Carrying the Fire

The Programme

is a writer, performer, and storyteller. He has co-created and directed many of Dark Mountain’s on site performances, including Liminal (Uncivilisation Festival) and The Night Breathes Us In (Festival of the Dark, Reading). He lives in South West Scotland by the River Ae, with his wife and two daughters.
Carrying the Fire will combine art, discussion, theatre and film in a weekend of reflection and conversation. After gathering on Friday night, with music and stories and introductions round the fire, the programme proper will begin on Saturday morning. Paul Kingsnorth will introduce and discuss the Dark Mountain Project – placing it in context, tracing its roots and looking ahead to new developments.

Later that morning Margaret Elphinstone will read from and discuss The Gathering Night – her novel which celebrates ‘wildness’ and insists that a different relationship with nature is possible. As Adam Thorpe writes in The Guardian: “the most telling achievement of The Gathering Night is that it persuades us to accept its entirely different value-system without a qualm, and even to regret that humanity ever thought of swapping the hunter’s spear for the tiller’s spade.”

In the afternoon we have a wonderful session planned with Sharon Blackie of TwoRavens Press and the soon to be launched Earthlines, and Alastair McIntosh author of Soil and Soul. Entitled ‘Restorying the Earth’, they will explore with us “the ways in which myth, story and listening to the land’s own dreaming can help reconnect us with the spirit of place.”

The last session of the afternoon will be a conversation with Franklin Lopez, director of Join the Resistance Fall in Love and his latest film,  End:Civ. Rarely to be found this side of the Atlantic, Franklin will discuss his work and show footage from End:Civ. He is a passionate and uncompromising film maker who challenges us all to rethink our stance on issues of personal responsibility and action.

On Saturday evening we will gather by the fire for more music, stories and song. I’m particularly pleased that Mairi Campbell will be performing. Mairi is a folk musician and singer who has begun to explore less traditional paths. I heard her play in Glasgow recently and was deeply affected by the intensity and raw grace of her music. Not to be missed!

After dark, we will take to the woods for Liminal – an otherworldly mix of art, poetry and physical theatre. All manner of folk are collaborating to ensure that this latest instalment will be just as powerful a performance as at last year’s Uncivilisation festival.

To start the day on Sunday, Mairi Campbell will team up with Darlene Kucken to host an  energising workshop introducing ‘Interplay: a creative practice for our times.’ After which,  Norman Bissell, poet and director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, will lead us in an exploration of George Orwell, Geopoetics and ‘the Golden Country’: ‘Living with nature in the political world of Nineteen Eighty-Four’.

As well as all of the above, we will find space for art workshops with Matthew Donnelly and a ‘wild mind’ meditation with Luke Devlin, director of the Centre for Human Ecology. There will be ecopoetry sessions, storytelling for children (and adults), and opportunities to explore the land and the woods round Wiston Lodge. On Sunday afternoon we will gather for a closing session and an opportunity to reflect on the weekend.

Creating an event is a curious experience. You begin with an idea and flesh it out with a wish list of performers and a venue. It takes shape, the date is set, and then the final piece – participants:

If you are interested in exploring the ideas outlined above, if you want to meet others who are similarly inspired by Dark Mountain, or if you simply need a break from the city and a chance to walk in the woods and to sit by open fires in good company, then come. You will be very welcome.

For more information and how to book tickets click here

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