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Theatre show links Piper Alpha to climate emergency

© Supplied by Open Road AberdeenPiper Alpha theatre

Former oil worker, climate activist and local artist John Bolland will explore the parallels between the current climate emergency and the Piper Alpha disaster in his new multimedia theatre production.

“How do you respond when you find yourself on a burning platform – as the Earth currently is?” asks John.

“Having been actively involved in the oil and gas industry’s response to the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea and internationally, I was acutely aware of the parallels.”

Pibroch, which premieres on Saturday January 15, links the personal and social experiences of Piper Alpha survivors with the challenges we all face due to the climate crisis.

The multimedia show is based on John’s own experience, analysis of a wide range of sources on climate change, and detailed research into the oil platform Piper Alpha which exploded and sank in July 1988, killing 165 of the men on board.

Piper Alpha Theatre

Exploring links between Piper Alpha and climate emergency

The new theatre production is based around the pibroch Lament for the Children by Padraig Mor McCrimmon, highlighting the direct Scottish links of Piper Alpha, piping and pibroch, with grief for children.

John Bolland, writer, performer and co-director, said: “During the climate actions of 2018 and 2019, I became very aware of the dissonance between the necessary demands of the climate activists and the lived experience of producers and consumers associated with the fossil fuel industries.

“We are all deeply complicit in the emergency unfolding over the next few decades and yet many of us, especially in the north-east and including myself, have relied on these energy sources to earn a wage and put food on the table.”

Encouraging discussion and reflection

The new production aims to inform, challenge and encourage discussion and reflection. The work examines how language can be used to obfuscate or inform, and the tensions between personal agency and collective action.

Pibroch is also supported by critically-acclaimed piper, saxophonist and low whistle musician Fraser Fifield, alongside a team of north-east theatre professionals including film and visual artist Graeme Roger and lighting designer and production manager Simon Gane.

The performance, which is co-directed by former artistic director at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh Mark Thomson, is funded through Creative Scotland and The National Lottery Fund. It will be followed by an open discussion.

John is being supported in this production by Open Road, a north-east company dedicated to developing and mentoring creative talent in the region.

How to book tickets to see Pibroch

Tickets for Pibroch – taking place on Saturday January 15 at 7.30pm at Glenbuchat Hall and Bothy in Strathdon – are currently on sale and can be purchased here.

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