TWO Highlands students have collaborated to create and stage a play based on their experiences living in the Outer Hebrides.

The pair - who attend the University of the Highlands and Islands North, West and Hebrides campus - have been inspired by Uist landscapes to create a play told through the eyes of three seabirds.

Marit Schoepel and Gracie Davie have written, produced, and performed the play which draws from their local environment and landscape, particularly gannets hunting in Eriskay.

The piece, entitled “For the Sound of the Sea in the Sky”, explores pollution and ecological collapse with the climate crisis and environment at the heart of the work.

The National: Gannets on the Bass Rock...The Bass Rock off the coast of Dunbar in East Lothian is the largest single rock colony of gannets in the world and is home to around 48, 065 pairs of these seabirds.  The earliest recording of these protected and fascinating bi

They believe the work demonstrates how important Uist is as an inspiration to students and the local creative communities based there.

Both Schoepel and Davie have been studying at Cnoc Soilleir, where they have been able to access new facilities such as a recording studio. Cnoc Soilleir has created a new home for creative collaborations in South Uist. The play will be filmed by Donald Henderson, an MG Alba apprentice placed with Ceòlas.

Davie, an HNC Music student, shared: “We are both artists who constantly engage with the landscape, so it made sense to collaborate on a project like this.

"Marit wanted to write a piece about the Northern Gannet and explore certain musical ideas, so my job as playwright was to create a structure/vessel which would allow the music to arise. The Music HNC leaves room for creative flexibility and collaboration, so this play was the perfect fit.”

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Schoepel, studying BA Applied Music, added: “The piece showcases the destruction of our environment by letting three endangered birds tell their story. It is connected to the place of our studies - Uist, including field recordings from the Askernish beach, free improvisations and a composition.

"The BA Applied Music is a course that allows students to explore and grow their creativity. I learned how to collaborate effectively and how to make my creative ideas a reality.

"Being in my last year, I am able to use my learned skills to develop such a project. The freedom of using the space in Cnoc Soilleir and equipment of UHI helped to create our piece.”

Music lecturer Allan Henderson said: “I’m very proud of the students and the work they have put into this project, which is completely of their own volition. I’m proud of the way they have worked collaboratively with everyone here at Cnoc Soilleir, and I’m proud of their efforts to highlight environmental problems that we are all facing on a daily basis.

“It doesn’t surprise me that they have drawn inspiration from the local landscape. One only has to step outside your front door in Uist to understand the creative possibilities that our environment provides. I salute their creativity, because creativity changes the world for the better.”