Get up and Tie your Fingers: Eyemouth 2016, Reflections on community performance of shared maritime heritage

Stephenson, Carol, MacPherson, Fiona and Coulthard, Sarah (2017) Get up and Tie your Fingers: Eyemouth 2016, Reflections on community performance of shared maritime heritage. In: MARE Conference: People & the Sea IX: Dealing with Maritime Mobilities, 5-7 July 2017, Amsterdam.

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In the 19th century Eyemouth was one of the main fishing ports in Scotland. However, it is best known as the site of Britain’s worst fishing disaster. During a storm in 1881, 164 fishermen and boys lost their lives in sight of land as their families looked on, leaving 73 widows and 263 fatherless children. Eyemouth today no longer has a thriving fishing industry, as with any post-industrial community it faces a number of challenges: demographic change, and the impact culturally, socially and economically of the loss of the identity of a defining industry. The Eyemouth community continues to value its maritime heritage. In 2016 a request was made by community activists to professional theatre maker Fiona MacPherson for her support in their retelling the story of the disaster. This resulted in 'Get Up and Tie Your Fingers: Eyemouth', a narration of the story intertwined with a contemporary score, which was spoken and sung by the inhabitants of the village, many of whom were direct descendents of those who lost their lives. This paper explores the impact of these performances on those who participated, interrogating their responses to the embodiment of the storytelling, and evaluating the potential for community building and regeneration through the ‘performance’ of shared heritage. In doing so it examines the way in which fishing heritage continues to resonate in post-fishing communities, and the importance of performance and the spoken and sung word to emotional connections to the sea, the past and common heritages. Theatre-making and storytelling techniques enabled the people of Eyemouth to tell their own story and to take ownership of the method of that telling. It is our intention to collaborate with other industrial and post-industrial coastal communities to use these techniques to enable them to explore their stories, their heritage.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
W400 Drama
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2017 10:05
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 12:14

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