Giant swing set to go on tour around Scotland over the summer

A giant set of swings is to go on tour around Scotland on the summer – to help stage spectacular dance shows and provide a pop-up attraction for the public to play on.

The Swings was premiered by All or Nothing at the Royal Botanic Garden. Picture: Suzanne Heffron
The Swings was premiered by All or Nothing at the Royal Botanic Garden. Picture: Suzanne Heffron

The 16 ft tall swing set, which will create its own special sound effects, will appear on everything from a rugby pitch and a bowling green to playparks, castle grounds and car parks.

A two-month tour of The Swings, supported by national arts agency Creative Scotland is being staged by the Edinburgh-based dance theatre company All or Nothing after an initial unveiling at the Royal Botanic Garden in the city.

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Performers will stage a specially-choreographed 15-minute “aerial duet” inspired by traditional playground games throughout each day of the tour, which will run from 26-June till 18 August, before audience members of all ages are invited to take a turn.

The Swings is billed as 'part performance and part installation.' Picture: Suzanne Heffron

The 23 venues lined up as part of the tour include the site of an historic orangery in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Greenock’s Custom House Quay, the King George V Playpark in Lerwick, Shetland, Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock, Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye, Pollokshields Bowling Green and the rugby pitch next to The Barn arts centre in Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

Performances of The Swings will be staged as part of the Merchant City Festival and Govan International Festival, both in Glasgow, and the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival in Renfrewshire.

A spokesman for All or Nothing said: “Inspired by age old playground games and memories the playful dynamic between the two aerial artists is key.

“Using the long ropes and swing seats as their apparatus they begin by exploring this unfamiliar environment, swinging, and jumping off, climbing and hanging whichever way they can, their voices unable to contain their excitement.

Audience members will be able to try out The Swings after each 'aerial dance duet' by All or Nothing's performers. Picture: Suzanne Heffron

"They gradually build the energy performing a range of stunning tricks, flipping, somersaulting, and tumbling, as they soar high above the socially distanced audience below.

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“Following every performance, audiences will be invited to have some time on the swings.

"As old and young experience the sheer joy of swinging they will be accompanied by a soundscape made up of memories, thoughts and feelings of being on a swing.”

Jennifer Paterson, All or Nothing’s artistic director, said: ““The inspiration for The Swings came from spending time in a playpark as a mum, being around swings again and seeing how much joy they bring.

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“Swings are so integral to your childhood. They are in almost every park. If you’re lucky you have one in your garden, or maybe a rope swing on a tree. You hang about them as a teenager.

"The feeling of being on a swing and the excitement of building it up higher and higher never leaves you. It’s such a visceral feeling - the air rushing past your face, the laughing, the rise and fall of your stomach.”

Jaine Lumsden, theatre officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Audiences across the country can look forward to All or Nothing’s fun, inventive and multi-sensory circus experience touring to outdoor spaces this summer in partnership with some of Scotland’s much loved theatres and festivals.”

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