Category Archives: NEWS

NEWS: Award-winning Grid Iron Theatre Company at work on a new show to premiere this August

Experts in site specific and promenade theatre, Edinburgh-based Grid Iron Theatre Company hopes to bring a world premiere of Doppler to audiences next month. With very limited audience numbers of up to 20 people, this outdoor, socially distant show would have a limited run starting on or after 24 August with venue and exact dates still to be confirmed.

Judith Doherty, Chief Executive and Co-Artistic Director of Grid Iron Theatre Company said: “We are very cautiously excited about the possibility of bringing Doppler to Edinburgh audiences this August. We have been developing the show for over a year now and had hoped to bring it to Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Doppler was always meant to be an outdoor show and with our experience of producing shows in unusual spaces, we remain hopeful that we will be able to proceed with our plans. We are currently awaiting confirmation of our venue and then we can proceed with securing the required licensing.

“Having said that, we acknowledge the situation is developing fast and we might need to adapt quickly. We understand that 24 August, the date announced by the Scottish Government today as potentially the first day of live outdoor performances being allowed back in Scotland, is an indicative date which will be reviewed in 3 weeks.

“Safety and comfort of our audiences and team are always our top priority and we are simultaneously working on plans for a non-live sharing of Doppler.”

Adapted and directed by Ben Harrison, produced by Judith Doherty, with dramaturgy by Eszter Marsalko and translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, Doppler is an adaptation of a satirical novel by a Norwegian writer Erlend Loe. It focuses on Doppler, a man who, following the death of his father, decides to abandon his family and move to the forest on the outskirts of Oslo. He is determined to live a life as far removed from his previous as possible but struggles to maintain his isolation as his existence garners a lot of unwanted attention.

Ben Harrison, Adaptor, Director and Co-Artistic Director of Grid Iron said: “Doppler has been planned for a couple of years but takes on new and unexpected resonances in the context of the pandemic. The central character is jolted out of his comfortable Norwegian existence by a bicycle accident and determines to live an isolated life in the forest away from his family and social circle.

“Determined to live a deliberately simple existence, a life fused with the rhythm of the forest, he slows everything right down. Through his comical one-sided dialogue with an orphaned elk calf that he adopts, muses on life, the excesses of capitalism, fathers and sons and the footprint we leave on the world. As the months move slowly by however, his alternative lifestyle of bartering and hunter-gathering attracts some unwanted attention, and he finds being alone not nearly as simple and straightforward as he had hoped.”

Known for the role of Lesley in Outlander, Keith Fleming is Doppler with Grid Iron-regulars Itxaso Moreno and Sean Hay portraying all the remaining characters. The Company is also working with several talented freelancers, including Fergus Dunnet who is producing the puppets for the show, David Pollock on music and foley and Becky Minto who is responsible for design.

Following weeks of Zoom meetings, the Company has now begun outdoor rehearsals strictly following all the safety measures. These include not only face masks, hand sanitizing and social distancing but also taking people’s temperature at home and then again in the outdoor rehearsal space, props being handled by only one person, introduction of a clean objects area after they are sanitized and shorter rehearsal days to avoid having to take meal breaks. The Company is also making it possible for people not to have to travel to work by public transport unless they are absolutely comfortable to do so and if yes, only outwith peak times.

The very strict health and safety regulations also impact on the design of the show with rigging and lighting designed to be handled by only one person at all times and actors wearing their own clothes and bringing some of the props from home.

Grid Iron Theatre Company has decades of experience of producing theatre in non-theatre, often outdoor spaces and is widely recognised as experts in audience management. Its past productions include Roam presented at the Edinburgh Airport, Decky Does Bronco in parks and play areas across the UK and Ireland, Dr Stirlingshire’s Discovery at the Edinburgh Zoo and Crude, produced at a huge former oil-rig manufacturing shed in the Port of Dundee.

The Company is closely following the Scottish Government’s guidelines and is in touch with local authorities, and remains hopeful the staging of Doppler late in August will be possible. It recognises however that the current landscape is uncertain and everchanging and as such, is preparing for the eventuality that the live outdoor show will not be able to proceed. If that happens, Doppler will be shared with audiences digitally as a filmed performance.

#DopplerShow

Facebook and Twitter: @GridIronTheatre

Images: Delilah Rose Niel

NEWS: Scottish Ensemble invites you to join in a state of Deep Listening

In a state of Deep Listening there is no sound that is wrong. The way you listen and respond is unique to you. It gives space to an artistic release of feelings and embodies the power of music in developing a sense of well-being.

Scottish Ensemble is asking its audiences and people who may be contemporary music fans, those who practice mindfulness, or maybe even just experience seekers to join them in creating Tumbling Song, the 14th Sonic Meditation by Pauline Oliveros.

Oliveros wrote 25 Sonic Meditations between March and November 1971. They are instructions that anyone can follow, without any need for a knowledge of musical theory or technical skill. The Sonic Meditations invite you into this heightened state of Deep Listening by paying close attention to your breathing, your body and the sounds around you, and allow you to find new sounds of your own.

To take part in Sonic Meditations, visit the Scottish Ensemble website where you will hear members of the Ensemble’s instruments and voices, you can then follow instructions to join them in making this Sonic Meditation a true celebration of listening and togetherness through submitting your sounds.

Those who wish to add their sound to the performance should submit their response by Wednesday 19 August after which a final mix is completed, visuals added and it goes live on the Scottish Ensemble website www.scottishensemble.co.uk

To listen, find some headphones and get comfortable and ready to immerse yourself. Explore the sound worlds and the blend between instruments and voices, the different highs and lows, the dark and light to find the mix that provokes feelings you want to inhabit and inspires you.

Jenny Jamison, Chief Executive of Scottish Ensemble said: “At a time when it is so important to find outlets for artistic expression and freedom of feeling, Scottish Ensemble has created this innovative online version of Tumbling Song to bring together people from across the world.  We hope people can take a moment to themselves, as they build a global meditation, and enjoy the distinctive and special experience of playing and singing with our musicians. There’s a cathartic feeling to Tumbling Song – a feeling of release – and through this Sonic Meditation we hope people feel united, no matter how far apart they are, in a musical exploration.”

Daniel Pioro, Scottish Ensemble Project Lead said: “Oliveros’ music, perhaps more so than the music of any other composer, feels like it would exist as happily on the top floor of MOMA, as it would in a cathedral.  I would like everyone who participates in this project of ours to know that they are vital. They are not casual participants, they are the fabric of this sound artwork.”

Sonic Meditations sits alongside the Musical Book Club and a new collaborative cross artform project which will be announced shortly as Scottish Ensemble’s Digital Summer Season.

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NEWS: Thornhill Theatre Space Announces World Wide Virtual Fringe Festival

Thornhill Theatre Space is proud to announce that for the month of August they will be hosting a World Wide Virtual Fringe Festival.

 

 

Thornhill Theatre Space is a digital social media theatre space that was started as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Creator, Ryan Thornhill devised the idea for a live-stream table read of new plays, creating a series titled “Couch Readings”.

“I knew that playwrights were taking the time in quarantine to really focus on writing but they have no place to present or develop these new scripts. I wanted to be able to facilitate a space that these artist could present their work with the hopes of further development” Thornhill stated.

Each week he would choose from a group of submitted new short plays and present them as part of “Couch Readings”. Depending on where in the world the script would come from, he would cast the actors from that country. After the table read, Thornhill, the actors and the playwright would have a discussion about the new script, with the hopes that the playwright would get enough valuable information to go back and further develop their script.

Thornhill states, “With the success of Couch Readings, I started to realize that theatre could still work in a digital medium. There is obviously still a need for further development, but it is an option to keep the theatre alive.”

“Fringe festivals around the world started cancelling, but I noticed that a lot of companies were adjusting to digital content. Thats when I decided that I wanted to approach companies that have produced digital theatre and have attended fringe festivals in the past and see if they would like to take part in a virtual fringe festival”, Thornhill continued.

Within 2 weeks he had ten companies that were on board to be part of this virtual fringe festival. This festival includes productions/events from England, Singapore, Scotland, Canada, United States and the Philippines. Some of the theatre companies involved are Get Over It Productions (England), Lonesome Whistle Productions (United States), Maybles Productions (Canada), The XV Theatre Company (England), 3 Chinas Productions (Scotland), Attempts (Singapore), Ikarus Theatre Collaboration (the Philippines) and many more.

Thornhill will be directing Thornhill Theatre Space’s inaugural production, a digital play titled “Self Help Tips with Tiffany” by Pedro Diegues as well as launching their podcast Couch Chats”, all as a part of their fringe festival.

All the productions will be viewable solely on their Facebook Page (Thornhill Theatre Space). You can also find out more information on all of their social media pages; Instagram (@thornhilltheatrespace) and Twitter (@ththeatrespace).

The festival will run the whole month of August and includes a variety of events that is sure to entertain everyone.

WHAT TO WATCH: National Theatre of Scotland- New Scenes for Survival films and first BBC Scotland broadcasts and iPlayer releases revealed

Scenes for Survival, the ongoing digital project created by the National Theatre of Scotland, continues to entertain audiences with new weekly releases across BBC and National Theatre of Scotland online platforms.

 

The project is being delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project, and Scotland’s leading theatre venues and companies, with support from Hopscotch Films, and sees a host of Scottish performers, writers, and directors creating short pieces of digital theatre remotely from their personal spaces of isolation, with films released online for audiences to enjoy for free.

The latest Scenes for Survival releases for the week of 03 August will include the first part of Out of the Woods, a hilarious and sinister new three-episode short starring Alan Cumming. Written by Johnny McKnight and directed by Andrew Panton, Out of the Woods stars Cumming as a father struggling to find his way through the woods on the way to pick up his daughter from her other dad, before his real intentions slowly become clear.

 

The short series was filmed entirely by Cumming in woodland near his home in the Catskills mountain range in New York State. The first episode will be released online at 9pm on Mon 03 August, while the following two episodes will be released on Mon 10 and Mon 17 August respectively. Out of the Woods is produced in association with Dundee Rep Theatre.

The other two Scenes for Survival releases for the week will include Alone Part 2 on Wed 05 Aug, a warm-hearted follow up to comedian Janey Godley’s original Scenes for Survival film Alone, and Dirlo – Am Fear Maireann / Dirlo – The Survivor on 07 Aug, a new Gaelic-language short from writer Iain Macrae.

Alone Part 2 reunites Godley and director Caitlin Skinner, and once again stars Godley as long-suffering housewife Betty, now freed from the influence of her controlling husband and able to reach out to her son Stephen, played by Jack Lowden, as the two are finally able to plan their futures. The piece was created following the overwhelming positive response to the first film, and has been partly inspired by audience feedback asking for a follow-up to Betty’s story.

Dirlo – Am Fear Maireann / Dirlo – The Survivor is a new short from writer Iain Macrae, directed by Liz Caruthers, and starring Daibhidh Walker as an isolated shepherd working on a remote Hebridean island who comes into conflict with his only companion. It is the first Scenes for Survival film performed entirely in Gaelic, and is produced in association with Theatre Gu Leòr.

BBC iPlayer releases and BBC Scotland broadcasts

Out of the Woods will also be one of the first Scenes for Survival shorts made available to audiences through the BBC iPlayer in August. The first episode will appear on the platform from 03 August alongside a selection of other pieces from the project, including exclusive Ian Rankin short Rebus: The Lockdown Blues, starring Brian Cox as the legendary Edinburgh cop; Janey Godley’s darkly-comic lockdown short Alone; and Joseph Knight, an extract from May Sumbwanyambe’s forthcoming play Enough of Him starring Patrick Martins and Emma King, based on the true story of Joseph Knight, an African man brought to Scotland as a slave in the 18th century who eventually sued for his freedom.

 

Other pieces appearing on the iPlayer later in August will include A Mug’s Game, a sobering reflection on the legacy of asbestos poisoning in the Glasgow shipyards featuring Jonathan Watson, taken from Frances Poet’s play Fibres; The Banshee, a haunting comedy short from writer/director Greg Hemphill performed by Julie Wilson Nimmo; and The Domestic, a powerful tribute to the kindness of hospital staff starring Kristi MacDonald and written by Uma Nada Rajah, who has herself been working as an NHS staff nurse during the outbreak.

Further selections of Scenes for Survival shorts will be made available on the iPlayer every week through August, with 25 in total appearing on the service. Full details will be announced at a later date.

Next month will also see a selection of Scenes for Survival releases broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel for the first time, with three standalone Scenes for Survival films set to be screened on the channel in the coming weeks:

Larchview, written by Rob Drummond and featuring Mark Bonnar as a fictional government adviser coming to terms with his own major breach of the lockdown rules when he secretly visited a care home; Fatbaws, written by Douglas Maxwell, and starring Peter Mullan in a surreal and comic drama about a man in conflict with his garden birds after he changes the food in their bird-feeder; and First Things, written by Val McDermid and starring Elaine C. Smith as a big-hearted DJ on Radio Scotia trying to keep everyone’s spirits up during lockdown.

A three-part compilation of selected films from the project will also be broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel in August. Full details for these broadcasts will be announced.

Information on all Scenes for Survival films can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/scenesforsurvival and www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/scenesforsurvival

 

The Longest Summer– single release

Written by Noisemaker (Scott Gilmour & Claire McKenzie) and directed by Jemima Levick, The Longest Summer sees Richard Rankin star in a lyrical, life-affirming musical journey through childhood and hardship during the current crisis, celebrating the beautiful things that the world still has to offer.

The film was first released online on Monday 27 July. Now the uplifting central song in the short film, sung by Rankin, is to be released as a standalone single. The track will be available through all major digital music distribution outlets from Tuesday 04 August.

All proceeds from the single will be donated to the Scenes for Survival Hardship Fund, which has been set up to support artists and those in the theatre industry who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis.

Richard Rankin said:

“It’s been a privilege to work on The Longest Summer as part of Scenes for Survival with the wonderful creative team of Noisemaker and director Jemima Levick, and I’m thrilled that the film and song have resonated with so many people already. The song release is a brilliant way to continue that connection, and a great opportunity to raise some cash for a vitally important cause.“ 

The Scenes for Survival Hardship Fund is a fundraising campaign launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with the Federation of Scottish Theatre, the McGlashan Charitable Trust and leading Scottish Theatre organisations, to raise money for those in the sector who have been hardest hit financially and are experiencing drastic economic and emotional hardship.

All donations to this fund will go directly to provide support for those most impacted within Scotland, be they actors, writers, creatives, musicians, technicians or any others within our industry.

A sector-wide call out with information and details of how to apply for support from the SFS Hardship Fund will be launched in August 2020. The Federation of Scottish Theatre and the McGlashan Charitable Trust will ensure equitable distribution of the money raised.

WHAT TO WATCH: Scottish Opera present emerging artists recital online

Scottish Opera presents an online recital showcasing the talented group of Emerging Artists from the 2019/20 Season.

This Season marked the 10-year anniversary since the programme began in 2009 and will conclude with singers Charlie Drummond, Arthur Bruce, Mark Nathan, and Associate Artist Heather Ireson performing a recital live on YouTube, which will be available for all to watch.

Presented by Director, Roxana Haines and accompanied by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, the four young singers will entertain with a short, light hearted programme of operatic highlights.

The Emerging Artists programme offers young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers. Initially set up to nurture outstanding young singers, the programme now also includes positions for a repetiteur, costume trainee, a composer in residence, and, during Season19/20 for the first time, an Associate Producer.

Previous Emerging Artists include soprano Jennifer France, tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas, baritone Ben McAteer, repetiteur Jonathon Swinard, and composers Gareth Williams and Lliam Paterson.

The recital will be available to watch on our website here: https://www.scottishopera.org.uk/shows/emerging-artist-recital/

Image: James Glossop

NEWS: Rescheduled dates for Waitress UK tour announced

Musical Waitress, presented by Barry & Fran Weissler and David Ian, has rescheduled its first ever UK and Ireland tour and will arrive in Glasgow from Monday 21 June – Saturday 26 June 2021
at the King’s Theatre, the public sale begins: 10AM Thursday 30 July.

Waitress is based on the 2007 movie written by Adrienne Shelley. Music and lyrics are written by GRAMMY award-winning, singer-songwriter sensation Sara Bareilles, who appeared on the Graham Norton TV show, performing the hit song from the show She Used To Be Mine. With a book by Jessie Nelson, direction by Tony-award winner Diane Paulus and choreography by Lorin Latarro, Waitress has garnered multiple awards and nominations in both America and the UK, receiving acclaim from both audiences and critics alike.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker in a small town, who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a new life, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes to happiness. But Jenna must find the courage and strength within herself to rebuild her life. This beautiful musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

WHAT TO WATCH: Comedian Samantha’s Lockdown Video Explores a Year-Long Search for Happiness

Edinburgh Fringe hit show is now being shared online

Comedian Samantha Hannah is offering some lockdown laughter after releasing one of her hit Edinburgh Fringe shows online.

How to Find Happiness in a Year had followed on from her previous Fringe production How to Find a Husband in a Year.

A measure of her success in the earlier enterprise is that the video (in accordance with lockdown rules) was filmed in front of a live audience of one. That one being Toby, the man she met on her search for love and now lives with in London.

But finding happiness is perhaps an even more ambitious challenge and takes Samantha through the world of self-help books and even into the fine details of the UN’s World Happiness Report.

Samantha, who was raised in the Scottish city of Perth, said: “I think a lot of people need some laughter in their lives right now and with events like the Fringe cancelled, and comedy clubs in crisis, that’s not always easy to come by.

“And I feel that making the video totally saved my sanity during lockdown. Things had been going well and I had given up my full time job at the start of the year to fully go for it comedy wise. Then three days into my new part time job I was furloughed and all comedy was cancelled by that point too.

“I’d done a big crowdfunder earlier this year and had planned a brand new show for the Edinburgh Fringe and now that was cancelled too. I felt so lost.

“Then I decided I would make something myself. It got me through a tough time. Now it’s out there and I’m no longer furloughed either.”

The video, which updates her 2019 Fringe show, explores many aspects of happiness, from passion and romantic love through to finding contentment and learning to be comfortable with yourself.

Samantha shares pearls of wisdom that she has picked up – including the benefits of stopping being embarrassed when you do something ridiculous and thinking of yourself as a “big emotional Weeble”.

And ultimately her biggest personal discovery is that what makes us most happy is connectedness – our meaningful relationships with others – something many people are hoping to rediscover and reinforce as the country starts to come out of lockdown.

NEWS: Army’s Annual Fringe Event Regroups with Three Weeks of Online Arts Events

A virtual Army@TheFringe will bring together performers, writers, musicians, filmmakers and many others to support the arts sector

Army@TheFringe has been transformed for 2020 and will offer a richly varied three-week programme of online workshops, readings, performances and discussions for the arts community and the public.

Rebadged as Army@TheVirtualFringe its focus will shift from hosting Edinburgh Fringe shows to providing practical insights and advice from a wide variety of emerging and established arts and cultural practitioners.

Films, live-from-home performances and screenings are also planned, plus rehearsed readings of shows that were scheduled to take place on stage at the Army’s Hepburn House Fringe venue.

The online event has been welcomed by Brigadier Robin Lindsay, operational head of the Army in Scotland, as a way of continuing the work of Army@TheFringe to work with the arts community and promote debate about key issues.

Between 10 and 30 August there will be more than 40 free online events – with Week 1 dedicated to film and photography, Week 2 devoted to theatre and Week 3 exploring poetry, books and visual art.

Lieutenant Colonel Wendy Faux, head of arts for the Army, said: “After the cancellation of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe we talked to the arts community about how we could reshape Army@TheFringe to give them some support.

“There was huge enthusiasm for a digital event that provided practical insights and ideas for arts professionals as they prepare to rebuild after lockdown.

“The result is Army@TheVirtualFringe which brings together some remarkable people, from a multitude of backgrounds, to share their knowledge and experience – and also has performances and events that we hope will appeal to the public.

“In keeping with our past events, we will continue to put a strong emphasis on promoting diversity and providing forums to discuss a wide range of issues.”

Wendy is also a photographer and her exhibition, Not Just a Wife, was shown during Army@TheFringe in 2018.

Those taking part this year include James Robert Moore whose play, POSTERBOY (based on James Wharton’s autobiography Out In The Army: My life as a gay soldier), was due to be premiered as part of Army@TheFringe2020.

He said: “It’s so exciting and comforting to still be involved with something that celebrates Fringe plays, even though the future of theatre is currently uncertain. Our hope is that the plans we had for POSTERBOY this year can be rolled over to 2021, and that in the meantime anybody who is missing live theatre can join in this August and watch the week’s virtual festivities.”

James will be involved in three online sessions, one of which will feature six actors performing a 20-minute section of the play.

There will also be Charlotte Green, writer and producer of Lest We Forget, which follows the fight against prejudice faced by a black veteran and white Northern woman in Britain after the First World War.

Oliver Yellop, writer and actor, will perform I Am Gavrilo Princip, his play about the Bosnian Serb whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked WWI, live from his living room and will also discuss making solo works.

From the world of dance there will be Rosie Kay, creator of the internationally acclaimed 5 Soldiers, which premiered at Army@TheFringe plus the rare chance to see a screening of 10 Soldiers, an expanded version of the original.

Roman Baca, former classical ballet dancer, US Marine and Iraq veteran, and founder of Exit 12 dance company, will talk about interpreting military themes in dance.

Also taking part will be author and artist Harry Parker, Army Photographer of the Year 2019 Corporal Rebecca Brown and founder of the new Liberally online arts platform Daisy Rogers – who will lead a session on minority voices.

Daisy said: “Liberally champions the stories and narratives of minority voices across the liberal arts; we believe in the structural and cultural necessity for diversity both within the Army and throughout society as a whole. The arts in general, and events like this in particular, can play a valuable role in making that happen.”

Themes covered in Army@TheVirtualFringe workshops will extend from mask making, the use of film and photography and preparing plays for radio to making music for productions, theatre design for the Fringe and staging a show at Army@TheFringe.

A number of those taking part in the event had been planning to present shows as part of Army@TheFringe and it is hoped that these productions will take place in 2021.

Brigadier Robin Lindsay said: “We launched Army@TheFringe four years ago as a way of sparking conversations about diversity and identity by hosting performances that offered insights on life in and out of uniform. Those discussions have ever been more important.

“While Covid-19 has meant that the Edinburgh Fringe can’t go on as normal, I am delighted the Army can draw on its organisational resources to help carry the torch and to provide support to the arts community at a time when it faces immense challenges.

“We also look forward to returning in full force with live productions at our Army@TheFringe venue 2021.”

Jordan Blackwood, Producer of Army@TheVirtualFringe, added: “Creating an entirely new event from scratch, under lockdown conditions and with limited time has been quite a challenge – but the arts sector and the Army are amazingly adaptable.

“Thanks to their energy and commitment we have put together a great programme of workshops, shows, screenings, readings and discussions. We hope they will contribute to the huge efforts the sector is making to innovate and recover from a pandemic which has been devastating for society, culture and the arts.”

Heather Marshall, who presented The Happiness Project with Edinburgh’s Creative Electric theatre group at the 2019 Army@TheFringe will this year be working with young people to deliver arts activism workshops resulting in an online gallery.

 

NEWS: A CHANGE OF PACE: YOUTH THEATRE LAUNCHES NATIONWIDE CREATIVE COMMUNITY TO BOOST WELLBEING AMONGST YOUNG PEOPLE

Leading youth theatre PACE, best known for producing a string of illustrious alumni, is launching a brand new platform to offer quality creative experiences this summer for young people aged 3-21. The platform is open to young people across Scotland and can be accessed on a Donate What You Can basis, free to anyone that needs it until September 2020.

Joining the A Change of PACE platform means young people can sign up for all PACE’s online summer events and courses, chat and share in an online community platform specific to their age group, access exclusive digital content from artists across the country, and much more. 

Children’s charities are warning of the long-term impact of Covid-19 for young people, with many already feeling the effects of social distancing, high levels of isolation, and the wider social and economic changes to their lives. With proven links between having a creative outlet and an improvement in wellbeing and development, A Change of PACE aims to offer a creative respite and a supportive online environment to as many young people as possible.

A Change of PACE offers two membership options; a Regular membership includes a weekly zoom drama workshops while the new Light memberships allow young people to access all of the online videos, audio adventures, podcast and digital theatre, as well as book summer events, without the weekly commitment.

The Paisley-based youth theatre has been successfully running online drama classes and building a creative community for its existing members since the lockdown prompted a re-imagining of its core activity in March, launched with an online Q&A and masterclass by former alumni and star of The Last Kingdom, Mark Rowley.

Explaining why he believes creative opportunities such as this are vital, Mark said:
PACE gave me so much confidence and self belief growing up. When I didn’t have vision and felt a bit lost as a teenager, they gave me a focus and a drive to pursue a dream that I thought was unattainable. More than ever, these activities can be a constant in the lives of young people and it’s great for me to be able to give something back.”

Positive feedback for this pilot has prompted an expansion of its offering and staff hope to be able to bring this fantastic resource to even more young people, with the removal of geographical and financial barriers. It is a cornerstone of PACE’s ethos that finances should never be a barrier to participation. Thanks to vital support from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund / Linstone Housing, the Wellbeing Fund, Corra Foundation, Charities Aid Foundation and public donations, PACE is making A Change of PACE free to anyone who requests it, and on a Donate What You Can basis for those who are able to.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE says:
This is an unfamiliar and challenging situation for everyone and I think it is particularly hard for young people. We believe that at a time like this, the arts have an absolutely key role to play, being creative can provide a fantastic outlet for young people and it can also provide a way for them to process and explore what is happening around us.”

NEWS: Maw Goose will Strut Her Stuff in 2021 at Macrobert

After careful consideration and in light of the ongoing restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 lockdown, Macrobert Arts Centre has delayed this year’s panto, Maw Goose, until 2021.

Julie Ellen (Macrobert’s Artistic Director) said:

‘We have been exploring all the options around our annual panto and this has been a hugely difficult decision to make.  We are looking forward to seeing Maw Goose ‘strut her stuff’ in 2021. Good Panto takes time and planning, it is a year-round commitment for all of us – Macrobert staff, the creative team, the cast and the members of our young cast – and at this stage we just can’t balance delivering a fantastic panto experience for our audience with making sure we keep everyone safe, both of which are key priorities for us all.’

The annual panto is the organisation’s biggest annual investment in terms of both time and money and like creative organisations across the UK Macrobert Arts Centre has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Their priority is being here for everyone in the future as a key part of the cultural community in Stirling, Forth Valley and further afield, delaying Maw Goose will not only help with those plans, but ensure audiences get the all-singing, all-dancing panto extravaganza promised by a Macrobert Panto.

Julie continued:

‘It’s a difficult time for the arts community as a whole, but without welcoming our audiences into the building for the full range of creative experiences we offer, it is a big challenge for us financially. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our audiences, partners and other supporters, on so many levels, but we need to make plans to help ensure Macrobert’s future and we look forward to sharing Maw Goose with everyone next year when we can properly do it justice.‘

The Macrobert Team will be in touch with all bookers to transfer tickets or to discuss alternative options.

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