From the archive – Bruised was my first solo performance work, made in the early 1990s as part of a collaborative project Segami Dance Company with New Zealand performer Hugh Major. Read more at Segami. I am currently going through archive materials to see what remains from that time.
Martin O’Connor and I collaborated once again on a co-commission from Outspoken Arts Scotland. We were invited to develop a proposal for a new theatre production in Paisley called Love Street – The Musical. We spent two months out and about visiting organisations and gathering stories from people in Paisley who have memories and connections to Love Street.
Night Vision (working title) is a body of work in development.
The starting point was a series of texts captured in the middle of the night lying down in a semi-conscious state over a two-year period (2017-19). This was a new approach for me as a composer.
Many thanks to writer Em Strang – an early reader of a random, unfiltered selection of the texts. Em’s generous response gave me encouragement to trust my instincts in pursuing the work.
Early inquiries focused on investigating the text, making selections and initial thoughts about how to interact with the texts in performance. In 2019, I had the opportunity to explore those seed ideas in a Magnetic North Rough Mix Residency. The work-in-progress was aired in a public performance at Perth Theatre, Scotland.
I am delighted to say that in early 2021 I was awarded Creative Scotland funding to develop the next phase of the project over a six month period. A few threads are now unfolding, including a more substantial ensemble work for performance (which takes the title Night Vision), as well as a solo recording project, drawings/visual compositions, and micro-commissions.
I will link to more information here in the coming months, and I’m posting occasional updates on social media – you can connect there too if it’s of interest, details are on the Contact page…
The Mark of the Beast – a collaboration as composer/sound artist with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor that explores lived experience of alcohol and addiction in Glasgow.
Between November 2015 and March 2016, Martin and I worked with the North East Recovery Community to create materials for a sound installation Good Days Bad Days. I composed a ‘soundtrack’ from the many voices/stories of participant’s experiences that was projected as an immersive installation at Platform Glasgow. The work was commissioned by GEAC Platform-to-Health and GRAND (Getting Real About Alcohol n Drugs).
The installationwas research and development for Martin’s live solo show The Mark of the Beast , for which I re-composed the Good Days Bad Days material in 2018.
Collaboration as composer/sound designer with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor on his solo show Togail Nàisean/Building a Nation. We toured as part of a double bill with Aisling Oidhche Meadhan Samhraidh/A Midsummer Nights Dream (performed by Daibhidh Walker, directed by Liz Carruthers).
The tour visited venues in Lewis, North Uist, South Uist, Skye, Isle of Mull, Glasgow, Edinburgh. In 2018 the work had a performance at Tramway, Glasgow. Read more about it at Martin’s website here.
I was absolutely delighted to be one of four composers selected for the Choreographers and Composers Lab 2015 – a two-week intensive residency with Phoenix Dance Theatre in Leeds. The residency was led by Sharon Watson and Ken Hesketh, with guest speakers – Robert Cohan, Peter Weigold, Zoé Martlew, Dr Jo Butterworth, Mike Dixon, Didy Veldman.
Choreographers: Adrienne Hart, Mbulelo Ndabeni, Claire Lefèvre and Sandrine Monin. Composers: Roberto David Rusconi, Nichola Scrutton, Sarah Westwood and Eloise Gynn. Dancers: Hannah Bateman, Francesca Caselli, Andreas Grimaldier, Joshua Harriette, Carmen Marfil, Marie Astrid Mence, Ben Mitchell, Vanessa Pang, Alice Shepherdson, Sam Vaherlehto , Prentice Whitlow. Musicians: Hara Alonso, Oliver Dover, Sean Hamilton, Becky Yen-Huan
From the archive – Segami Dance Company was a collaborative project with New Zealand performer Hugh Major in the early 1990s in Edinburgh, Scotland. We joined forces after our paths crossed while working in the experimental theatre scene.
We created a handful of works including Bruised (solo), My Heart and My Legs, This Glorious Prison, and Shifting Sands, and performed in Edinburgh, London and a few venues in New Zealand’s north island. During our stay in New Zealand we also held workshops and collaborated with performing arts students to create their own contribution to our performance.
Our main influences were Butoh dance, other movement practices like Tai Chi, and indigenous cultures – we were interested in creating intense, contemplative, energetic work. I am currently going through archive materials to see what remains from that time.
I composed a soundscape for Teine Èiginn / Need Fire – an installation created by Dougie Strang for the Hidden Door Festival 2015.
The teine èiginn, or need fire, was lit during a ritual enacted in times of illness, amongst people and/or livestock. Records show that the ritual was still in use in remote communities in the Scottish Highlands up until the end of the nineteenth century.
Theology with Martin O’Connor has been shortlisted for a CATS 2013-14 award in the Best Music and Sound Category. Announcements will be made on 8th June 2014. See details and the full listings at CATS.
Reviews of recent performances at Behaviour Festival
Composer/sound designer with Martin O’Connor for A Govan of the Mind/Theology, performed at The Pearce Institute as part of The Arches Behaviour Festival in April 2014.
Nominated for a CATS Award 2013-14 – Best Music and Sound Category
The show is in two parts: Part 1, Theology is a Glaswegian-dialect version of the Catholic Order of Mass, with composition by Oliver Searle, performed with a local male choir brought together for the production; and Part 2 A Govan of the Mind is a non-narrative epic poem celebrating the beauty of our everyday language.
Design: Rachel O’Neill, lighting design: Kate Bonney, choir leader: Matt Regan. See here for full team and more info.
Lifeguard was a site-specific performance created and performed byAdrian Howells, in collaboration with Mike Brookes, Minty Donald, Rob Drummond, Ira Mandela Siobhan, Jane Mason, Nick Millar and Nichola Scrutton. Produced by National Theatre of Scotland and The Arches in association with Govanhill Baths Community Trust.
Exploring the emotional and psychological effects of water, from its therapeutic qualities to our overwhelming fear of it, lifeguard re-evaluates the place of swimming in our lives as a health-promoting and life-saving activity.
Joint composer with Erin Scrutton for Code Butterfly, a site-specific performance created by Curious Seed Dance Company for the Leith Festival, Edinburgh, (involving 5 professional performers, (dancers/ aerial artists, singer) and 15 young women from the Leith area. Performances: Out Of The Blue, old Drill Hall. Edinburgh.
Directed by Christine Devaney
Designed by Karen Tennant
Production Manager: John Riddell
with Jennifer Patterson, Skye Reynolds, Kaela Rowan
Songs for a Stranger is a collection or cycle of five electroacoustic works that draws metaphorical inspiration from the many senses of the word ‘stranger’.
Everyone feels like a stranger sometimes – when travelling somewhere new; returning home; confronting solitude. Some feel estranged in close intimacy; others find connection through anonymity.
Songs for a Stranger movements:
i A Fragile Memory (4’40)
ii Blowing In (5′)
iii Solitude (4’26)
iv I Said You Said (5′)
v In the Midst (4’39)
The piece was premiered in the intimate ‘dark space’ at The Arches LIVE! Festival in September 2011, performed and diffused over a 4-channel speaker system. I invited Swiss vocalist Céline Hänni to rehearse and perform the work for Arches Live. Sound diffusion: Graeme Truslove. Many thanks indeed to all at The Arches.
Songs for a Stranger was further supported by a Creative Scotland Quality Arts Production Award.
I was commissioned by Glasgay! as composer/sound designer for Panic Patterns by Zöe Strachan and Louise Welsh. The work was further supported by a Creative Scotland New Music Award. The play was directed by Alison Peebles and ran from 19th – 30th October at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow.
“… sound designer Nichola Scrut(t)on’s noises off for comfort…” ****The Herald
“Nichola Scrutton’s sound design plays a starring role…” Broadway World
I am absolutely delighted to say that I have been awarded a Creative Scotland New Music Award to support the Glasgay! commission for Panic Patterns production at the Citizens Theatre. Panic Patternsis a new play by Louise Welsh and Zoë Strachan, directed by Alison Peebles. The show will run from 19th – 30th October 2010.