Hilda in Copenhagen


photo by Alan Paterson

Hilda in Copenhagen is a work in progress initially drawing inspiration from an imagined conversation between John Cage, Hildegard von Bingen and Moondog. During the residency at Dancehallerne in Copenhagen, the work evolved into an open meditation on the nature of light, chance and perception as framed by the music, writing and visual art of these three artists. The city of Copenhagen was also inspirational due to its resonant history of meetings in science and the arts.

Participants included dancer Penny Chivas, filmmaker Alan Paterson, choreographer Ian Spink and sound artist Bill Thompson.

Hilda in Copenhagen was supported by  Dance Base, Dancehallerne and Air Field in equal parts. It formed the initial venture of New Nordic Connections which was created by artistic directors: Morag Deyes of Dance Base (Edinburgh) and Bush Hartshorn of Dansehallerne (Copenhagen).


Strike/Slip - a site specific project for Inverness

Strike/Slip is and Airfield project inspired by the geology and local history of The Great Glen Fault which runs through Inverness. Choreographer Ian Spink, sound artist Bill Thompson and film maker Alan Paterson, working in collaboration with a group of Highland dancers (Julia McGhee, Lucy Boyes, Louise Marshall, Frank McConnell, Gabriela Sanche, and Misa (Maria-Louisa) Brzezicki) will create a series of landscapes using movement, sound and visual elements. Eden Court, Inverness.

Featured on zoviet*france experimental music and sound art podcast Feb 15: A Duck in a Tree

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Fault Planes

Fault Planes

Fault Planes is a dance/sound production for three performers (two dancers and one sound artist) exploring our earth and the shifting environment in which we live, subject to social and geographical fault lines.  There are at least 4 major fault lines in Scotland, creating 5 separate areas between them, and two major regions: Highlands and Lowlands, as well as a great rift valley within which Scotland’s major cities are located.  Using this as inspiration for our movement and sound: exploring different surfaces moving over each other and how this can be used choreographically and sonically, the work also uses this as a metaphor to explore how communities come together as well as pull apart over time and the social tensions/opportunities this creates.


Trees Talk


Trees Talk is a 70 minute multimedia event; part performance, part film, part lecture which endeavours to break down barriers between art and information. Developed over a series of residencies in London, Aberdeen, Selkirk and Alness, Trees Talk is a series of observations of how we interpret landscape, whether it be from an environmental, industrial or aesthetic point of view. The performance contains elements of dance, live electronic and acoustic sound, live and pre-recorded video plus... the odd lecture and touch of humour.

Trees Talk Residency is a sister residency project which can be moulded to adapt to various locations and groups local participants (16+). Over a series of 1 day or half day workshops the Trees Talk team will guide participants through the processes we explored in creating the performance, including interviews, research, movement improvisation and video work.

Trees Talk was initially funded by citymoves dance agency, Plan B creative and Creative Scotland in 2012.


Selkirk Dreamtime Residency

Selkirk Dreamtime Residency was an exploration of Australian landscapes of the interior in movement, text, sound and light. And the odd bit of plastic.


Big Wave

Big Wave was an R+D Workshop Project that was developed over several months and culminated in a 2 week workshop period in June 2011 with 4 performers at The Work Room in Glasgow. The project included writer Alan Wilkins, sound artist Bill Thompson, and choreographer/director: Ian Spink

In the work, we were interested in combining fragments of sound, movement and text along the themes of disruption and destruction. Big Wave was inspired by various Asian Tsunami events over the last few years – the 'wave' that sweeps everything away, breaking everything into small pieces. We saw this as an ideal subject with which to explore aspects of physical and emotional chaos by way of mixing text, sound and performance.

We began with no script or movement language, developing all our material from improvisation. By the second week Alan was writing short stripped-down scenes and we explored how the detail of plot and character could meld with the more physical and ambiguous landscapes which were emerging using movement and simple props (a large plastic sheet, lengths of cable, chairs etc) to suggest epic dislocation – the 'blending' of objects and humans. We shared the resulting sections of material at the end of the 2 weeks with a small invited audience at the Work Room.

Big Wave was funded by an Unleashed Award from the Federation of Scottish Theatre in 2011.


Landscape and Madness

Developed out of a series of meetings with writer (Caryl Churchill), artist (Duncan MacAskill) and choreographer (Siobhan Davies)– initially around the themes of landscape and madness.

Ian was struck by the way that certain levels of consciousness (the schitzophrenic or the pre-historic) could view, interpret and even ‘speak’ to the landscape (hence a later title Trees talk) Later the group spent a few days meeting at the National Theatre Studio and further time over a 2 weeks period in their studio space with technical resources and the addition Bill Thompson and dancer Carly Best. We undertook exploratory examinations of images, texts including the diary of Vaslav Nijinsky, video projection and improvised movement material on the themes of blending into and re-creating landscapes.

Further explorations using projected and re-projected images of movement and shadows together with live performers created fugue effects, after-images and cycles. Our experiments with bodies hidden in deep shadow also promised further development using purely the medium of video.

We will further develop how storytelling might exist within this physical, visual abstracted world. The outcome from this project resulted in 2 dance/video labs which received Creative Scotland funding (Aberdeen and Alness) examining landscape use and interpretation using moving images, sound, movement and text.

This project was funded by FST (Scotland) and the National Theatre Studio (London).



ANa is a collaboration between sound artist Bill Thompson and choreographer Ian Spink, which explores the practical considerations involving the dissolution of the 'artefact' of composition within the context of a dance theatre narrative, in a series of 'fragments' of sound, music and movement.

Ian and Bill are both interested in creating work that involves the active perceptual engagement of an audience. Each viewer and listener playing an active creative part of the experience of the work.

The themes explored in The ANa Project are based on two real-life events. Two travellers: one - on foot, the other - by air, travel the same route, from opposite starting points. Their individual journeys span a continent, yet each arrives at a vastly different understanding of themselves and of the landscape around them.

*The ANa Project* on various levels and for all of us, will investigate these questions: Who am I? What place is this? Where are we headed?"