“The associateship with Hopscotch feels a little like coming home”. Our Associate Artist, Ariel Killick talks about her work, life and introduces us to Òr Treasure.
Hi there, my name is Ariel Killick and the ‘about’ part of me is complex. I’m a Multi-disciplinary Artist and have worked across a wide range of artforms across Scotland, particularly focussing on Gaelic Performance Storytelling, Circus Skills with Gaelic and Gaelic Street Theatre & Spectacle Development. Whilst I’ve certainly delivered a lot of work in Gaelic only, the majority of this work has been bilingually delivered for audiences and schools with little to no knowledge or fluency in Gaelic. This has meant a lot of my work has really focussed on using fun and humour as a kind of outreach and engagement.
My interest in Gaelic comes from my family’s Clearances emigration background from the Isle of Mull to Australia in the 1850’s, and the highly multicultural environment I grew up amongst in Sydney, where hearing different languages was a daily, normal reality. As I already spoke English, in my mid teens, I wanted to find out what else was in my linguistic heritage bag, and started learning Irish first when I was about 16, and Scots Gaelic as soon as I entered University. With the head of the Sydney University Celtic Society, we set up the inaugural Australian Scots Gaelic Summer and Autumn Schools in 1997, and it’s a profound and deep joy to me that they’re still being run by the Australian Gaelic Association well over 20 years later.
In my late teens and early 20’s, the issue of ‘Aboriginal Reconciliation’, as it was termed, was very much in the news, and a very deep and sincere growing feeling amongst white Australians wanting to have a better, more honourable and equitable relationship with the original owners of the country, prior to Colonisation. Whilst my mother’s family coming out from England as the Post-War ‘Ten Pound Poms’ meant I had access to a Permanent Right of Abode in the UK (but not Citizenship, as still in the 90’s, this was only attainable *via a British father*!), I felt more comfortable heading to Northern Ireland, rather than ‘mainland’ UK. Thus began a long, circular journey over 12 years around Ireland honing my skills as a professional translator for Irish Gaelic for the Irish Government sector, alongside a comparatively wild Street Spectacle, Circus and Stilt walking career. This eventually brought me back to Belfast, writing a bilingual Scots Gaelic Indoor Circus-themed play called ‘Boy and Mr Time’. I’d always wanted to be as fluent in Scots Gaelic as I was in English, and with Inter-Gaelic Development funding for this play, I eventually ended up moving to Glasgow in 2012.
Thus began a rather wild and tumultuous journey, working the length and breadth of Scotland, on a huge range of projects, and writing five more plays, four of which being self-directed solo shows that toured school and community venues between 2013 and 2018. But it was with Hopscotch that I got my first in-depth experience of touring schools in Scotland, via a 3 week tour of ‘The Vikings’ in Autumn 2013, directed by Eddie McGuire. It was one of the loveliest experiences of my professional life, a lot of fun, and the incredibly positive feedback from teachers such as ‘you’ve just taught 3 week’s material in an hour’ and more, gave me the confidence that would see me through countless solo performances for some 300 schools, venues and festivals and working directly with around 13,000 children, young people and adults over the subsequent years.
Ariel delves into her associateship with Hopscotch and both looks back and forward on her relationship.
This Associateship with Hopscotch feels a little like coming home, after a long and profoundly challenging, albeit fulfilling, journey across the vast terrain, sheer drops and precipitous peaks of a very arduous professional artistic journey, that has taken me higher and further than I ever imagined possible. It has given me the confidence to know I can deliver wonderful work of amazing quality for one of the most experienced companies in Scotland for which I have incredible respect and trust; I’m working with people who know this work and the challenges of these journeys inside out. While I do have really significant experience of my own, it’s also a huge relief to be working with people and a company that has decades more experience and an even deeper understanding, against which to propose ideas and thoughts and know the considered answers will come from a real place of practical knowledge. I’m hugely honoured to be working again with Hopscotch in a different capacity, as a vastly more mature and experienced artist than when I last said farewell after the completion of the 2013 tour.
‘Òr Treasure’ is a new production in development, written by Ariel Killick, directed by Jen McGregor, production managed by Emily Ingram, and produced by Hopscotch Theatre.
‘Òr Treasure’ is in development until March 2022 and touring later in 2022.
‘Òr Treasure’ is supported by Fèisean Nan Gaidheal via the Maoin Ealan Gàidhlig Fund.
Written by Ariel Killick, February 2022.
Edited by Hopscotch Theatre, February 2022.