Thousands of people gathered to watch as Scotland’s largest puppet took over the streets of Glasgow.
The latest project from Edinburgh’s Visual Theatre company Vision Mechanics wowed the crowds on Saturday as part of Celtic Connections’ one off festival within the festival; Coastal Connections.
The puppet, Storm, first "awoke" on the banks of the River Clyde, with audiences watching on in as she made her very first public appearance as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.
Created to celebrate the unique heritage and diverse culture of the coasts and waters of Scotland, Storm was the opening act for an event which aims to highlight the rich seam of folklore that runs along our shorelines, with the organisers stating that she carries a message of healing our planet by taking care of and celebrating the natural wonders and wildlife of the oceans.
Hand made from recycled and natural materials, the ten-metres tall puppet was controlled by a team of eight.
Accompanied by a series of tracks by Scottish folk singer and musician Mairi Campbell and Dave Gray, Storm was also joined by pop up performances from the Dileab choir and the Campbeltown Pipe Group before the event culminated in a dance performance on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall by students from Glasgow’s Kelvin College Performing Arts Programme in striking costumes carrying the bold “we make change” message.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “What an exciting way to kick off Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. Storm carries an important message of caring for and celebrating our oceans and their wildlife.
“I look forward to seeing her continue her journey around Scotland, giving communities a chance to celebrate their connections to our coastlines and to work together to protect our waters for future generations to enjoy.”
Talking about the success of Storm’s debut appearance, Vision Mechanics artistic director, Symon Macintyre said: “Storm is the culmination of two years work, planning and making. Seeing her finally walk through Glasgow feels like a very exciting start to 2020.
“She’s come into her own and is making us all very proud already - try avoiding her blue eyes as she looks around and bears witness to the city! She’s here with a message about our oceans, a huge reminder of how we owe them everything and now is the time to stand up and protect Storm and her home. I must say thank you to the Year of Coast and Waters Team and Celtic Connections for hosting her.”
Celtic Connections creative producer, Donald Shaw said: “Celtic Connections has always had strong links with the unique music and heritage of the seas, waters and shores of Scotland. Coastal Connections is a fantastic way to kick-start Scotland’s Years of Coasts and Waters, with musicians from more than 20 islands, coasts and peninsulas performing across the day for our festival within a festival. Storm has launched Coastal Connections in spectacular celebratory style, launching a vibrant, exciting day of celebrations and culture for the people of Glasgow.”
Storm’s debut appearance is one of 300 events featured in Celtic Connections 2020 programme which continues through to Sunday 2 February.
Plans for Storm to tour Scotland throughout the year are underway with a lineup of confirmed appearances including Falkirk, Skye and Oban expected to be announced in the coming weeks.