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Theatre takes to the hills

Wednesday 8th May 2019, 1:24pm

An active outdoor theatre version of Rennie McOwan’s Light on Dumyat which will be played to over 400 school children walking in the Ochil Hills – and to Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney MSP.

A classic tale of adventure, friendship and courage, Light on Dumyat has sparked the imaginations of children for over 30 years. Recently republished, the book is inspiring a new generation, and has now been transformed into a play which will be performed to school children as part of an interactive day of climbing and walking in the Ochill Hills, where the story is set.

The initiative, which is a collaborative project between Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre, The Walking Theatre Company, Stirling Council and The University of Stirling, will be set over five days, and over 400 Primary 6 and 7 school children from five schools in the Stirling area will take part. Rennie McOwan's Estate has granted permission for the dramatisation of his book for the purposes of the week long schools’ project.

The goal is to get children active and confident in the outdoors using the characters and plots from Rennie McOwan’s novel as the inspiration for the project. It will run from Monday May 13 to Friday May 17 and the pupils will walk around seven kilometres to the summit of Dumyat, allowing them to experience literature made real and encouraging them to get active outdoors. John Swinney, MSP, will attend on Monday May 13th to support the dramatisation and step in to the world Rennie created as the hill becomes the set for the production.

Light on Dumyat is based on Rennie McOwan's own childhood and the adventures that he and his friends had in the Ochill Hills. Set in central Scotland, the book focuses on the universal themes of children playing freely in the countryside, building dens, being self-reliant and confident.

Lesley Andrews, from Rowan Tree Publishing, said: “I’m positive that Rennie would have been delighted that his legacy lives on and that his work is inspiring a new generation of young outdoor enthusiasts. Schools have used Light On Dumyat before as an outdoor learning tool but this is the first time the book has been dramatised in the locations that inspired Rennie - it’s very exciting.”

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said: “The outdoor environment has massive potential for learning and I look forward to seeing this well-loved children’s classic brought to life in such a vivid way.

“Outdoor learning and literacy across learning are key components in the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence and help to develop the many skills necessary for our children and young people to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges of life in the 21st century.”

Author, the late Rennie McOwan.