Chariot of Light
Large-scale site specific promenade community show on a steam train.
'Chariot of Light' was a unique event created for and with the community of Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth in Scotland, using the Bo'ness and Kenneil railway. The site-specific promenade show involved a coal-yard, a steam train, an oil refinery, a nature-reserve, a large community cast and fireworks.
The story was based the Ovid's story of Phaeton, the boy who discovered that his father was the sungod, and drove his father's chariot of the sun without the strength to control it. This story was given a local and contemporary context, with input from local writers. Dancers, singers and actors from the town took part, with support from professional leads.
As writer, I worked with local schools to create a newspaper for the train. Drop-in creative writing sessions at the town hall produced the poems and drawings that decorated the journey. My interviews with local history and ecology experts fed in to the audio-design.
Produced by The Working Party, Glasgow December 2002 and directed by Benno Plasmann. Photos by Chris Gill
The real delight however was in the attention to detail... The chariot ride on board the steam train was punctuated by spotlit treasures, verse hung from the luggage racks, fatalistic flight instructions and a ear-catching soundtrack. The Herald 16/12/02 Keith Bruce
It's a production which weaves in suprising patterns, facts and history of the area and our universe, and astonishing use of the potent energies of steam and chemical works... close to a religious act... As a professional/ community collaboration Chariot of Light is one of the most stretching and extraordinary I have experienced. Thelma Good