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November 5, 2008

Govan folk gather to celebrate Gaelic heritage

We recently featured a new initiative which has been forged to celebrate the rich industrial heritage and culture of Govan, its shipyards, its history, the community and the spirit of the people. The first project – SPARR – is a free event and takes place next week at the Big Shed in Govan


Spàrr is an exciting community project about the shipyards of Govan, its history, the community and the spirit of the people. Spàrr is a Gaelic word with a dual meaning: creating an opening and the act of riveting or joining together….. and that is what is happening in Govan through Spàrr. Local people are getting together to create new openings: new possibilities for themselves and their community to join together to create the future. The results of that process will be shared at a free event the Big Shed in Govan on 14/15 November.

Spàrr reveals the skills, motivations and inspirations of those Gaels from the Western Islands who were inspired by the craft of the shipwright and travelled to Govan at the time of the Highland Clearances, bringing their traditional shipbuilding skills to the newly industrialised Clydeside ship building industry. Spàrr looks at the significance of the industry, of the shipwright, and the legacy left by our seafaring and industrial cultures.”

The first stage of the project saw the partner organisations gathering oral histories, reminiscences and folk memories. These have been brought together and will be profiled at Govan’s ‘Big Shed’ – the former Harland & Woolf engineering shed which has hosted flagship productions such as ‘The Big Picnic’ and ‘The Ship’. A web based educational resource is also being developed by local people and trainees.

Spàrr is the brainchild of Govan based Fablevision, Scotland’s cultural planning resource. The main partners in the collaboration are CRAN Theatre company in Govan, and Theatre Hebrides in Stornoway.

Liz Gardiner, Fablevision Director says “Frank Miller of Cran Theatre is a spellbinding storyteller as well as an exciting and innovative director. Spàrr is an opportunity for Cran to raise it’s profile and showcase it’s wider potential, “The Big Shed is a really atmospheric venue and I’m convinced that Spàrr will be a truly magical experience for everyone who participates.”

“Govan has a vibrant, talented cultural community” Says Frank Miller from CRAN Theatre. “I have never been let down by their energy and commitment in the telling of their stories and I’m confident that they will pull together once again to ensure that this project, which is the most ambitious production I’ve worked on so far, really works and captures the imagination of Govan as a whole – individuals, groups, communities and organisations. It is a lot of fun discovering a part of Govan’s history which, to some extent has been forgotten. “

So wrap up warm and head down to The Big Shed to join Govan folk in celebrating their Gaelic heritage on Friday 14th or Saturday 15th November. Doors Open at 7.15pm. And the good news is that Spàrr is a FREE EVENT.