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Half Life


Half Life was a site-specific performance produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and NVA on the west coast of Scotland as part of NVA’s environmental art installation in September 2007.  Staged on an outdoor set built from hundreds of felled logs arranged in the form of a double henge, the performance involved five actors, two musicians, aerial choreography, and striking visual effects.

To learn more, visit Half Life 

Critical Responses to Half Life


‘An art work of immense, and realised, ambition . . . . The beauty of this affecting performance is that it avoids a naturalistic or explanatory approach to the emotional and social implications of the history of the glen. Rather, the superb cast give voice to a poetic script which is often constructed like a musical score, with repetition and variation of certain lines . . . . [T]he theatre performance offers a truly profound context in which to consider the meanings of a fascinating and resonant landscape.’  Sunday Herald

‘An extraordinary co-production . . . . a poetic drama . . . [It] creates a powerful connection between our experience of loss in the modern world and the very different philosophy of death which is embedded in the landscape of the glen.’  Daily Telegraph


‘This is not so much a show as an experience . . . sensational in the woods.’  The Times


‘A daringly staged work of theatre’  The Financial Times


‘A mould-breaking event . . . . Thomas Legendre draws together the themes of history, burial and archaeology in a dramatic poem performed outdoors in front of a strikingly lit halo of felled trees.’  Guardian

2010 - present
2010 - present

‘Thought-provoking . . . . both complex and simple . . . . reminiscent of the moving sounds of Dunadd.’  West Highland Free Press


‘An extraordinary kind of long day’s journey into night [with] looping, poetic prose.  Shadowy spirits walk down tree trunks and the dead girl is glimpsed in the underworld, hanging upside-down directly under her mother’s feet, walking with her like her own shadow.’   Independent On Sunday


‘Lyrical and philosophically interesting’   Scotland on Sunday


‘This is theatre in the raw – outdoors, embracing the elements and weaving nature into the plot . . . . It has caused a great stir in the worlds of art, theatre, archaeology and history’  West Coast Review

‘The show is confirmation of my theory that the most satisfying dramatic experiences are usually those staged beyond the insulating confines of a building.’  The Guardian Unlimited


‘An ambitious landscape event [which] captured well the frustrations of archaeology, the obsessions, the ritualisation of practice . . . . a memorable sensory experience.’  Scottish Archaeological Journal

Photos by Alan McAteer

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