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Boyd embraces the challenge of Sound to Sea

Aerial dancers on the roof of Glasgow Science Centre and cellists playing aboard a moving sailing boat are just two of the weird and wonderful items to be ticked off Cathie Boyd's to-do list.

BIG TASK: Cathie Boyd has her hands full with the logistics of Sound to Sea
BIG TASK: Cathie Boyd has her hands full with the logistics of Sound to Sea

Then there's making arrangements for a Viking longship to sail down the Clyde, finding enough fireworks to give Guy Fawkes a run for his money and the delicate matter of ensuring Sound to Sea, one of the biggest events of the city's 2014 cultural programme, doesn't clash with a flotilla of 250 boats all vying for space on the water.

While others might baulk at the prospect of organising a large-scale outdoor event at the mercy of the notoriously unpredictable elements in the west of Scotland, the founder and artistic director of Cryptic is embracing the challenges. Even the prospect of including the troubled tower at the Science Centre, nearly four years after it closed to visitors.

"Cryptic has a history of working with musicians and presenting music visually. What's fantastic about Sound to Sea is that it is an opportunity to work with more than 140 performers and such a wide genre of music from techno to traditional, classical and opera," says Boyd. "One thing that is very important for me is rather than having a fixed stage I was interested in the idea of Glasgow's history - the Clyde and shipping - so I thought, why don't we have boats as the stages for musicians?"

Canting Basin will be the setting for the evening nautical extravaganza on August 1 and 2, with the arching curves of the Science Centre the backdrop.

The musicians appearing on the boats range from Frightened Rabbit and Treacherous Orchestra to Rachel Sermanni and the Glasgow Phoenix Choir with a splash of bhangra-pop and opera in the mix.

Pyrotechnic specialists Walk the Plank, aerial dance company All or Nothing and the Royal Navy are joining forces with the Science Centre and Cryptic, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, in the production.

Boyd adds: "It's important to remember that Cryptic's tagline is 'ravishing the senses' and I really hope Sound to Sea does that.

"What's fantastic about the 2014 cultural programme is that it is enabling large-scale projects to happen that we could only dream of in the past."

Since Belfast-born Boyd set up Cryptic after studying at Glasgow's RSAMD, the company has toured to more than 22 countries.

Cryptic associate Dan Ayling will direct Struileag as part of the Year of Homecoming, while Josh Armstrong will premiere new work These Delicate Things in Glasgow in the autumn.

Worries about high winds affecting aerial dancers on the roof of the Science Centre aside, Boyd is bubbling with excitement about the tower.

"It is on schedule and will be opening mid-June. All I can say is we will be using it as part of the performance but I don't want to give too much away," says Boyd, explaining that a bigger problem is working around the flotilla of boats organised by the Royal Yachting Association that will be on the Clyde at the end of July.

"Our time on the water is restricted and all the pontoons have to be removed. There are so many challenges, but I believe there's a solution to everything."

And that to-do list grows and grows ...

Ticket registration for the free event opens on Monday at www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/soundtosea

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