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Simon Starling

‘At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume)’

Holmwood House, 61-63 Netherlee Road, Glasgow G44 3YU

26 - 28 August 2016

'At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume)’, by Simon Starling in collaboration with theatre director Graham Eatough, took place on the 26, 27 and 28 August at Holmwood House, a National Trust of Scotland property on the south side of Glasgow. They are part of a project developed by Starling over the last three years and accompany the exhibition 'At Twilight' at The Common Guild, 2 July-4 September 2016.

The exhibition included a collection of material that relates to nine characters, some real, some fictional, all interconnected by Starling. 'At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume)’ references ‘At The Hawk’s Well’, a play by W.B. Yeats that was written and performed 100 years ago, in the midst of the First World War, when he was working with the poet Ezra Pound.

The performance makes use of masks made in collaboration with Yasuo Miichi and costumes made in collaboration with Kumi Sakurai and Atelier Hinode that form part of the exhibition. It also includes 'The Hawk's Dance' – specially devised by renowned choreographer Javier de Frutos, working with Scottish Ballet and dancer Thomas Edwards – presented on film and accompanied by live music from Chicago-based musician Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society.

Holmwood House is a historic property owned by conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland. Described as Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's finest domestic design, it was built in 1857-8 for James Couper, a local businessman. The house is an echo of the context in which the original Yeats play was presented – a large private home in Cavendish Square, London – while the grounds offer a remarkable background reminiscent of the forest setting that recurs throughout the piece, both in the blasted landscape backdrop of WWI and the Ashdown Forest setting in which Yeats and Pound worked together. The performance includes an opportunity to experience the heritage of this remarkable property and its grounds.


Simon Starling (born 1967 in Epsom, Surrey, lives and works in Copenhagen). His work has been shown worldwide including many significant international exhibitions such as the 50th and 53rd Venice Biennales in 2003 and 2009 respectively. Recent solo exhibitions include Nottingham Contemporary and Backlit, Nottingham, and ‘Reset Modernity!’, ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe (all 2016), ‘Metamorphology’ Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2014) and Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal (2015).
Starling completed the MFA course at The Glasgow School of Art in 1992 and from 1993 to 1996 he was a committee member of Transmission Gallery, Glasgow. Starling was Professor at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, from 2003 to 2013, and in 2005 he was awarded the Turner Prize.

Graham Eatough (b. 1971, Blackburn, lives and works in Glasgow) is a theatre maker who also works in visual arts and film. His most recent projects include directing 'Lanark: A Life in Three Acts' for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow which won the Herald Angel Award, 'HeLa' by Adura Onahsile which won Scottish Arts Club Best Scottish Production at the Edinburgh Fringe, and 'The Making of Us', an interdisciplinary collaboration with artist Graham Fagen for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012. The film of 'The Making of Us' premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013. Eatough was co-founder of Suspect Culture.

The National Trust for Scotland is an independent charity set up in 1931 for the preservation and conservation of natural and human heritage that is significant to Scotland and the world. The Trust has gone on to become Scotland's largest membership organisation and a leader in conserving and promoting the nation's treasured places and collections so that they can be enjoyed by present and future generations.

Venezuelan choreographer Javier De Frutos has received a great number of accolades including the 1995 Paul Hamlyn Award, 1996 Bagnolet Prix d’ Auteur, 1997 South Bank Show Award, 2004 Time Out Live Award and the 2005 Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography. His collaboration with Pet Shop Boys for The Most Incredible Thing earned Javier the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Award, and a Critics Circle Best Choreographer nomination in 2012. Javier is a 5 time Olivier Award nominee and won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for his work on the musical Cabaret. Javier’s work is in the repertoire of leading dance companies including the Rotterdam Dance Group, Rambert Dance Company, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

Scottish Ballet is Scotland’s national dance company and presents a wide range of high-quality dance to audiences across Scotland, the UK and abroad. The Company has a long-standing interest in collaborating with artists, including most recently Martin Boyce and Rosalind Nashishibi.

Joshua Abrams developed his voice in the rich ferment of the 1990s Chicago music world, participating heavily across the city’s jazz, experimental & rock scenes. Over the last two decades he has recorded and toured with a wide range of artists including extended engagements with Fred Anderson, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Hamid Drake, Theaster Gates, Neil Michael Hagerty, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Mike Reed, Matana Roberts, and The Roots. A film composer, Abrams has scored the music for five feature length films including the award-winning films Life Itself, The Interrupters and The Trials of Muhammad Ali.

Since 2011 Abrams has toured North America and Europe with a shifting-line up of musicians as ‘Natural Information Society’, which was assembled around his interests in the Moroccan instrument the guimbri. The band's most recent album, Magnetoception, was selected by The Wire Magazine as the #3 record of 2015 & by Pitchfork as the #2 experimental record of 2015. The group uses traditional and conventional instrumentation to create long-form intricately psychedelic environments, composed and improvised, which join the hypnotic qualities of Gnawa guimbri music to a wide range of contemporary musics and methodologies including jazz, minimalism and krautrock.

Abrams has collaborated with Simon Starling on previous works including 'El Eco' (2014).


Japan Society is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education.

An exhibition of 'At Twilight' will be presented in the Japan Society Gallery, New York from 14 October 2016 - 15 January 2017.

Simon Starling
'At Twilight / The Hawk's Dance' (Choreographed by Javier De Frutos in association with Scottish Ballet), 2016
Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow


Publication / 'At Twilight'
Exhibition / 'At Twilight'
Symposium / ‘Art and its Theatrical Turn’
Exhibition Talk / Dr. Evelyn Silber*
Artist Talk / Graham Eatough*
Primer / Simon Starling*
Roundtable Conversation
Engagement / Kate Temple
Room for Reading
Room for Reading
Room for Reading

*Audio recorded and available to listen online


The Scotsman

Supported by

Creative Scotland
Outset Scotland
Sylvia Waddilove Foundation
Japan Society

Simon Starling in collaboration with Graham Eatough
'At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume)’, 2016
Performance at Holmwood House, Glasgow
Performers: Adam Clifford and Stephen Clyde
Musicians: Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society
Commissioned by The Common Guild in collaboration with the Japan Society, New York.
Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute, Andrew Hamilton/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow
Photographs by Alan Dimmick

‘At Twilight’ is commissioned by The Common Guild in collaboration with the Japan Society, New York.

Script by Simon Starling and Graham Eatough
Directed by Graham Eatough
Choreography by Javier De Frutos and Scottish Ballet
Music by Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society
Costumes made by Kumi Sakurai and Atelier Hinode Tokyo, Japan
Masks made by Yasuo Miichi, Osaka, Japan
Blast tree made by Simon Hopkins/Scott Associates Sculpture and Design, Glasgow.