Published: 24/05/2014 02:00 - Updated: 23/05/2014 17:48

Alness pupils reach new heights - 1,500ft - with dance

Skeletons will be rattling in the Phantom Fiddler of Fyrish performance.
Skeletons will be rattling in the Phantom Fiddler of Fyrish performance.

AWARD-winning youngsters from Alness Academy are hoping to reach new heights – literally – with a new dance by staging it on top of a 1,500ft hill.

The group of 50 will perform their play today (Saturday) on Cnoc Fyrish, a hill between Evanton and Alness which is topped by the famous Fyrish Monument landmark.

The pupils, from S1-6, have enjoyed major success in the national Rock Challenge dance competition, scooping no less than 13 awards at last year’s finals held in Dundee.

Now this year’s project, a spooky choreographed tale called the Phantom Fiddler of Fyrish, will be performed on top of the hill where it takes its name from this afternoon.

It is believed to be the first time a public show has been staged on Fyrish, and it will involve a huge logistical effort by the Alness pupils and their helpers.

Gordon Robertson, head of English at the academy, explained: "It’s going to be quite an operation but we hope we’ve thought of everything.

"We will transport the pupils to the lower car park at Boath in a couple of minibuses and they will hike up the path to the top of Fyrish, about an hour’s walk.

"There is, however, a vehicle track up to the top and we have permission from the Novar Estate to use that to take our gear up in a 4x4 including a petrol generator, amplifiers and speakers.

The cast members will peform in full make-up and costumes on top of Fyrish.
The cast members will peform in full make-up and costumes on top of Fyrish.

"The plan is that the cast members will come into the school in the morning and get their make-up on.

"Their costumes will be waiting for them on the top of Fyrish in a couple of gazebos which we will be putting up to act as changing rooms. Hopefully it will all go to plan!"

The Rock Challenge team will then stage three performances of the eight-minute long dance piece, set 100 years ago and which sees an entrancing fiddler luring folk into a world of dark fairies, killer clowns, skeletons, zombies and wolves.

Zombies get in character for the spooky tale.
Zombies get in character for the spooky tale.

Now all that is needed is settled weather and a hardy audience game enough to make the 1,485ft ascent to the Fyrish "theatre" for the 2pm performance.

Janette Douglas, a youth worker at Alness Academy, said: "We are putting out a call to the local community to pull on your walking boots and come and join us in a magical ‘one-off’ experience.

"The cast will be making every effort to put on a spectacular event for all those weary walkers who have taken the time to follow them on their journey.

"Come along and be captivated by the story and the big question is - will you ever return to the town, or will the magic fiddler draw you in?"

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