Fire and Shadow

A unique eight-month Dark Mountain programme

Date: 1st May — 1st December 2017
Location: UK and Europe


Fire & Shadow is a unique programme exploring the state of the world, our place in it, and how we might weave a new kind of story in an age of upheaval and uncertainty. Over the course of eight months, we will go deeply into some of the biggest questions of our times, through two week-long retreats, solo expeditions into the wild, real-life projects as individuals and small groups, special encounters with guides and teachers, and virtual get-togethers as a community of people. We aim to build a kind of 21st century tribe, committed to looking into the darkness in order to bring wisdom and hope back into our times.


Ecologically, economically and culturally, we are living in an age of crisis. But within every crisis is the opportunity to forge new narratives and new ways of seeing. Fire & Shadow is a unique collaboration between The Dark Mountain Project and our friends at Way of Nature, which aims to build these stories from the ground up. It will look with radical honesty at the state of the Earth today, to build an understanding of the failed stories which have led us to this point, and help us construct new ones together. It will explore intellectual, emotional and practical skills to help navigate the turmoil of our times and to find our roles within it; what we can do, what we can be, what we can offer.

In times like these, it is easy to feel despair, anger, and confusion. This course aims to help us find a sense of wholeness and balance again, to navigate the world we live in, and use our skills for the best in times of fire and shadow.

Questions we will explore include:

– How to look honestly at the state of the world, leaving behind both false hope and false hopelessness.
– How to understand the stories which got us here, and to navigate the emotions they create.
– How to see crisis as opportunity; to build new narratives for a time of change.
– How to explore realistic options for change, both personally and more widely.
– How to see the meaning and the beauty in nature and each other.

Course Structure

Fire & Shadow follows from the success of our week-long 2016 collaboration, Shadows in the Wild. Here, we will go on a deeper journey, combining retreats, virtual gatherings and more meaningful work by taking individual and collective questions from the process into our everyday lives. The course will begin with a week-long retreat, in May 2017, in a wilderness area in Britain or Ireland (venue to be confirmed soon.) This retreat will include a wild ‘solo’ – a powerful, personal expedition into Nature, inspired by traditional Vision Quests. With the help of wild Nature and a combination of stories, workshops,  fireside conversations, ancient wisdom practices and teaching sessions, we will outline the challenges of our times, and shape a set of questions and experiments to take back to our ‘real lives’.

After the first retreat we will form ongoing groups to help each other carry these questions and ideas as we go about our daily lives. We will invite people to work in smaller groups around related questions, reconvening for online conversations – ‘virtual firepits’ – led by the course teachers. Additionally, in between the retreats we will offer two virtual workshops on ‘Working with Stories’ and ‘The Nature of Change’.

As we move into the autumn of the year, we will reconvene for a second gathering, this time in wild Nature in continental Europe. We will come back together to explore what we have learnt from our shared journey, and revisit the stories that we might form in the world. We will go deeper into the art of transformation, again looking to ancient wisdom for insights into the forces of life. And we will return to the wild for a second ‘solo’, trusting that Nature will reveal more to us. By the end of the second gathering, we will draw a new source of insight and potential to help us live our lives more fully, and use our skills more effectively, as we navigate these difficult times. Autumn will also be about closing our journey together, celebrating whatever it has brought.

In the stillness of winter, we will hold a final round of virtual conversations. In the space after the journey, and before spring returns again, we will do a little more to help each other ground this experience and understand how it might ripple out to the world.


Paul Kingsnorth co-founded the Dark Mountain Project in 2009. What began life as a small writers’ movement has since become an international network of many thousands of writers, artists and thinkers exploring the need for new ways of seeing in a time of change. Dark Mountain publishes two collections of writing a year and holds semi-regular events. Paul is also the award-winning author of five books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and an experienced teacher and facilitator. He lives on a smallholding in the west of Ireland. His website is

Andres Roberts is a guide and advisor dedicated to a new kind of progress, fit for a positive future for all. His work combines renewed ideas about learning and change, reconnection to Nature, and the wisdom of ancient cultures to help more positive, and more systemic, change happen. Building on twenty years of experience in learning and leadership, Andres has studied with respected elders from across the world, helping to make ancient wisdom and Nature-based practices more accessible in the modern world. Andres is co-founder of Way of Nature UK and founding partner of The Bio-Leadership Project.

The Fire and Shadow course will also feature two special guest teachers; one on each retreat. Details to be confirmed.


Fire and Shadow is open to anyone, anywhere, who feels that these questions resonate in their lives, and who would like to explore them further in the company of others. We have space for up to 20 people on the journey. If you are interested in joining the programme we ask that you send us a short summary (no more than a few hundred words) saying something about why you think it is for you, and what you would hope to get out of it.


The first Fire & Shadow expedition of the year will take place from the 8th to the 14th May.

The second Fire & Shadow expedition will take place from the 2nd to the 8th of October.

Online workshops and group meetings will be announced and arranged over the duration of the programme. We plan to arrange these around dates and times that work for the whole group.


Full Price: £2650
Early Bird: £2205 – for booking and payment before 23rd December 2016
Bursary spots (4 available): £1600

Price includes all retreats, local transfers on arrival, guiding and teaching, online ‘fire-pits’ and continued provision of materials and support. Price excludes travel to local area stations/airports. Note accommodation will always be camping. The retreats are in May and October, to be held in temperate climates but a degree of reasonable physical fitness will be required, and comfort with camping in wild places.


To book, please email the summary above to [email protected] and we will get back to you with more information and a registration pack.

Practical Pointers

Fire & Shadow is a deeper kind of journey, both individually and collectively. There will be high points and low points, and we hope that there will be much to celebrate on the other side. This will take time and commitment, so we are inviting applications for the full nine month process only. This means you need to be able to make the two wild gathering dates as well as virtual fire-pit meetings. The programme will also support you to carry learning themes and actions into your everyday life, working with other members of the programme in a supportive way. In this way we hope to make it something that can genuinely change lives and inspire positive actions in the world.

Dark Mountain at the Wordsworth Trust

Date: Saturday, 30th November 2013
Time: 2:30am - 3:30pm
Location: Jerwood Centre, Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria


The Wordsworth Trust, guardians of Dove Cottage, the home of Wordsworth, Coleridge and the Romantics in the heart of the English Lake District, has invited the Dark Mountain Project to run a short event on the afternoon of the 30th November. Paul Kingsnorth, Em Strang and Nick Hunt will introduce the work of Dark Mountain and read work from some of our books.

There are more details on the Trust’s website.


(Un)Natural Narratives

Date: Saturday, 15th February 2014
Time: 4pm - 5.30pm
Location: Standpoint Gallery, 45 Coronet Street, London N1 6HD

Grizedale web

As part of a month-long exhibition at this London gallery, Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth will be giving a talk and  chairing a discussion with the exhibited artists and the audience about our relationship to the rest of nature, biophilia, collapse, art and the role of the creator in an age of ecocide. Find out more here.

Dark Mountain poets at Wenlock

Date: Saturday, 26th April 2014
Time: 3 - 3.45pm
Location: Old Chapel House, Sheinton Street, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, TF13 6HT


Dark Mountain will be showcasing some of its poetry – and poets – at this year’s Wenlock Poetry Festival. Dark Mountain editor Nick Hunt will curate a session of readings from our books, and discussion of our work with other Dark Mountain-published poets. Find out more here.

Carrying The Fire

Discussions, talks, music and rolling conversation around the fire

Date: 16th — 18th May 2014
Time: 6am - 6pm daily
Location: Wiston Lodge, Lanarkshire, Scotland


For the third year, this Dark Mountain-inspired event returns to Wiston Lodge. Expect a weekend of writers, thinkers, performers and others, offering discussions, talks and music around the fire. An intimate festival of ideas, poetry, music, and performance, exploring the connections between the arts, ecology and cultural resilience.

Find out more, see the programme, and book your tickets, here.

New Stories at the cliff edge

A five-day Dark Mountain primer at Schumacher College

Date: 23rd — 27th June 2014
Location: Schumacher College, Dartington, Totnes, Devon. TQ9 6EA


This is a new five-day course at Schumacher College, led by Dark Mountain co-founders Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth.

Over the course of this week, we invite you to join us in a process of prising apart the stories we grew up taking for granted – stories of inevitable ‘progress’, human centrality, technological and economic inevitability – and assembling new ones, capable of making sense of the world in which we find ourselves. During the five days of the course we will work together to understand the roots of our current situation.

This is a course for writers, artists, thinkers, doers – anyone who wants to rekindle their own creative relationship with a rapidly-changing world, and draw on radical ways of understanding our current situation. We will draw on poetry, history, philosophy and science as we seek to understand how our cultural stories have led us to the edge of a cliff, and we will use workshops, talks, discussions, exercises and expeditions beyond the classroom to help you see the beginnings of new stories to feed into your own life and work.

This is a chance to go deeper into the territory explored during the Uncivilisation festivals which Dark Mountain has run over the past four years, which have drawn together thinkers, writers, performers and activists from all over the world. Join us as we dig beneath our civilisation’s assumptions – and perhaps our own.

You can find out more, and book a place, here.

Stealing Fire from the Gods

Date: Thursday, 30th October 2014
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Location: Impact Hub Islington, London


Book Launch

For Issue 6 and the fifth anniversary edition of our Manifesto

Date: Wednesday, 3rd December 2014
Time: 6.45pm
Location: Free Word Centre, London


As Dark Mountain turns five years old, you are invited to join us for the launch of our sixth book, ‘The Rising of the Waters’ – and the launch of a new edition of the manifesto that got the whole thing started. From that first call for ‘uncivilised’ writing and art, the project has grown into a cultural movement which the New York Times recently described as ‘changing the environmental conversation in Britain and the rest of Europe’. At its heart are the Dark Mountain books, beautiful biannual hardback collections of stories and essays, poems, conversations and images. The latest issue brings you drowned cities and dragon-summoners, the future of farming and the mythworld of an Amazonian tribe, new visions arising from the wreckage of the old.

Featuring readings from contributors, acoustic music from Evi Vine and an introduction by Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine.

The event is free, but you will need to book a place through the Free Word website:

Scaling the Dark Mountain – writing rooted in time & place

a Dark Mountain writing workshop

Date: Saturday, 13th December 2014
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Location: Oriel Wrecsam, Wales

winter woods photo

Writing new stories for the age of endings. ‘When the cities lie at the monster’s feet, there are left the mountains.’

The latest issue of Dark Mountain will be our springboard into the imagination. No writing experience is necessary – just bring an open, inquisitive mind and a sense of adventure. These sessions are perfect for engaging with your creativity, either as a seasoned writer, a curious beginner, or for people working in other artforms interested in trying something new.

Facilitated by Dark Mountain’s Sophie McKeand: To book please contact Oriel Wrecsam: T: 01978 292093. E: [email protected] 1pm – 3pm. £10/£7 concessions.

This workshop is part of a series of divergent creative workshops commissioned by Oriel Wrecsam and supported by Arts Council Wales. They will run on the second Saturday of each month at Oriel Wrecsam, from1pm – 3pm, starting on 11th October. Contact Sophie for more details: e: [email protected] t: 01978 363264

Shorelines Arts Festival

A Dark Mountain conversation in the west of Ireland

Date: Sunday, 20th September 2015
Time: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Location: An Gairdin Ecology Centre, Portumna, County Galway, Ireland


Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth is in conversation with eco-poet Grace Wells at this Irish arts and literature festival, about Dark Mountain and its work. See the Shorelines website for more details.

Marmaduke Dando album launch

Date: Wednesday, 14th October 2015
Time: 7.30pm
Location: Power Lunches Arts Cafe, Kingsland Road, Dalston, London


Dark Mountain crooner Marmaduke Dando invites you to the London launch of his new album, Where the Wasteland Ends. Songs from the Bard of Disempire’s latest offering, plus some classics, and a support act, all for a measly £5.

If you are on Facebook, this page will give you some more details.

Dark Mountain 8 book launch

An evening of readings, music and conversation

Date: Thursday, 15th October 2015
Time: 7.30pm - 10.30pm
Location: Iklectik Art Lab, London


Please note: this is a free event, but due to limited space you will need to book a place through Eventbrite.

To celebrate the publication of Dark Mountain issue eight, on this very day, the DM team will be gathering in this London venue for an evening of music, readings, conversation and general merriment. Expect readings from contributors to the book – a special issue on our relationship with tools and technology –  music from Marmaduke Dando and In Gowan Ring,  and plenty of time for conversation, book buying and ordering at the bar.

Free tickets are available through Eventbrite – and you’ll find details of how to get to the venue on that page.

Carrying the Fire: Samhain

A weekend of stories and mystery in the wilds of Rannoch Moor

Date: 30th October — 1st November 2015
Time: 18.21pm
Location: Loch Ossian Hostel, Rannoch Moor


Time, the deer, is in the woods…

On Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands, this October, at the turning point of the Celtic year, we invite you to join us for a weekend of performance, storytelling and participation.

The moment we step off the train at Corrour Station, we’ll be immersed in a celebration of the physical and cultural ecology of the moor, and our place within it. We’ll be delving into story, stillness and mystery.

Rannoch Moor in autumn, when the midges have gone and the deer-grass turns red, is a stunning, magical place. We’ll be staying at the Loch Ossian Hostel in the heart of the moor; a fine, remote base: simple, off-grid and cosy. We’ll have the place to ourselves. We’ll eat good, hearty food. We’ll sleep deep and rise early; and over the course of the weekend, we’ll listen in to the moor, slip under its skin, unearth a few of its stories and sing them back to the night.

There’s a train leaving Glasgow Queen Street at 18.21 on Friday, 30th October. We’ll be on it, heading north. We’ll be carrying fire. Will you come with us?

There are just 16 places available for this special event. For more information, or to book one for yourself, visit this website.

A Dark Mountain Conversation with Ansuman Biswas

Hosted by Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine

Date: Friday, 6th November 2015
Time: 17:30-19:30
Location: Uppsala, Sweden


In a collaboration with Uppsala University’s Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) and Riksteatern, we invite you to a conversation between the artist Ansuman Biswas and Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine.

The shadow of climate change brings our ways of living into question. Against this backdrop, a series of international guests join us to initiate conversations that start with a performance, a story or an intervention that unsettles our assumptions about the world.

Our November guest is Ansuman Biswas, an artist whose work crosses boundaries between science, art and religion. From directing Shakespeare and translating the poetry of Tagore to collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, touring with Björk, running workshops on democracy in a Burmese monastery and spending 40 days locked in the tower of a Manchester museum.

In conversation with Dougald, Ansuman will discuss how we ground our thinking about ecological crisis within kinds of knowledge that have been overlooked or undervalued by the dominant culture.

Uppsala Stadsteater – 6 November 2015 – 17:30-19:30

Tickets are free but places are limited – register at the CEMUS website

The Village & The Forest

A night with the Dark Mountain Workshop & Ansuman Biswas

Date: Monday, 9th November 2015
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Stockholm, Sweden


The Village & The Forest is a meeting point on the boundary between worlds. A place where we ask each other to slow down, to resist the rush to action or to answers, to let our eyes adjust to the dark, until maybe we start to catch sight of the faint possibilities lurking out there, beyond the edge of the world as we have known it.

Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine has been working with Riksteatern, Sweden’s national theatre, to create the Dark Mountain Workshop – a gang of artists from within and beyond the stage arts in Sweden gathers around the kinds of questions that Dark Mountain frames.

This is an underworld journey, a search for a new cultural language, capable of reframing the largest questions that the world is facing.

The Village & The Forest is where we open up these conversations and explorations to anyone who wants to join us. This is not the familiar space of performance or debate, but something more intimate and informal, a chance to meet the members of the workshop and our collaborators, and spend time.

Each month, the group is joined by an international guest artist who takes the floor for part of the evening. In November, our guest is Ansuman Biswas, an artist whose work crosses boundaries between science, art and religion. From directing Shakespeare and translating the poetry of Tagore to living with wandering minstrels in India, touring with Björk, running workshops on democracy in a Burmese monastery and spending forty days locked in the tower of a Manchester museum.

With Ansuman’s help, we’ll explore the body as underworld, the reality of our vulnerability as fleshy creatures and the ways in which our cultures have faced or avoided this reality.

Kägelbanan, Stockholm – Monday 9 November 2015 – 18.00-21.00

Tickets cost 80kr and are available through the Södra Teatern website.

Scaling the Dark Mountain: Poems from the cliff face

A workshop with poet & Mountaineer Sophie McKeand

Date: Saturday, 16th January 2016
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Anglesey, Cymru/Wales


‘When the cities lie at the monster’s feet, there are left the mountains.’

How can we create meaning in our lives and art in a society unwilling or unable to avert the coming ecological catastrophe? Can connecting with our community alleviate this profound sense of loss and grief, offering purpose and a deep rootedness? Working as a community poet is my response to Dark Mountain’s position, and our day will be spent exploring the Art of Community along with using pieces from various Dark Mountain anthologies as inspiration.

Workshop at the Ucheldre Literary Society, Saturday 16th January 2016.

10am – 4pm. £15/£10 students and concessions.

Ucheldre Centre, Millbank, Holyhead, Anglesey LL65 1TE, Cymru/Wales.

Tel: 01407 763361

Sophie McKeand is a freelance writer and workshop facilitator from Y Gogledd Cymru. She regularly works with organisations such as Literature Wales, Arts Council Wales, Oriel Wrecsam and Age Cymru, and is particularly interested in working with marginalised groups. The psyche is a powerful tool for transformation, and the creation of art is something Sophie believes plays a crucial role in the evolution of communities.

Sophie worked as part of the core Dark Mountain team from 2012 to summer 2015 and remains a committed Mountaineer. She was longlisted for the Poetry Society‘s National Poetry Competition in 2014 and her writing can be found in publications such as Poetry Wales, Dark Mountain, Earthlines and Tears in the Fence. Sophie has performed at festivals and events such as Wenlock Poetry Festival, Green Man, Wilderness, Dinefwr and the Gelynion/Enemies Project (curated by Poetry Wales), as well as being writer/producer on various projects for National Theatre Wales TEAM.

“Sophie writes poems in which strange, old, true things are forced into contact with the present. They twist and turn and you never get quite what you expect from them, which is what gives them their power… some of the most interesting poems I’ve read in a long while. Genuinely original.” Paul Kingsnorth

“An allusive, restless sensibility turned outwards to the world; her words have heft, they grasp their way out of poetry into landscape.” Jay Griffiths

Shadows in the Wild

A six-day expedition into the wilds of Spain

Date: 18th — 24th April 2016
Location: Alta Garroxta National Park, Spanish Pyrenees


In spring 2016, we’re running this unique collaboration with wilderness experts Way of Nature in the mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees. It’s a chance to escape from the pressures of modern life and spend some time considering the world as a whole, our place in it, and where we are all going now.

Led by Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth and the team from Way of Nature, we will guide a journey into wilderness of many kinds. We will first hike to a high mountain base in a place between civilisation and the wild. We will make a safe home from which to prepare for a quest into the dark. And from there, we will venture off on adventures that look to truth, to grief and to hope within our souls. We will consider, and seek to address, the challenges of living in an age of mass extinction and climate change:

How do we deal with the grief of ecological crisis?
How can we still be useful in the world?
What can we do and what can we not do?
What lies beyond both false hope and false hopelessness?

Way of Nature will support this intellectual journey by providing tools to reconnect with ourselves and with nature and to open up to all of our senses and our hearts.  Throughout, we will be supported by the incredible power and beauty of this part of the world. And at the heart of the journey we will go out on a 24 hour ‘solo’ – a personal expedition to a special place in the wild.

On our return we hope to bring back new friendships, new sources of stillness and strength, new ways of finding balance and purpose, and a sense that from the darkness there is light.

We will set out into the shadows as a group of twenty explorers. We would love to see diversity in thinking, creating and doing. We can’t wait to see what we might experience and do together.


Shadows in the Wild will take place in the Alta Garrotxa Nature Park. The Alta Garrotxa mountain range flows from the wide plains of the Costa Brava and rises up towards the High Pyrenees. It’s an old land, rich in a culture and history moulded by Greek, Roman, and Arab peoples. Here, the Sant Aniol valley is carved deep into limestone cliffs by a clear mountain stream – a place of great natural beauty and power. Our base will be at one of the highest points of the Alta Garrotxa, looking back towards humanity. Solos and activities will take place deeper in the valley and the mountains.

We may be able to support a small number of people with limited mobility in arriving and departing to/from base camp but not on some of the longer hikes. Please contact us for more information on this.


Standard price: £745
Voluntary high income or paid by work: £1,195
Low income: £395*

*We are able to offer four low income places on Shadows in the Wild. To apply, please contact us with a description of why you would like to come and be part of the journey.

Registration Deadline: 21st January 2016


To book please email [email protected] and we will send you a Welcome Pack and Registration form.

Base Camp : Embercombe

The Dark Mountain Gathering 2016

Date: 2nd — 4th September 2016
Location: Embercombe, High Ashton, Devon EX6 7QQ


Calling all fellow explorers on the edge of civilisation! The Dark Mountain Project is setting up BASE CAMP at Embercombe in Devon on the weekend of September 2nd-4th 2016 and you are invited to join us.

It’s the first large gathering to be held by Dark Mountain for three years and will be a great opportunity to look at the issues the project has raised, to share ideas with real people in a real place, to sit round a hearth and hear stories from the other side of the fire.

We are thrilled to be hosted for the first time by Embercombe, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, England – a stunning place, set amidst fifty acres of permaculture woodland, fields and gardens, with a variety of eco buildings, yurts and a lake for swimming

The programme for the event will include speakers and performers who are producing some of the most interesting and creative responses to this era of converging crises. Just as important, throughout the weekend, there will be a chance for everyone who attends to actively contribute.

BASE CAMP aspires to a rich mix of talks, workshops and performance, and to the kind of alchemy that can happen when you honour the spaces that open in-between. It’s a chance to replenish, to take a fresh look at the maps and to plan new routes and adventures. If you’re an old friend of Dark Mountain, or have just discovered us, we hope you’ll want to be part of it.

In keeping with our desire for an intimate, participative event, we are limiting numbers to 150. Tickets are now on sale. Do follow our blog meanwhile and keep up to date on our Facebook event page. You can find all the necessary information from transport to accommodation on the Base Camp site..


Hidden Civil War: A Dark Mountain Workshop

Date: Tuesday, 4th October 2016
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm
Location: Summerhill Bowling Club Winchester Terrace, NE4 6EH Newcastle upon Tyne


Hidden Civil War is a month long programme of events and exhibitions across Newcastle upon Tyne that expose, collate and present evidence of a Hidden Civil War in Britain today.

‘We intend to challenge the stories that underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.’

We are living in a time between stories. Everywhere people have stopped believing the stories they have been told: narratives of limitless growth, the inevitability of progress, the triumph of Western capitalism, and money making them happy. But stories are the element in which we live: they determine how we understand the world, and what kind of future we are able to imagine. A time between stories is a dangerous time. We must fill the void.

In an age of unravelling certainties – social, political, ecological – how do we chart a path between the extremes offered us: a gleaming technological utopia on one hand, and an apocalyptic collapse on the other? How do we de-story ourselves from the myths of Empire, and provide the breathing space for more honest ones to grow?

In this talk and workshop session, Charlotte Du Cann and Nick Hunt from The Dark Mountain Project will invite participants to create the road maps we need to sustain us on that paradoxical return journey – in language, in culture, in myth, dreaming and action – maps that cohere, connect and convene, and lead us towards the future.

Date: 4th October

Time: 6-8pm

Location: Summerhill Bowling Club, Winchester Terrace, Newcastle-on-Tyne, NE3 6EH

Admission: Free

Remembrance of Lost Species

Date: Wednesday, 7th December 2016
Time: 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Location: Sheffield


Venue: Theatre DelicatessenSheffield, England

Tickets: £9-12 – book here

As part of the Remembrance Day for Lost Species, join Abi Nielsen and friends for an evening of story and song, in tribute to those species lost forever in this age of extinction.

Featuring the magnetic, award winning folk singer Nancy Kerr, the formidable and wise storyteller Tim Ralphs, and nature-inspired, wind-howling cellist and singer, Sarah Smout. If you heard of one, but don’t know the others, check out our Facebook event page, where we’ll be sharing photos, videos and events featuring all our artists in the lead up to this evening.

When we hear that a fellow earth-dwelling species will never again draw breath, fly, swim, slither, flower or set seed – often due to our own unconscious, disconnected hand – how can we do anything about the overwhelming nightmare, if we do not begin by engaging with the rage and with the grief?

Extinction is studied by scientists. Culturally, however, we risk forgetting the beauty and distinct life of extinct species and our historic relationship with past life forms.

This is a chance to learn and tell the stories of those lost in the sixth mass extinction, and to renew commitments to those remaining.

Since 2011 people have held memorial events, practical conservation projects, art and education activities around the world on November 30th. We will be holding our wake for lost species one week later, on Wednesday 7th December. Please join us. It will be an evening of remembering, and celebrating, those species we have lost and those we are in danger of losing. This is an evening of stories, both sung and spoken, and of hope.

Book tickets online here.

The Night Breathes Us In

A Dark Mountain Event at Reading's Festival of the Dark

Date: Saturday, 25th March 2017
Time: 12:30pm - 10:00 pm
Location: Forbury Gardens, Reading, England


On the 25th of March the Dark Mountain project presents The Night Breathes Us In as part of Outrider Anthems’ year-long Festival of the Dark. This unique event will celebrate the Spring Equinox with a combination of workshops and performance: a participative journey of story, song and fire.

At a time when winter is ending and spring has begun, we will look at our relationship to the seasonal shifts of the year, and to the deeper flow of both circular and linear time. We will explore the play of light and dark as expressed in the stories and myths that enrich our lives.

Throughout the afternoon there will be a full programme of talks and workshops. In the evening, as the light fades, we will take your hand and lead you on a lantern-lit procession, a waymarked route of shadowed installations and performance, to a secret location where we’ll share stories, music, poetry, and the warmth of a good fire; we’ll celebrate the dark and the community of people that has gathered; we’ll let the night breathe us in.

12:30pm – 10:00pm
For full timings see here

Time Walk– the story of the Earth in a thousand paces

Take a journey through time, of nearly five billion years, tracking the story of our home planet. Marvel at the way everything on Earth evolved from stardust. From the origins of our world through eras of amazing life forms to the present moment, this is the strangest true story ever told. Your cosmic guide will be artist, musician and theatre maker, Annabelle Macfadyen.

Dark Mountain Issue 10: Uncivilised Poetics

Author and Dark Mountain editor Nick Hunt will introduce Uncivilised Poetics, the latest anthology from the Dark Mountain Project. This is our tenth collection of stories, essays, poems and images, produced in a hardback edition. We will share readings from the book and explore the wider impact of Dark Mountain as a cultural movement in a time of profound change.

Crossing the Bridge – navigating ourselves in Deep Time

A group exploration of the ancestral calendar of the growing and solar year, led by writer and Dark Mountain editor, Charlotte Du Cann. The session will look at the challenges and opportunities represented by the eight stations or ‘doors’ of the year, focusing on the Spring Equinox.

We will be looking at the layers of time (as distinct from 24/7 mechanical time) – which includes the seasons, biographical time, the times we are in (history, era of climate change), as well as ancestral or mythic time – and sharing new ways this ‘clock of stones’ can teach us how to be real human beings, rooted in place and time. Please bring a stone, or the memory of a stone, that has held significance for you through time.

Singing the Dark

Darla Eno and Tamsin Wates invite you to join them in a celebration of the songs and sounds of the dark. Taking inspiration from the habits of animals at night, we will use body and voice to begin exploring how darkness opens an elevated level of perception and sensory awareness. From a place of listening and responding, we will allow our collective sound to emerge.

Stepping Out into the Dark

In this session, writer, therapist and ‘human rewilder’ Steve Wheeler will lead a series of collaborative games to help us to reconnect with our bodies, to trust in the natural wisdom of our hearts. The session will take as its starting point the age-old human instinct to draw close to a lit place of safety, safe from the wildness lurking in the shadows all around. Through conversation, movement, partner work and imagination, we will explore what it means to embrace the shadow-side, and to step boldly out into the darkness of the unknown.

Holding the Fire

Lucy Neal, theatre maker and author of Playing for Time: making art as if the world mattered, hosts this exchange of stories about warmth and holding true to our inner fire. Inspired by Sicily’s 3rd century activist, Lucia of Syracuse, who ‘held the fire’ on her head when taking soup to the poor, with the help of a wooden headtorch, illuminating a path through the dark.

Procession and performance: The Night Breathes Us In

At 6.30pm we will light the lanterns and begin our procession through the streets of Reading. The walk will take approximately 30 minutes – look out for ‘interventions’ along the way. Arrival at our secret woodland location will be marked by a literal and symbolic crossing point. Be prepared for strange encounters on a journey through an enchanted otherworld!

Once we’ve gathered in the woods, the fire will be lit and we will share a feast of stories, music, songs and poetry. The evening will formally end at around 10pm, with an escorted walk back to where we began.

For more information on the event, and to buy tickets, see the Outrider Anthems page here.