Schools’ cultural events are planned for commemoration of the emigration centenary in 2023, and councillors are set to learn more details on Tuesday (7 February).
A report to the education, sports and children’s services committee on Tuesday will detail the work taking place in schools as part of the commemoration of 100 years since the SS Marloch and SS Metagama left island shores, carrying away many of the young people who would have founded the future community.
The Comhairle appointed a cultural coordinator in October 2022, with the remit of delivery on the Dìleab emigration project to schools in the Western Isles.
After an excellent uptake in the number of schools wanting to participate, during January historians visited schools to talk about the history and context which led up to the sailings of 1923.
Storytellers – many involved in local Comunn Eachdraidh – brought in information from their precious archives and writers are now developing scripts for an initial four productions in the last fortnight of March.
These four will see school pupils from Lochs, Uig and Bernera perform in Lochs, a performance by pupils at Lionel School, Sgoil an Taobh Siar and Shawbost pupils working together and Tong and Back giving a performance in Back Community Hall.
The productions all follow an overarching script which was written and developed by a team of writers including Alasdair MacLeod, Coinneach Mòr MacIver and Duncan Norman MacLeod.
There will be music featured in the performances, with local singers being invited to create intergenerational events. Fèisean nan Gàidheal are a key partner in bringing Dìleab 2023 to fruition.
Meanwhile the community of Uist are working on commemoration of the departure of SS Marloch for a drama event to take place on 15 April.
Plans are for the Marloch commemoration in Barra to be in June, with a similar production to those in Lewis.
The SS Metagama commemoration in Stornoway will be on 21 April – the actual anniversary of the day the emigration ship left Stornoway.
This event will involving pupils from Laxdale and Stornoway Primary Schools, perhaps with wider participation from rural schools.