Timberlake Wertenbaker, Abi Zakarian and Chinonyerem Odimba are among the writers commissioned by Pitlochry Festival Theatre to create new work as part of an online series.
The commissions, which follow the postponement of the theatre’s summer season due to the Covid-19 outbreak, will be made into audio dramas, podcasts and short films.
They will form part of #PFTLightHopeJoy, which is the theatre’s digital response to the pandemic.
The commissions will be inspired by the River Tay, the longest river in Scotland. The project, called Shades of Tay, was originally announced in late 2019 as a three-year project and has been brought forward in light of recent events.
Other writers who will feature in the project include Jo Clifford, Stephen Greenhorn, Hannah Khalil, Douglas Maxwell, Linda McLean, Deborah McAndrew, Frances Poet, Daniel Bye and May Sumbwanyambe.
Peter Arnott, Bert Clark, Olly Emmanuel, Lesley Hart, Hannah Lavery, Jenny Lindsay, Nicola McCartney, Martin McCormick, Michael O’Neill, Dan Rebellato, Sally Reid, Ellie Stewart and Morna Young have also been commissioned, with more artists to be announced.
Actors who were meant to be performing in PFT’s summer season will perform the commissions for online audiences.
The cast will include Kirsty Stuart, Richard Standing, Deirdre Davis and John Branwell.
When theatres reopen, a compilation of the work will be performed at a live festival at PFT and the Enchanted Forest, which is a sound and light experience in Pitlochry. The commissions have been made in partnership with the Enchanted Forest.
Pitlochry Festival Theatre artistic director Elizabeth Newman said: “As we’ve said before, Shades of Tay is our love letter to Scotland.
“We are so excited about the idea of continuing to write beautiful words about our extraordinary country and its citizens, and this feels like the perfect time to create a space where art can help us celebrate our shared humanity and connect us with how much comfort and rich inspiration can be found in nature.
“In this time of isolation, we want to continue to share Pitlochry with the world, and the world with Pitlochry.”
All the works, which will be released online in the coming weeks, will be captioned and free to access and share.