Sea Hames

Sea Hames is inspired by Orkney’s ‘Festival of the Horse and Boys’ Ploughing Match’ this multidisciplinary performance fuses live music, compelling performance and intricate costume design to explore the mythology and iconography of the horse, the plough and the land.  We presented the work at Kirbuster Farm Museum, Tankerness House Gardens and Stromness as part of their Per Mare celebrations. ‘Sea Hames’ is inspired directly by the sea and its relationship to the land and by the boundary between these two worlds. The ‘Festival of the Horse and Boys’ Ploughing Match’ on Orkney is a tradition more than 200 years old. On South Ronaldsay children dress as Clydesdale horses alongside the patterns of straight lines made by ploughs in the sand along the shore.


The Artistic Director of Oceanallover Alex Rigg lived on Orkney for several years and was involved and inspired by the archaeology and traditions of the islands. In 1984 two Clydesdale horses jumped the gate to their field and charged down to the beach at Billia Croo. This project begins with those two horses and their owner, Raimie Manson, a respected horse-man who was a judge at the Ploughing Match Festival and instrumental in the foundation of Kirbuster Farm Museum.  His niece Sarah McFadyen and her husband Joey Sanderson have written music for the project in collaboration with the Oceanallover team. This music follows a common thread of history that presents a rich and essential return to an elemental philosophy of form and function. Alex Rigg has created costume derived from his own experiences and reaction to the progress of time across the sparse and inspiring landscapes of Orkney.



Waiting to fall foal

kicking it hard

getting the boot strap

and leaning out

sheathed in horse flesh

a roan child

heavy in the hoof

shod and broken

Hand on heart

I’m no rare breed

common as grass

or chicken weed

shoe soles of steel

a studded ox

keep my feet well footed

and a plait in my locks