A project involving students from the University of Stirling has seen more than 400 schoolchildren participate in an interactive outdoor theatre event based upon a classic adventure novel.
Students from the Faculty of Natural Sciences led primary school groups to the summit of local peak Dumyat, in the Ochil Hills, as part of the storytelling event centred on ‘Light on Dumyat’, by late author and Stirling honorary graduate Rennie McOwan.
The project is a collaboration with Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre, The Walking Theatre Company, Stirling Council and the University. It saw local primary six and seven children “step into the novel” as they climbed to the summit and back, with actors playing out the story around them.
The children – from Bannockburn, Cowie, East Plean, St Margaret’s, Fallin and St Mary’s Primary Schools – were led by trainee mountain leader students from the University’s Environmental Science and Environmental Geography with Outdoor Education programmes.
Actors played the part of the novel's characters.
Professor Alistair Jump, Head of Biological and Environmental Sciences, said: “The University of Stirling is delighted to be involved with this project.
“Our students complete the Mountain Leader Award as part of their degrees and this was an excellent opportunity for them to volunteer to lead groups up Dumyat, playing a great role in the learning of the day and gaining valuable leadership experience along the way.”
Distinguished writer Mr McOwan – who was made an honorary graduate of the University in 1996 – died in October 2018, aged 85. His novels and non-fiction titles have been used widely in primary and secondary schools and his family gave permission for ‘Light on Dumyat’ to be used in the event.
The novel tells the gripping story of a group of children exploring the wild and remote Scottish countryside – where they come face to face with a criminal gang.
SP Energy Networks funded the project, involving schools sited adjacent to the Beauly Denny Powerline.
Craig Arthur, SP Energy Networks’ Distribution Director, said: “As well as being the electricity provider in the Stirling area, we are committed to working with the local people in the communities we serve and the ‘Light on Dumyat’ is a fantastic example of bringing young people out into the Great Outdoors while encouraging a love for literature.”