‘songs for someone who isn’t there’ is an Edinburgh Art Festival Special Project which took place on 1st August 2015. In her first major project as artist-curator, Sarah Hardie presents an evening of performances through the streets of Edinburgh by artists and poets working with the voice and language.
John Muse wrote that ‘public spaces are more than ever becoming sites for communal isolation’. In response, ‘songs for someone who isn’t there’ explores the silence of the human voice in public spaces: the silence people walking through the city experience of themselves and others every day, and the silence many return to at night. These city-wide “lullabies” do not represent the idealised togetherness typical of this genre of song, but rather, the pained isolation of our contemporary age of broken encounters, the lover’s hope, materialised in song, against the stony silence of public space today.
Established and emerging artists, including Ed Atkins, David Austen, Marco Godoy, and poet Crispin Best, present songs for someone who is not there through the streets of the city. Ed Atkins presents never before performed work; David Austen shows a new performative adaptation of his film, ‘END OF LOVE’, which inspired the project. Artist and poet Marco Godoy and Crispin Best, who have never presented in Scotland before, will also present a new song-based commission devised with Sarah Hardie especially for ‘songs for someone who isn’t there’, and works of poetry which have rarely been performed before. Respectively, Hardie’s work will consider song as a guiding principal for the evening of the performances she has curated and produced.
As well as showcasing some of the most exciting artistic talent in the UK, and wider world, featuring a mix of established and exciting emerging artists, some of Scotland’s most exceptional acting talent perform David Austen’s and Ed Atkins’ work respectively: Ben Winger (National Theatre of Scotland; Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh; Grid Iron Theatre Company; and The Arches) and Angela Hardie (National Theatre of Scotland; Dundee Rep; Grid Iron Theatre Company; Scottish Opera, and Kneehigh Theatre Company) will perform David Austen’s work. Martin McCormick (Grid Iron Theatre Company; Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Arts Theatre; Dundee Rep; and winner of ‘Best new play’ in the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Squash, an A Play, a Pie and a Pint production presented by the Traverse Theatre Company in June 2015) will read Atkins’ work.
Featured singers: Naomi Black, Angela Hardie, Sarah Hardie, Helen Leigh, Eleanor Smith, Sky Su and Matthew Swan.