in a relaxed, socially distant environment. For those unable to travel to Angus, Over Lunan will be available in a form of a radio play, produced by award-winning programme maker Steve Urquhart. Further details on the radio play will be announced in due course.
To further explore the links between Scotland and Mesopotamia (currently Syria, Iraq and Turkey), the Over Lunan team has devised an ambitious engagement programme, including a musical exchange between musicians from Scotland and the Middle East, with further details to be announced.
Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of social action and arts organisation Aproxima Arts, has assembled an inspiring team to produce Over Lunan which includes the writer, creative producer and former Artistic Director of Unicorn Theatre, Purni Morell as dramaturg and co-scriptwriter.
With soundscape being such a key element of Over Lunan brings in an inspiring selection of musicians and composers, including composer of electroacoustic music Andrew Knight-Hill who has written and composed the initial choral sketches, written in Akkadian and performed by the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir based at St Andrew’s University, New Zealand-born trumpeter and conductor Bede Williams, Musical Director of the New Music Ensemble, St Andrews and musician Claire Innes-Hopkins, Director of Chapel Choirs at St Andrew’s University, with musician and composer Cameron Sinclair contributing live wooden marimba.
The cast will include Scottish actor Robin Laing whose credits, among others, include Spielberg and Hanks-created Band of Brothers series.
The Over Lunan team also includes Angus Farquhar’s long-term collaborator designer James Johnson and filmmaker Michael Hunter.
The concept and script for Over Lunan have been informed by two experts: Professor Martin Worthington, Head of Assyriology at the University of Cambridge and Professor Nathan Wasserman, Flood Mythology Studies at Berlin and Jerusalem Universities.
Over Lunan was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 as part of Arbroath 2020 celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. This iconic document is a letter written in 1320 by the barons and whole community of the kingdom of Scotland to the Pope, asking him to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king.
Over Lunan is a creative response by Aproxima to the ancient topography of the landscape that forms the special character of the region.
Due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, the ambitious six-month-long programme of Arbroath 2020 had to be postponed by a year. Full Arbroath 2020+1 programme is now revealed and available to browse at www.arbroathfestival.com.
Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of Aproxima Arts said: “Lunan Bay is one of the most resonant coastal landscapes in Britain and the perfect site to explore a mythical story of flood rise and animistic ritual; it will be a joy to be working together in September, to produce Aproxima Arts’ first major production.”
Minister for Parliamentary Business Graeme Dey said: “The Declaration of Arbroath is rightly regarded as Scotland’s most iconic document, historically and culturally important to Arbroath and Scotland and with an influence which spreads far and wide.
“The Scottish Government is supporting a range of activity to mark the 700th anniversary through Arbroath 2020+1. Over Lunan is a great opportunity for audiences to see a creative response to this beautiful part of Scotland and with the international spirit that the Declaration inspires.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting Over Lunan, through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund as we continue to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.
“The Aproxima Arts team should be commended for their innovative approach, providing a way for audiences and artists to come together and experience this powerful environmental art installation, which highlights the beauty of the coastal landscape and its history, in an engaging and safe way.”
Lunan Farms’ Scott Bremner, owner of the beach said: “Lunan Farm and Lunan House Hotel is delighted to host the artistic production of Over Lunan. The event will offer a great opportunity to tell the fascinating history of Lunan Bay to a wide and varied audience.”