Return to homepage Skip to navigation Skip to site search Skip to main content Skip to footer


Dance and digital play on show at Northern Lights Ceilidh

1 August 2014

For more information about the event, and to book tickets, please visit the Dare ProtoPlay website.

Scotland’s biggest video games festival will this year be closed by the Northern Lights Ceilidh, an evening of dance, digital play and traditional music hosted by Abertay University.

The ceilidh will be held at 8pm on Sunday 10 August, to mark the end of the four-day Dare ProtoPlay video games festival, the culmination of Abertay’s Dare to be Digital games design competition.

Northern Lights Ceilidh will take the form of the traditional ceilidh, where storytelling, dance and song sit side-by-side, but with the modern addition of lights and animation that react to the music and the dancers.

Lynn Parker, Computer Arts Lecturer at Abertay University, said: “We’ve been working hard to bring together the historic form of the ceilidh with digital technologies, in a way that the technology feels like a natural part of the dancing, singing and storytelling.

“It can be easy to think of computers and digital media as very cold or impersonal, rather than being tools for art, expression and performance.

“We hope Northern Lights Ceilidh will show just how human and creative technology can be, from the personalised LED accessories everyone will receive when they enter the ceilidh, to the animations we’ll create from the light trails everyone leaves behind them as they dance.”

Digital Aurora Borealis will be projected on to a huge 6 by 3 metre screen, all taken from the movements and patterns created by the dancers.

The LED accessories have been designed and made by Lizzie Armour, a jeweller at Dundee’s Vanilla Ink studio, and 3D printed with the help of MakLab in Glasgow.

Clare Brennan, Teaching Fellow at Abertay University, added: “In Scottish folklore the Northern Lights are known as the ‘Merry Dancers’, and we’ll be turning our guests into the Merry Dancers themselves.

“The evening will be full of poetry and heritage, with a storyteller spinning tales and ceilidh music from Whisky Kiss.

“There’s also a Northern Lights Ceilidh app developed by local Dundee games company Quartic Llama, which will help anyone make their own Northern Lights on their phone or tablet – and add beautiful light trails to photos they take during the ceilidh itself.”

To prepare for the event, dancers and revellers can download the Northern Lights Ceilidh’s app, Lightstream, which challenges players to create their own digital northern lights.

The Lightstream app is available free from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Caroline Packman, Homecoming Scotland Director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have Dare ProtoPlay 2014 as part of the Homecoming Scotland programme of events. 2014 is about placing the spotlight on our greatest assets as well as celebrating our creativity, so it’s fitting that the UK's biggest indie games festival takes place in Dundee once again.

“The Northern Lights Ceilidh is a fantastic addition to an already jam-packed programme. The plans to mix traditional, cultural and heritage themes with digital technology and innovation will be a memorable finale for the talented participants, locals and visitors who get the chance to skip, spin and dance the night away.”

For more information about the event, and to book tickets, please visit the Dare ProtoPlay website.

Northern Lights Ceilidh is part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 programmes, and is a celebration of the talent and creativity on display at Dare ProtoPlay.


For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E:


Dare to be Digital is a video game development competition for undergraduates at universities and colleges of art, hosted and run by Abertay University in Dundee.

Teams of student programmers and artists compete in an intensive 'hot-house' development environment over the summer vacation, building fully-functioning prototypes for assessment by industry judges and a public vote at Dare ProtoPlay in Dundee, 7-10 August 2014.

The three winning teams from Dare to be Digital each year become the sole nominees for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

Back to News