The Shelter, combines live drawing in Japanese ink and a multi-voiced verbatim performance to reflect contemporary life around city-centre bus shelters in Aberdeen. Originally developed by Visual Artist Kate Steenhauer and Creative Writer Shane Strachan, supported by Aberdeen Performing Arts, and performed at the Lemon Tree in April 2018, The Shelter has been further enhanced with Composer Ross Whyte. Whyte combines soundscape recordings (activated and digitally-processed in real-time) with a live ambient score written and performed in response to the onstage action and live evolving ink drawings projected through a screen. The new performance was shown as part of Just Start Here Festival in March 2019 supported by National Theatre of Scotland.
Sound and sight give different perspectives on the city’s bus shelters through a accumulation of Japanese ink brush strokes in the hands of Steenhauer and repeated extracts of (ever-growing) conversations (the Scots language and its plurality of accents) performed by Strachan, underpinned by the music and soundscapes rendered by Whyte. The shelter is a safe space from the world of the streets beyond; it is a communal space where strangers are more likely to speak and interact, and where friends share confessions; it is a soapbox for real-life characters to exchange monologues, diatribes and political rants.