Category Archives: NEWS

INTERVIEW: Peppa Pig talks ahead of ‘Peppa Pig: My First Concert’ UK Tour

Peppa Pig: My First Concert is a fun and interactive introduction to a live orchestra will take Peppa Pig fans on a magical musical journey. Peppa visits Glasgow on the 9th and 10th of February.

This production is based on Entertainment One’s popular animated television series, Peppa Pig, and gives children a chance to experience their first concert in a way that is truly meaningful to them. Specially designed for the youngest audience members, this allows them, together with Peppa, to discover an orchestra for the first time. Perfect for little ones, to capture their imagination and introduce them to a whole new world of music.

We talk to our favourite little piggy, Peppa Pig, before she goes back on the road with the second leg of her first ever concert.

My First Concert opens in February – for all tour dates, visit: https://www.peppapiglive.com/my-first-concert.php

So Peppa, are you excited to be going to a concert with your family this summer, and of course to see an orchestra for the first time?

Yes. Oink! Oink! Hee Hee Hee! I’m very excited to visit all these new places and I hope I get to make some more nice friends.

Have you been to a real-life concert before?

This is my first one! I can’t wait to see all the instruments being played on stage and hear all the different sounds they make.

Who are you going to the concert with?

Mummy, Daddy and George will also be there with me. I think we might even get to join in!

What are you looking forward to the most about the concert?

Listening to all the lovely music and joining in on all the songs I already know, like my favourite, the ‘Bing Bong Song’!

What’s your favourite instrument?

My favourite instrument is the French horn. It looks so fun to play and the noise it makes is so loud! I think George is probably going to like the drums the best.

 

  • 9 – 10 February 2020
  • GLASGOW
    Royal Concert Hall
  • 0141 353 8000
  • BOOK NOW

 

WHAT’S ON APRIL: Trigger Happy TV Star Live at Eastwood Park Theatre

Writer, broadcaster and comedian Dom Joly, best known as the creator of Trigger Happy TV, is coming to Eastwood Park Theatre for his only Scottish date as part of his UK theatre tour.

Dom will be talking about his exploits as a serial globe-trotter and seeker of dangerous travel spots at the Giffnock theatre on Friday 3 April at 7.30pm.

From North Korea to Chernobyl, Dom has visited some of the most unusual places on the planet – including the Australian bush in the 10th series of hit TV show I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here.  He famously attended school with Osama Bin Laden and, armed with a trusty Powerpoint, fans can expect his holiday snaps to serve up a tantalising mix of comedy and a sense of danger.

The best-selling author will also meet Glasgow fans after the show to sign copies of his latest book, The Hezbollah Hiking Club during his first theatre tour since 2011.

Dom said he’s looking forward to the Eastwood Park Theatre show, adding: “I’ve got this collection of weird holiday snaps. And I know there’s that cliché that ‘nobody wants to see anybody else’s holiday snaps’. Well, my holiday snaps are really good. And I’ve got some really good stories with them.

“The theme is travel. The three things I’ll be showing will be my own holiday snaps, holiday snaps from TV shows and holiday snaps from my books.

“So, for instance, when we did Trigger Happy TV, we went to Switzerland and found out our runner couldn’t ski and then I got arrested for impersonating a yeti.

“There’s a snap of me at Chernobyl, thinking: ‘Should I eat the vegetables here or not?’ So when I put all of them together, I’ve got a seriously great holiday show.”

Dom Joly’s Holiday Snaps is part of Eastwood Park Theatre’s packed programme of events, which runs from January – June 2020. The Giffnock theatre has over thirty shows featuring live music, top class theatre productions, comedy, dance and kids’ entertainment.

View the full programme and book online today: eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice or call the box office on 0141 577 4956. Tickets for Dom Joly’s Holiday Snaps are on sale now, priced £15: https://eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/article/10329/Holiday-Snaps#booknow

NEWS: STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN, AND NEW PACE PATRON, JAMES MCARDLE REVEALS LOCATION OF SCOTLAND’S FIRST DEDICATED YOUNG PEOPLE’S THEATRE

PACE Theatre Company is delighted to announce actor James McArdle as its first patron. James is a former PACE Youth Theatre member and since graduating from RADA in 2010 he has garnered a string of impressive credits including title roles in James I, Platonov and Peter Gynt at the National Theatre, a Broadway transfer of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and as the Earl of Moray in the 2019 feature film Mary Queen of Scots.

This announcement comes as the company reveals the location of the building which is to be transformed into a new community theatre space, EXCHANGE, dedicated to promoting and developing theatre for children, young people and families; as well as promoting participation by young people through performance and creative learning opportunities.

The vacant building on Old Sneddon St in Paisley, was most recently the site of a former nightclub (Mannequins) but was built as the New Templar Hall in 1932 and has been variously used as a dance hall, cinema and telephone exchange in its lifetime.
The building will provide a home venue for PACE’s own performances (almost 200 annually) as well as hosting a programme of professional touring productions, and offering an alternative venue for Renfrewshire’s thriving community performance scene. It’s planned flexible-use spaces will also allow for a host of creative learning opportunities.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE, said:
“We’re thrilled that James has accepted our invitation to become a patron for PACE. He has always been incredibly supportive of our work and generous with his time when it comes to our young people, and we know that his achievements to date are an inspiration to many of our young people.

“With the development of Exchange, our aim is to create a welcoming space for children, young people and families – from igniting a passion for theatre and performance in the very young, right through to supporting and nurturing emerging artists at the start of their careers.”

Speaking today, James McArdle said:

“I’ll always be grateful to PACE for the start that they gave me on my journey to becoming an actor, not just the skills I learnt when acting but how to have confidence in myself and hold my own. It is a privilege to be able support them in their ambitions.

“I have experienced first-hand that theatre has the power to be lifechanging and already, it’s clear that through this building they will be able to create even more opportunities for young people and their families.

“It’s still the happiest time of my life, I felt like I had a voice and was listened to at PACE even though I was young. It taught me I had value and worth which has been a vital part in becoming an actor but also just in growing up.”

The proposed model for the building model is inspired by young people focused buildings in England such as Unicorn Theatre, Polka Theatre, Chickenshed and Half Moon Theatre in London, Hullabaloo in Darlington, Contact in Manchester and Greenwich Young People’s Theatre.
Renfrewshire Council has already pledged an award of £300k from Renfrewshire’s £1.46m share of the Scottish Government’s £50m Town Centre Capital Fund – aimed at bringing vacant buildings back into use, improving infrastructure and supporting community-led regeneration.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, of Renfrewshire Council, added: “PACE Youth Theatre have been at the heart of the local area for more than three decades – in that time many thousands of young people’s lives having been enriched by that experience, and this new venue will open up those benefits to the next generation too.

“Of course, there is a long list of those young people for whom time spent at PACE was their springboard to stardom in the world of TV, film or theatre – and it’s great to see James McArdle coming back to where it all started for him to be part of this announcement today.

“Renfrewshire Council is putting culture at the heart of our plans to help transform the area’s fortunes, through the Future Paisley programme – which includes major investment in our own cultural venues such as Paisley Museum and Town Hall, as well as funding to help local creative groups like PACE grow.

“So we are delighted to have been able to make available funding, which will help PACE bring a long-term vacant building back into use and bring new footfall and vibrancy to the town centre.”
The award is a the first committed towards the project’s capital development total, expected to be in the region of £2.4 million, and PACE is actively seeking funding from sources to achieve this. Full details of the new building and ways to support the campaign can be found at www.exchangetheatre.org<http://www.exchangetheatre.org> .

NEWS: Karen Dunbar will play Lady Bracknell in Perth Theatre’s The Importance of Being Earnest

Celebrated Scottish actor and comedian Karen Dunbar has been announced as Lady Bracknell in the upcoming Perth Theatre production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

She will be stepping into some famous shoes as the iconic comedy character, who utters the famous line “A handbag?”, has been played by such diverse talents as Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Geoffrey Rush and David Suchet!

Karen is best known for TV classics including Chewin’ the Fat, The Karen Dunbar Show, River City and Rab C. Nesbitt. She recently completed a run as God in Still Game in SSE Hydro! She has played a wide variety of stage roles from Shakespeare to stand up, as well as regular panto appearances in Glasgow’s Kings Theatre.

Commenting on her potential take on the role, Karen said:

“I’m really looking forward to appearing in The Importance of Being Earnest in Perth this March. It’s such a classic play: funny, smart, timeless and very relevant, especially in times like these. So far, I’m pitching my Lady Bracknell somewhere between Mary Berry and Ena Sharples. We’ll see what comes oot!”

Lu Kemp, artistic director for Perth Theatre, who will be directing The Importance of Being Earnest said:

“It is a complete joy to be working with a comedy icon like Karen on one of British theatre’s most recognisable comic characters. I can’t wait to see what she brings to a Scottish Lady Bracknell! We’ve got a great cast lined up for this Perth Theatre production and our audiences can expect fun and laughter all the way in Oscar Wilde’s timeless “trivial comedy for serious people”!”

Grant O’Rourke will play Algernon, Amy Kennedy plays Cecily, Caroline Deyga is Gwendolin and Daniel Cahill plays Jack.

Supported by Bright Spirits, with match funding from Culture and Business Fund Scotland, The Importance of Being Earnest runs in Perth Theatre from Thursday 5 until Saturday 21 March.

Theatre goers can save 20% when booking tickets for Perth Theatre season plays The Croft, The Importance of Being Earnest and Macbeth at the same time*.

Perth Theatre presents

The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde directed by Lu Kemp

Thu 5 – Sat 21 March – Perth Theatre

“You answer to the name of Ernest. You are the most earnest-looking person I ever saw in my life. It is perfectly absurd your saying that your name isn’t Ernest.”

Jack and Algernon are best friends. Jack is Ernest in town. Algernon is Ernest in the country. But can two friends ever be Ernest at once?

Enter two eligible young ladies, a mother-in-law, a governess, and a baby in a handbag… and suddenly being truly Earnest has never been more important.

A play about the ruling class making the trivial serious and the serious utterly trivial. Surely nothing could be less relevant today…

Preview (Thu 5 + Fri 6 Mar): 7.30pm £15, £13, £11; concessions £12, £11, £10 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket) students/Young Scot cardholders/under 26s £10 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket); Arts Worker £11.50, £10.50, £9.50 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket)

Peak (Sat 7, Tue 10 – Sat 14, Tue 17 – Sat 21 Mar: 7.30pm) £27, £25, £21, £11.50; concessions £25, £23, £19, £10; students/Young Scot cardholders/under 26s £10 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket); Arts Worker £11.50, £10.50, £9.50 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket)

 

Off-Peak (Wed 11 Mar: 1.30pm, Sat 14 + 21 Mar: 2.30pm, Wed 18 Mar: 10.30am) £25, £23, £21, £11.50; concessions £23, £21, £19, £10; students/Young Scot cardholders/under 26s £10 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket); Arts Worker £11.50, £10.50, £9.50 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket)

BSL/ Audio Described performance: Sat 21 Mar: 2.30pm

Kids go FREE to this show – two 16 and unders go free with a paying adult. To trigger this offer insert your under 16’s tickets into your basket and the discount will be applied automatically.

Book The Croft, The Importance of being Earnest and Macbeth at the same time and save 20% from face value of tickets

*(excludes preview performances, students, Young Scot cardholders, under 26s and Arts Workers)

Special schools price available for selected performances. Contact our Box Office on 01738 621031 for more information and to book.

 

NEWS: CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR UK TOUR OF JB PRIESTLEY’S AN INSPECTOR CALLS

The full cast of the UK and Ireland Tour of Stephen Daldry’s seminal production of JB Priestley’s classic thriller AN INSPECTOR CALLS which runs at Theatre Royal Tuesday 24 – Saturday 29 March, has been announced. 

Liam Brennan will play Inspector Goole, Christine Kavanagh Mrs Birling, Jeff Harmer Mr Birling, Alasdair Buchan Gerald Croft, Chloe Orrock Sheila Birling, Ryan Saunders Eric Birling and Diana Payne-Myers Edna. The cast is completed by Michael Ross, Portia Booroff, Elissa Churchill and Jonathan Davenport.

Liam Brennan’s theatre credits include Richard III and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Diary of a Madman at The Gate, for which he was awarded Best Actor at the Edinburgh Festival in 2016.

Christine Kavanagh’s National Theatre credits include Man and Superman and Albert Speer and the National Theatre UK Tour of Hedda Gabler. Her West End credits include The Importance of Being Earnest at the Harold Pinter Theatre. With the Royal Shakespeare Company Christine has performed Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing. Her other credits include A Doll’s House, Travesties, She Stoops to Conquer and The Rivals.

Jeff Harmer’s credits include playing Berrard in the national tour of Bird Song. His other theatre credits include Fox on The Fairway, Out Of Order, Donkey’s Years, Romeo & Juliet and As You Like It.

Alasdair Buchan’s West End credits include Urinetown: The Musical at the Apollo Theatre and St. James’ Theatre and Richard III and The Pride both at Trafalgar Studios. His further credits include Seanse at The Other Palace, playing Sherlock Holmes in the UK Tour of Sherlock Holmes at the Crimson Cobbles and the UK Tours of Night Must Fall, A Little History of the World, The Importance of Being Earnest, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and The Lost World.

Chloe Orrock’s credits include playing Sybil Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray and PC Abrahams/Nurse Davis in Too Much Punch for Judy both Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Chloe has performed her new spoken word short play Of Sirens and Other Monsters at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington and the Brockley Jack Theatre.

Ryan Saunders’ West End credits include playing Freddie Beanstock in Hobson’s Choice at the Vaudeville Theatre and Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic. His further theatre credits include the UK Tours of The Mousetrap, The History Boys, The Madness of George III, Mrs Warren’s Profession and Shards and playing Clifford Bradshaw in the English Theatre of Frankfurt production of Cabaret.

Diana Payne-Myers’ credits include Strange Fish, Boxes and Le dernier chaperon rouge.

Since 1992, Daldry’s production of AN INSPECTOR CALLS has won a total of 19 major awards including four Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards. It has played to more than 4 million theatregoers worldwide and is the most internationally-lauded production in the National Theatre’s history.

Written at the end of the Second World War and set before the First, AN INSPECTOR CALLS is a compelling and haunting thriller. The story begins when the mysterious Inspector Goole calls unexpectedly on the prosperous Birling family home, shattering their peaceful family dinner party with his investigations into the death of a young woman.

JB Priestley’s brilliantly constructed masterpiece powerfully dramatises the dangers of casual capitalism’s cruelty, complacency and hypocrisy.

An Inspector Calls

Theatre Royal,Glasgow

Tue 24 – Sat 28 Mar 2020

Tue-Sat 7.30pm

Wed, Thu, Sat: 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA YOUNG COMPANY PRESENTS STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S THE FROGS IN APRIL

Scottish Opera Young Company brings Stephen Sondheim’s zany and rambunctious musical comedy  The Frogs to Glasgow for two performances this Spring at the Royal Concert Hall’s New Auditorium, on the 8 and 9 of April. This is the first time the company has taken on a piece from the world of music theatre.
Glasgow’s much-loved writer, director and pantomime dame Johnny McKnight (Last One Out, 2013) directs Sondheim’s rarely performed screwball musical, with Jonathon Swinard, Young Company’s Artistic Director, conducting the young performers, who are aged 17 to 23. The Young Company, which staged Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice in 2019 to great acclaim, is joined by professional musical theatre performers Darren Brownlie and Neil Thomas. Scottish Opera Scenic Artist Neil Haynes provides the set design with costumes by Aileen Sherry.
Adapted by Burt Shevelove from the one act comedy by Aristophanes, with music and lyrics by Sondheim, the composer of Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, The Frogs tells the tale of the Greek God of music and wine, Dionysus. He has had enough, and the political landscape is torturous, with fake news giving him fatigue. The people have stopped believing in beauty and truth, but he is convinced he can change things, embarking on a treacherous journey to the Underworld to bring back George Bernard Shaw from the dead and save civilisation through the power of art. Will he overcome his fear of syncopated singing frogs to reach his final destination? Will William Shakespeare out-poet Shaw? And will Dionysus ever pull off that faux-fur outfit given to him by his step-brother Herakles?
Director Johnny McKnight said: ‘The Frogs is a real treasure amidst the catalogue of the genius that is Stephen Sondheim. The music is deceptively complex and couched within a script that borrows from Comedia dell’arte, traditional music hall and farce. It seeks to entertain through the surreal and mischievous whilst also hiding underneath the narrative something very prescient for our time – when our leaders are failing us and hiding the truth who will speak to and for us? It’s a brilliantly funny book with hilarious lyrics, and I think it will offer not only a great night’s entertainment but a fantastic challenge for our Scottish Opera Young Company to sink their teeth into.’
Scottish Opera Young Company Artistic Director Jonathon Swinard, said: ‘Sondheim’s music for The Frogs is amphibiously ambitious and toad-tappingly catchy – Scottish Opera Young Company’s staging of this sophisticated score is smarter than even the most excessive sibilance can express!’
New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 
8 & 9 Apr, 7pm 
Tickets £12/£5 (Under 26s) 
0141 353 8000

NEWS: WHYTE & MACKAY GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2020 PROGRAMME

• WMGICF turns eighteen in style with over 500 shows at 60 venues and over 140,000 tickets on sale

• Comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short usher in the festival with a curtain-raising performance at the SSE Hydro

• Jimmy Carr, Stewart Lee, Arabella Weir, Frankie Boyle, Jerry Sadowitz, Trevor Noah plus many more set to appear.

 

The Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) reveals its full programme, as this hugely popular event in the city’s cultural calendar returns 12 – 29 March 2020. 60 venues across Glasgow are taking part – the most ever in the festival’s history.

 

The eighteen-day comedy extravaganza features international stars Trevor Noah, Steve Martin and Martin Short at the SSE Hydro and performances from household names including Jimmy Carr, John Shuttleworth, Dane Baptiste, Arabella Weir, Stewart Lee and Fascinating Aida.

 

It’s a bumper year for home grown talent with Janey Godley, Susie McCabe, Jim Smith and Jerry Sadowitz all gracing the stage of the King’s Theatre. Other top Scottish acts appearing across the festival include Rob Florence and Iain Connell in ‘Uncles’ at the Tramway, Craig Hill, Phil Differ, Fern Brady and Alan Bissett at Oran Mor, Frankie Boyle at the Stand, Elaine C Smith at Oran Mor, Phil Kay at Blackfriars, Darren Connell at The Stand, and Des Clarke at the Garage.

 

Comedy fans on the look out for critically acclaimed stand up can catch rising stars at a series of specially programmed venue takeovers. At the Old Hairdressers, Berk’s Nest present a line up including Desiree Burch, Jordan Brookes, Mawaan Rizwan, Sophie Duker; and Gilded Balloon are bringing Jayde Adams, Micky Overman and more. ARG are popping up in Blue Arrow and the Hug & Pint with a line up that features Evelyn Mok, Mat Ewins, Adam Hess and Annie McGrath. Local cult favourites CHUNKS descend on the State Bar promising Richard Brown, Planet Caramel, David Callaghan, and a gender-swapped live read of the screenplay to the 1995 Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls.

 

As well as stand up shows in some of the city’s biggest venues and intimate gigs in pubs, the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival features plays, sketches, improv, film and comedy for kids. This year’s theatre line up includes a brand new play from Chris McQueer at the Tron, Jason Manford in whodunnit Curtains at the King’s, and A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Oran Mor. Families can head to the Tall Ship, the Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre, and The Stand to catch laughs for little ones.

 

Other shows offering something a little bit unusual include a dog-friendly comedy club at Drygate, Hoppy Days beer tasting with comedy, Ray Bradshaw signing his show in BSL live as he performs, a drag parody of First Wives Club, and a special free show of dementia-friendly comedy at the Fred Paton Day Care Centre.

 

Events take place every day throughout the festival and tickets for all shows are on sale now, with some performances already selling out.

 

Sarah Watson, Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival Director, said: “We’re so excited to launch GICF 2020 with our biggest and most international programme to date. To have a comedy icon like Steve Martin performing at the event with Martin Short is just amazing, but to also feature Trevor Noah in the same year – well it’s just a dream come true.  They’ll set the tone for the festival’s eighteenth year as we welcome performers from all over the world, while also shining a spotlight on all the incredible Scottish talent that can be found in Glasgow in March.”

 

Ruairi Perry, Head of Blended Whisky Brands at Whyte & Mackay, said: “For the 3rd year running it is an absolute pleasure to partner with the Glasgow International Comedy Festival! We’ve had a very busy year as a brand, having celebrated our 175th year by launching our new look smoother bottle and also a ‘lighter spirit drink’ at 21.5% ABV – ideal for those looking for a brilliant tasting spirit but with lower alcohol.

 

There’s nothing light about the programme for this year’s festival – it’s packed again with top class acts from Scotland and around the world. It is amazing to see record number of venues involved across the city in 2020 with a fantastic blend of new talent and household favourites on offer. As a whisky born and bred in Glasgow, we are very proud that festival goers will be enjoying a dram or 2 of Whyte & Mackay whilst enjoying a great laugh & night out. Slàinte!”

 

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival is always a keenly anticipated highlight of the city’s cultural calendar and this year the programme is guaranteed to be hugely popular. Glasgow has produced some of the finest comedians who have ever taken to the stage and has welcomed some legendary performers and this year the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival ensures that legacy continues.”

 

Keep up to date with all the latest news by registering at glasgowcomedyfestival.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter @glasgowcomedy.

 

 

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA’S PRIMARY SCHOOLS TOUR RETURNS WITH WARRIORS! THE EMPEROR’S INCREDIBLE ARMY

In Spring and Summer 2020, thousands of primary school children across Scotland will perform Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army as part of the Scottish Opera Primary Schools Tour. Pupils in primary 5, 6 and 7 will rehearse and perform this opera, which recounts the tale of the terracotta warriors of Xian.
It begins on Monday 13 January at Milngavie Primary School, and will visit over 50 schools around Scotland during the Spring term, including in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East and West Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Angus, Aberdeen, Fife, Moray, Falkirk, East Lothian, the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway. (Full list of participating schools below.)
The tour continues in the Summer term on Monday 20 April, visiting schools in Aberdeenshire, the Borders, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Angus, South Lanarkshire, Fife, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Moray, Dumfries and Galloway and Shetland.
Warriors! tells the true story of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, who was determined to cheat death and rule over his country forever. Over many years, Qin Shi Huang assembled an army of 8000 soldiers, horses and chariots to watch over him in the afterlife. The warriors were all armed to the teeth, but made entirely of clay.
Composed by Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse, pupils learn the opera’s words and songs in their own classrooms and are then helped by the Scottish Opera team to prepare for a performance in front of pupils, friends and family. It allows them to learn in an exciting, creative and challenging way, further developing their music education. Performing in front of an audience instils a confidence that will continue to help pupils in the future, whatever path they follow. Teachers from schools which have already taken part agreed that the Primary Schools Tour broadened the children’s cultural experiences, improved team work skills, increased cultural confidence as well as singing ability, and supported the aims of Curriculum for Excellence.
Between January and November 2019, 132 Scottish schools took part in in the Primary Schools Tour, which was established by Scottish Opera 48 years ago. Teachers are provided with high quality teaching resources, including a support pack to help introduce the music and related activities, an advance visit from a specialist choral musician, and a day-long workshop with a team of experience arts educations specialists and performers.
Warriors! was originally commissioned in 2015 in partnership with the five Scottish Confucius Institutes based in the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt and Aberdeen. In 2016, around 200 pupils from the Fangcaodi International School, Beijing learnt the songs and performed the opera, which is mainly sung in English with some words in Mandarin. The ‘pilot’ visit was deemed such a success by the teachers that Scottish Opera was invited to return and work with a cast of pupils nearly four times larger.
In October 2019, three singers from Scottish Opera returned to China, and with around 200 pupils from the Kunming Fangcaodi International School learned and performed our second opera based on Chinese history, The Dragon of the Western Seas, which tells the story of Kunming’s most famous citizen, Admiral Zheng He.
Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: ‘Our annual Primary Schools Tour is one of the longest established programmes at Scottish Opera – every year over 9,000 children across Scotland take part in these performances with many more thousands of friends and families coming to see them in action.
‘We continue our work with the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), bringing back Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army, which tells an important story from China’s history. Pupils get to exercise their creative muscles and experience the added confidence and excitement that comes from performing for an audience of their peers, family and friends.’
In 2018 Scottish Opera was granted Confucius Classroom Hub status by Hanban, the headquarters of Confucius Institutes worldwide, making it the first opera company in the world to be selected for this accolade. It is one of four hubs based outwith a school setting; the others are the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Scottish Schools Football Association and the Royal Zoological Society at Edinburgh Zoo. The ‘classroom’ at the Company’s Edington Street production studios, holds resources on Chinese performance, arts and culture. It is used as a rehearsal space for Chinese-related programmes.
Confucius Classrooms are hubs usually based in schools and serving the local community. The concept promotes joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.
Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army is supported by The Mickel Fund, The Cruden Foundation, The Stevenston Charitable Trust, Martin Connell Charitable Trust, David & June Gordon Memorial Trust, Harbinson Charitable Trust, The R J Larg Family Trust, Alma & Leslie Wolfson Charitable Trust and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.
More details about Warriors! are available from www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/

NEWS: CITZ ANNOUNCE TWO NEW PLAYS BY YOUNG CO. & NEWLY ESTABLISHED CARE EXPERIENCED THEATRE ENSEMBLE

The Citizens Theatre today announces two new productions: Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?, performed by the Citizens Theatre’s new Care Experienced theatre ensemble and Adrift, performed by the Citizens Young Co.

Developed by the Citizens Theatre in close partnership with CELSIS (the Centre for Excellent for Looked After Children in Scotland), Scotland’s first Care Experienced theatre ensemble offers a positive, supportive and empowering space for young adults aged 18 – 26 to explore and learn about all aspects of a professional theatre, develop their creative talents, and tell the stories that are important to them.

The ensemble’s first production, Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?, takes us to 1978 Glasgow with unemployment and violence prevalent and Scotland’s seminal punk band, The Jaggy Nettles, imploding.  Featuring live music, original songs and an abundance of Glaswegian banter, this hilarious new play is a story of friendship, deception and the power of punk.

The ensemble has been working with Writer and Producer (Citizens Learning) Martin Travers, and Director (Citizens Learning), Guy Hollands to create this new play to be performed in February 2020.

Guy Hollands commented, “At the Citizens we are passionate about broadening access to theatre and ensuring that the creative opportunities we offer people are engaging and meaningful.  Our new Care Experienced Ensemble has created a piece which will showcase its members’ talent and also how initiatives like this one can have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives.”

In January 2020, The Citizens Young Co. will present their new show, Adrift.  Set in a mysterious dreamscape, it is one person’s experience of contemplating their place and purpose in the world.  With her last memory being a bottle of pills before waking up in the middle of the ocean, Cammy must decide whether to go further into the beyond or go back to shore.

Current and former members of the Young Co. will be taking on production roles as well as performing on stage.  Former members Catriona McNicoll, who wrote the script, and Lauren Mitchell, who will assistant direct, will return to work with current member Cameron Rickards, the production’s sound designer.

Citizens Theatre Community Drama Director and Director of Adrift, Neil Packham commented, “Adrift is a story which will resonate with many young people today and I am extremely proud to be directing a group of incredibly talented, passionate and driven young actors.  It feels particularly special to be using a script written by a former Young Co. member.”

Launched in 2005, the Citizens Theatre Young Co. provides opportunities in acting, writing and devising for young people aged 18 – 22. Young Co. offers a unique insight into the world of professional theatre-making and offers a range of opportunities to be part of the wider creative life of theatre.

Adrift runs from Tue 28 – Fri 31 January. Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles runs from Wed 12 – Sat 15 February. Both productions will be presented at Scottish Youth Theatre, The Old Sheriff Court.  Tickets available now online from citz.co.uk.

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