Sarah Hardie: songs for someone who isn't there

An Arts project Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Sarah Hardie: songs for someone who isn't there

Bringing new talent to Edinburgh through a series of performances across the City by emerging & established artists, Special Project in EAF.

New stretch target

Thanks so much for your support! I have been blown away by your kindness and generosity!

Before putting my project up on Crowdfunder I cut the budget significantly - from £11k to £2k - as I wanted to ask my friends and colleagues for the least amount possible. These cuts included the chance to get the work photographed as well as filmed, which is actually really essential, and was not a great idea to cut in the first place - not just for me but for the artists involved. I also cut fees to a minimum, and have relied on the support and goodwill of my collaborators for the project to be realised. I have also been blown away by their talent, enthusiasm and generosity with their time and skills. 

I haven't been able to pay artists a fee at all, or the singers who are performing on the night, or the ushers who will be helping to guide the audience around for the duration of the performance.

Even with this stretched budget I still can't afford to pay artists fees I am sorry to say, however much I'd like to - but could at least get a photographer to take stunning images of their work in performance, bring the final artist to Edinburgh, (who had offered to bring himself up as he knew I didn't have the funds) and contribute all I can thereafter to paying artists and singers for their contributions. I would also like to print more copies of the fantastic publication designed by Alex Simpkin, which features all of the texts from the artists to reach more people with this fantastic work.

Thank you so much for your generosity!! I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU!!


Project aim

To bring new talent to Edinburgh through a series of performances across the City by emerging and established artists.

About the project

songs for someone who isn't there is an Edinburgh Art Festival Special Project 2015 and my first major artist-curator project. It is an evening of performances through the streets of Edinburgh by artists and poets working with the voice and language.

John Muse wrote that ‘public spaces are more than ever becoming sites for communal isolation’. In response, songs for someone who isn’t there explores the silence of the human voice in public spaces: the silence people walking through the city experience of themselves and others every day, and the silence many return to at night. These city-wide "lullabies" will not represent the idealised togetherness typical of this genre of song, but rather, the pained isolation of our contemporary age of broken encounters, the lover’s hope, materialised in song, against the stony silence of public space today.

Established and emerging artists, including Ed Atkins, David Austen, Marco Godoy, and poet Crispin Best, will present songs for someone who is not there through the streets of the city. Ed Atkins presents never before performed work; David Austen shows a new performative adaptation of his film, END OF LOVE, which inspired the project; artist and poet Marco Godoy and Crispin Best, who have never presented in Scotland before, will also present a new song-based commission devised with myself (Sarah Hardie), especially for songs for someone who isn't there, and works of poetry which have rarely been performed before, respectively; while my work will consider song as a guiding principal for the evening of the performances she has curated and produced. 

As well as showcasing some of the most exciting artistic talent in the UK, and wider world, featuring a mix of established and exciting emerging artists, some of Scotland's most exceptional acting talent will perform David Austen's and Ed Atkins' work respectively: Ben Winger (National Theatre of Scotland; Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh; Grid Iron Theatre Company; and The Arches) and Angela Hardie (National Theatre of Scotland; Dundee Rep; Grid Iron Theatre Company; Scottish Opera, and Kneehigh Theatre Company) will perform David Austen's work. Martin McCormick (Grid Iron Theatre Company; Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Arts Theatre; Dundee Rep; and winner of 'Best new play' in the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Squash, an A Play, a Pie and a Pint production presented by the Traverse Theatre Company in June 2015) will read Atkins' work.

Singing talent in the performances is also very high, featuring well known Edinburgh-based singers: Naomi Black, Angela Hardie, Sarah HardieHelen LeighEleanor Smith, Sky Su and Matthew Swan.

Despite The Hope Scott Trust's support of songs for someone who isn't there, for which I am hugely grateful, I still have an over £1000 shortfall to raise in order to realise this project.

Unfortunately despite my best efforts, Creative Scotland rejected my application for funding based on the fact that there are 'no Scotland-based artists' in songs for someone who isn't there, despite the significant merits of this project, which they recognised:

  • Opening contemporary art, architecture and performance up to all for free in the University of Edinburgh's fantastic Georgian space
  • Publishing and giving away for free a publication/poster which acts as a lasting legacy for songs for someone who isn't there, featuring the artists' texts
  • Bringing some of the most highly acclaimed artists and performers in the UK/world to Edinburgh Art Festival - Ed Atkins' work returns to Scotland for the first time since 2010 - and Crispin Best and Marco Godoy present their work for the first time in Scotland

I believe in a pluralistic art scene and this is why this project features two artists who have never presented their work in Scotland before, giving Scottish audiences the chance to experience their work for the first time: Londoner, Crispin Best, a brilliant young poet who featured in the Serpentine Galleries' 89plus Marathon in 2013; and young Spanish Marco Godoy, who was a stand-out in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition, 2014, with his work of song.


Old College Quad, where songs for someone who isn't there will take place

Photograph by Marco Godoy


What will your money be used for?

Despite The Hope Scott Trust's support of songs for someone who isn't there, for which I am hugely grateful, I still have an over £1000 shortfall to raise in order to realise this project.

Your money will support:

  • Bringing five artists to Edinburgh from London for the performance
  • Supporting Marco Godoy's new commission through bringing him to Edinburgh to devise the work with him in Old College Quad space
  • Paying for video documentation of the work on the night to be able to share the project online and with others in the future
  • Commissioning a publication/poster to accompany the show which will be handed out on the night for free as a lasting legacy of songs for someone who isn't there and which will be sent to you as a thank you
  • Paying the University of Edinburgh's Servitors' fees to keep Old College Quad open for rehearsals and the performance
  • Paying EAF Open Submission Fee (£90 contribution payable by participants to support festival marketing and PR costs + VAT = total £108) 
  • Paying performers for their contributions

It all adds up! I have never done a crowdfunding campaign before but have exhausted all otherfunding options with no further success after The Hope Scott Trust's support.


Please help:

I would be hugely appreciative of a donation of £5/£10 or whatever you can afford/would like to donate towards the realisation of this project. It would mean so much to me personally as well signal that there is as much value in bringing exciting talent to Scotland for its audiences as there is in supporting talent based in Scotland, both of which I firmly believe in.


Book Tickets:

Tickets for songs for someone who isn't there, though free, must be booked here:


Details of songs for someone who isn't there can be seen on EAF's website:

I would love to see you at songs for someone who isn't there. Remember to book your free tickets - and if you do I'd really appreciate you please donating to the project to support its realisation.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration of this crowdfunding request!!!

Sarah Hardie



Huge thanks go to The Hope Scott Trust and Nicoletta Fiorucci for their support towards this project. songs for someone who isn't there has also benefitted from the generosity of Charles Asprey and Bosse & Baum, as well as Karen Forbes, Emma Claridge, Rachael Cloughton, and Kathryn Lloyd, without whom this project could not have been realised. Special thanks also go to Angela Hardie.