Drift: A truly immersive experience

A unique outdoor experience of soundscape and sculpture sails into this year’s festival when Vision Mechanics present their innovative and captivating production, DRIFT.



Taking place on Sandyhills Beach, Dalbeattie, over the weekend of Saturday, 27 to Monday 29 May, DRIFT is inspired by the true story of Shetland crofter Betty Mouat who, in January 1886, aged 61, was the only passenger on the coastal cutter Columbine which left Grutness, bound for Lerwick.  She had with her a large bundle of knitting to sell.

Shortly after setting sail, however, a storm blew up and the captain and two crew were lost overboard. Miss Mouat was presumed lost at sea.

On the eighth day, the Columbine grounded on Lepsoy in Norway, Miss Mout became a folk hero overnight and lived on her Shetland croft for another 30 years.

Set in and around a group of tents on Sandyhills beach, nine sculptures and nine songs will represent the number of days Miss Mouat was cast adrift. The performances involve a tactile experience of the story through the installations and the soundscape, which is used to recreate the feelings of being adrift and alone at sea, is delivered through a set of headphones during a 40-minute walk-around.

The script is written by Judith Adams and the critically-acclaimed Shetland-inspired soundtrack is put together by leading Scottish composer Eddie Macguire. Songs by Gerda Stevenson.

Vision Mechanics artistic director, Symon MacIntyre, said: “Miss Mout’s story lends itself well to outdoor theatre with installation. There is such a contrast between the simplicity of her life to her suddenly being thrust into fear and hardship for nine days. We wanted to do something about the resourcefulness of human beings in times of adversity.

“When people come to see Drift, they will follow Miss Mout’s nine-day adventure. It is a tactile and emotional journey. Each installation represents a day and gradually the world you have come from will drop away, leaving you lost in a soundscape until you’re out there alone at the edge of land and sea.”

The event lasts for approximately 45 minutes. Each audience member will be given a set of headphones and will enter Drift at five minute intervals. The event is not suitable for small children.