18 - 27 March 2016

near Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute
  • Description
  • Background
  • Creative Team
  • Press & Reviews
  • Partners

Hinterland marked the official launch of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture 2016, and is a key highlight in the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design. Over ten nights from 18 – 27 March 2016, sell-out audiences explored one of Scotland’s most important modernist buildings for the first time in thirty years.  This immense public artwork introduced the long terms plans for the site and celebrated the journey of transition of this architectural icon.

“What Hinterland spectacularly succeeds in achieving is showing off the wonderful modernist form of the concrete structure”

– Keith Bruce, The Herald

As dusk fell to darkness, a walked route weaved through atmospheric woodland towards the abandoned building complex. Hinterland revealed the full glory of the towering concrete ruin, combining moving light installations and projection with a haunting choral soundscape by composer Rory Boyle, recorded by the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir of the University of St Andrews.

“All of the beauty, the rigour, and the poetry is contained within the building…it’s filled with aspiration ”

– Angus Farquhar

Hinterland presented an open manifesto for the ground-breaking creative work that will be programmed at St Peter’s Seminary from 2018 onwards. Amidst the overwhelming public response and the news of £4.2m in funding, a staggering optimism has emerged over the future of St Peter’s Seminary. The final evening of Hinterland served as less as a conclusion, and more as a starting point for a promising future for St Peter’s Seminary.

“Hinterland’s alchemy of light and sound helps us detect the invisible and see the beauty that lurks amid the ruination.”

– Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

The long term plans will rescue, restore and reclaim this outstanding example of 20th century architecture and bring it back into productive use as a national platform for public art and world-class  heritage destination.  The new space will become a dramatic setting for public art and debate that speaks back to the world and finds relevance and use for bold and creative thinking.

“‘Brought to life’ doesn’t do justice to the work carried out by the team of artists and technicians. Sharp edges and reliefs shift before our eyes, light rushes through cavities only to be extinguished moments later; a graffitied eye can be seen peeping through stories of concrete.”

– Laura Campbell, The List

NVA has produced ambitious proposals to resuscitate St Peter’s seminary, a decaying modernist icon in the West of Scotland and the surrounding semi-ancient woodland. This £7 million capital investment is a deeply exciting prospect for cultural and leisure audiences in Scotland, the UK and internationally. An innovative approach to heritage conservation combining partial restoration, consolidation and new design will restore the entire site as the most significant new cultural resource and large-scale arts venue of this century. This will include a 600-capacity venue, indoor and outdoor teaching spaces, a historic castle, woodland paths and visitor facilities.

Angus Farquhar
Creative Director, NVA
Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of NVA was born in Aberdeenshire in 1961 and grew up in Edinburgh. A degree in English and Drama at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, led to 10 years as a core member of Test Dept, a radical music collective based in New Cross, South London. Returning to Scotland in 1989, Angus re-initiated the Beltane Fire Festival and has produced and directed NVA’s temporary and permanent public art works and events since its inception in 1992.


James Johnson 
Associate Creative Director
James has worked internationally with renowned designer Jasper Morrison, film director and exhibition designer Murray Grigor, architect Norman Foster and architect, artist and engineer Santiago Calatrava. James is also a tutor at the Royal College of Art in London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. http://getmade.co.uk/


Phil Supple 
Lighting Designer
Phil has been specialising in outdoor, site specific and landscape projects for over 20 years. Recent work includes the outdoor lighting of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, Electric Glen at Rouken Glen Park, Aisling’s Children for Homecoming 2009 and The Mill Project winning the highly commended at The Lighting Design Awards 2011. Phil has collaborated with NVA on various projects since 2007.  http://www.lightrefreshment.co.uk/


Rory Boyle – Composer
Born in Ayr, Rory Boyle was a chorister at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and studied composition with Frank Spedding at the RSAMD. He has won several awards, most notably the BBC Scottish Composers Prize for his first orchestral score, and the Zaiks Prize for Winter Music premiered in Cracow, Poland. His list of works covers most genres from large orchestral scores to incidental music. In 2006 he won a Creative Scotland award to write an opera based on the life of a feral German boy. The resulting score Kaspar Hauser, Child of Europe was premiered to critical acclaim at the RSAMD in 2010 going on to win the Stage Category in the British Composer Awards of the same year. Rory annotated and conducted the live film score accompanying Murray Grigor’s world premiere of Space and Light Revisited in 2009. http://www.roryboyle.com/

NOVAK Collective
Award winning creative studio based in Newcastle upon Tyne specialising in motion design and immersive experiences.  Through large scale visual presentation and projection mapping, NOVAK create spectacular works that are informed and inspired by the works location and social significance. Their work often results in pieces that are visually stunning while conveying historical narrative and providing geographical relevance that resonates deeply with broad audiences. http://novakcollective.com/


Dav Bernard
Since being commissioned for NVA’s 1994 Soundworks event to design performative experimental musical instruments, Dav has been active as an artist, designer and all-round organiser for a plethora of grass-roots and established organisations in Glasgow and beyond. With broad interest for projection, lighting, technological oddities and their application in set design, music events, and circus, Dav likes to work collaboratively to create experiential environments that actively confront audiences.


Pete Sach
With a background in critical theory and urban anthropology, alongside formal training in music performance and composition, Pete’s work sits at the intersection of the creative and social. He is actively involved in the arts and social enterprise communities in Scotland and has previously worked as a composer and consultant for creative agencies, facilitated community outreach projects in New Orleans and Scotland, and designed and delivered workshop programmes for young offenders in London. His outreach and engagement work is focused on combining creative and discursive practices to explore community and understandings of place, whilst his music combines field recordings and electronic instruments to evoke the spaces that lie between the cinema and the nightclub. https://soundcloud.com/bl_anka


Zephyr Liddell
Zephyr is an artist and textile designer based in Glasgow, working with performance, costume and print. She has managed the production on a number of collaborative projects across visual arts, film and circus. Recent works include; A Return to Normalcy: Birth of a New Museum – Grace Ndiritu,  Muscle Theory – Catherine Street and Dancing in a circle is a reminder that we are part of the whole – Romany Dear.
Zephyr is currently a visiting lecturer at The Glasgow School of Art within the Fashion and Textiles department.


Robbie Thomson
Robbie is a Glasgow based artist and theatre maker with interests in kinetic sculpture, music, lighting design and technology. Recent works include: The New Alps – an installation commissioned for Sonica 2015, inspired by post-industrial landscapes. XFRMR (2015) – an AV performance for musical Tesla coil and synths and The Eye (in collaboration with Jack Wrigley, 2014) – a live adaptation of Story of the Eye which incorporated performance, robotics and live web streaming. 

In 2011 he was involved in setting up the Glue Factory, an independent arts venue in the Speirs Locks area of Glasgow and since 2013 has been a Cryptic Associate. Robbie also worked with theatre company Untitled Projects on their last two major productions.



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