Tag Archives: National Theatre of Scotland

NEWS: National Theatre of Scotland’s Rocket Post returns on screen as part of Royal National Mod in Glasgow this month

  • Filmed version of production will be screened as part of 2019 Mòd Ghlaschu in Glasgow, and will include free family workshops, followed by screenings and workshops in schools throughout October
  • The film will also be made available for free on the National Theatre of Scotland’s website during the October half-term break from Monday 14 to Friday 18 October 2019.

Stage Version: Written and directed by Lewis Hetherington with collaborators Ailie Cohen and MJ McCarthy, and movement director Kane Husbands.

Screen version: directed by Donald MacInnes

Cast: Ceit Kearney, Christina Gordon, Gavin Swift, Harry Ward and MJ Deans.

A special filmed version of the National Theatre of Scotland’s 2017 production Rocket Post is to be shown as part of Mòd Ghlaschu 2019 at the CCA, Glasgow on 16 and 18 October. The free screenings of the family-friendly film, which playfully tells an extraordinary true story in both English and Gaelic, will be followed by family drama workshops and activities led by National Theatre of Scotland creatives.

The film and workshops are also set to visit Gaelic schools for a special series of screenings throughout October. In addition, the film will also be made free-to-view on the National Theatre of Scotland website during the October half-term break from Monday 14 to Friday 18 October 2019.

Lewis Hetherington’s inventive show for children and grown-ups is based on the incredible true story of German rocket scientist Gerhard Zucker and his plans for a rocket-based postal system in Scotland, which led to the famed Latha na Rocait – the Day of the Rocket – on the Isle of Harris in 1934.

Originally presented on-stage in 2017 as part of a Scotland-wide tour, the production was filmed at a special performance in Harris before visiting more Scottish communities on the Screen Machine. Rocket Post on Screen was originally commissioned as a ground-breaking collaboration between National Theatre of Scotland and The Space, and became the first National Theatre of Scotland project to be presented on cinema screens.

Mòd Ghlaschu is Scotland’s premier Gaelic cultural festival, with a programme of events taking place across Glasgow from 11-19 October.

Join the conversation: #RocketPostonScreen

Listings information

Location: Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3JD

Dates: 4pm, Wed 16 October 2019

& 10am Fri 18 October 2019

Booking information: Free tickets bookable at nationaltheatrescotland.com                                                          

NEWS: National Theatre of Scotland announces its 2019 season

This week, Jackie Wylie Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland launched next year’s programme of work:

In 2019 the National Theatre of Scotland is focussing on major Scottish artists, creating major new works that explore the vital questions facing all of us both as Scots and as global citizens. 

What Scottish theatre can do like no other national culture is tackle the big questions of our times, with a unique sense of joy and a love of communal celebration.

Touring remains at the heart of our commitment to audiences across Scotland and beyond. In 2019, twenty productions will be touring to theatre venues, schools, community centres, and pop up performance spaces. We will also take the work of Scottish artists throughout the UK and internationally to New York, Montreal, Virginia, Kentucky and Lisbon.

We are proud to be without walls – we have partnerships in our DNA, and we aim for our collaborations to be as diverse as Scotland’s ever changing populace. I would like to thank the partners, funders, artists and collaborators who are joining us to ensure that theatre in Scotland, in 2019, matters more than ever”

WORLD PREMIERES AND NEW PRODUCTIONS INCLUDE:

  • Interference will be performed in a transformed Glasgow office block from 16 to 30 March 2019.  A bold and chilling new trilogy of near-future plays by three provocative writers, Morna Pearson, Hannah Khalil and Vlad Butucea, and directed by National Theatre of Scotland’s Associate Director Cora Bissett. A National Theatre of Scotland production.
  • Dear Europe is a special event produced by National Theatre of Scotland to mark Scotland’s scheduled exit from the European Union. Six of the country’s most adventurous theatre- makers will create and present short performances that respond to this significant moment in Europe’s history at SWG3, Glasgow on the night of 29 March 2019. Co-curated by Stewart Laing and Jackie Wylie. A National Theatre of Scotland production in association with SWG3.
  • Them! tackles the nebulous nature of identity in a changing world. Written by Pamela Carter with long-time collaborator Stewart Laing directing his first project in his new role as Associate Director with the National Theatre of Scotland. Premiering at Tramway, Glasgow in June and July 2019. A National Theatre of Scotland production.
  • Thank You Very Much is a new work from Claire Cunningham using the phenomenon of Elvis tribute artists as a springboard to explore impersonation, identity, acceptance and the challenges of being yourself. A Manchester International Festival and National Theatre of Scotland co-production, opening in Manchester in July 2019 and touring to Glasgow in October & November 2019.
  • Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, written by Tim Crouch and directed by Karl James & Andy Smith will premiere at the Edinburgh Festivals in August 2019 before touring to Brighton and Lisbon later in the autumn. Exploring manipulation and the nature of truth in an age of arch-political misdirection, the play is a bold experiment in the collective creation of fiction. A National Theatre of Scotland production in association with Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Teatro do Bairro Alto, Lisbon.
  • Red Dust Road is the first stage adaptation of the bestselling memoir by Jackie Kay, tracing the challenges she faced on the journey to discover the truth about her birth parents. Adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, it will premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival and HOME, Manchester, touring throughout autumn 2019. A National Theatre of Scotland and HOME, Manchester co-production, developed with support from Macrobert Arts Centre.
  • The Drift by performer and spoken-word artist Hannah Lavery journeys through history, Scottishness, belonging, and grief, exploring her legacy of being “mixed” in Scotland. Directed by Eve Nicol, it will tour Scotland from 02 to 12 October 2019 as part of Black History Month 2019. A National Theatre of Scotland production, tour supported by Flint & Pitch and The Workers Theatre with the Coalition of Racial Equality and Rights, as part of Black History Month 2019.
  • The Panopticon will be adapted for the stage by Jenni Fagan from her celebrated novel of the same name. A gritty and gripping coming-of-age tale turned on its head, the production will be directed by Debbie Hannan, touring to the Traverse Theatre and Platform, Glasgow in November 2019. A National Theatre of Scotland production.

TOURING SCOTLAND

  • Joe Douglas returns to direct John McGrath’s seminal political play The Cheviot, The Stag & the Black, Black Oil, in newly imagined version, based on his acclaimed recent production for Dundee Rep Theatre. The production will tour nationwide, in the spirit of the 1973 original tour. A National Theatre of Scotland production in association with Dundee Rep Theatre and Live Theatre, Newcastle.

INTERNATIONAL TOURING

  • Adam is the remarkable true story of a young trans man and his journey to reconciliation; with himself, those closest to him, and the world as he knows it. Conceived for the stage and directed by Cora Bissett, written by Frances Poet and performed by Adam Kashmiry, upon whom the story is based, and Rehanna MacDonald. The show receives its US premiere in New York from 14 to 16 February 2019. A National Theatre of Scotland production.
  • Première neige/First Snow follows its successful run at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with an international tour to Canada. Directed by Patrice Dubois and written by Davey Anderson, Philippe Ducros and Linda McLean, the Fringe First-winning show will be performed at Théâtre de Quat’Sous in Montreal from 26 February to 23 March. An international co-production between National Theatre of Scotland, Théâtre PÀP and Hôtel-Motel.
  • Anything That Gives Off Light returns following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2016. Focusing on three characters in a pub as they wrestle with loneliness, grief and a festering sense of betrayal, the production will visit Virginia, Kentucky, and New York from 01 to 30 March 2019. A co-production from The TEAM, the National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival.

PARTICIPATORY THEATRE AND FESTIVALS INCLUDE:

  • LIKE FLYING is a new participatory project from the National Theatre of Scotland, working in partnership for the first time with SAMH, (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in association with East Ayrshire Council and Edinburgh City Council. The project, tackling mental wellbeing through aerial performance, will be performed in schools in East Ayrshire and Edinburgh in June  2019 and curated by National Theatre of Scotland Artist-in-Residence Nic Green.
  • The Coming Back Out Ball, a year-long engagement programme created for the LGBTI elder community comes to Scotland, having been successfully pioneered in Australia by Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid of All The Queens Men. Led by Scottish theatre-maker Lewis Hetherington alongside the original creative team from All The Queens Men, the project will take place from May 2019.
  • Just Start Here, the National Theatre of Scotland’s pop-up festival celebrating new work and Scottish artists, arrives in Aberdeen on 08 and 09 March 2019 as part of the Company’s Engine Room programme. Produced in partnership with Citymoves, Aberdeen.

THE YEAR IN BRIEF:

February

  • Adam, conceived for the stage and directed by Cora Bissett, written by Frances Poet and performed by Adam Kashmiry and Rehanna MacDonald, tours to New York for performances at the Skirball Centre in Manhattan from 14 to 16 February 2019, the show’s first international dates.

March

  • Anything that Gives Off Light, directed by Rachel Chavkin, with Associate Direction from Davey Anderson, visits Virginia, Kentucky, and New York from 01 to 30 March 2019. Written by Jessica Almasy, Davey Anderson, Fraser Ayres, Rachel Chavkin, Brian Ferguson, and Alexander Grierson. A co-production from The TEAM, the National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival.
  • Première neige/First Snow, directed by Patrice Dubois and written by Davey Anderson, Philippe Ducros and Linda McLean, follows its successful premiere at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe with a tour to Théâtre de Quat’Sous in Montreal from 26 February to 23 March 2019. An international co-production between National Theatre of Scotland Théâtre PÀP and Hôtel-Motel.
  • Engine Room’s Just Start Here pop-up festival returns, bringing two days of music, climate change activism and cross-art form making to Aberdeen from 08 to 09 March 2019.  Presented in partnership with Aberdeen’s Citymoves.
  • Interference, a chilling new trilogy of near-future plays, will be performed in a transformed Glasgow office block from 16 to 30 March 2019. Written by Morna Pearson, Hannah Khalil and Vlad Butucea and directed by Cora Bissett. A National Theatre of Scotland production.
  • Dear Europe will mark Scotland’s scheduled exit from the European Union with an evening of live music and live performance at SWG3, Glasgow on Friday 29 March 2019. Co-curated by Stewart Laing and Jackie Wylie and featuring work from artists Adura Onashile, Nima Séne, Alan McKendrick, Angus Farquar, Nic Green, and Leonie Rae Gasson. A National Theatre of Scotland production, in association with SWG3

May

  • The Cheviot, The Stag & the Black, Black Oil begins its new Scotland-wide tour with performances in Dundee, Inverness, Shetland and the Highlands. Joe Douglas returns to direct John McGrath’s seminal political play. A National Theatre of Scotland production in association with Dundee Rep Theatre and Live Theatre, Newcastle. Based on the original Dundee Rep Theatre production.
  • My Left Right Foot – The Musical returns to the stage with new performances at Dundee Rep from 21 to 25 May 2019. Written and directed by Robert Softley Gale, with music and lyrics by Scott Gilmour & Claire McKenzie, Richard Thomas & Robert Softley Gale. A Birds of Paradise and National Theatre of Scotland co-production.

June

  • Them! is written by Pamela Carter and directed by Stewart Laing, his first project in his new role as Associate Director with the National Theatre of Scotland. It will premiere at Tramway, Glasgow in June/July. A National Theatre of Scotland production.
  • LIKE FLYING, is led by National Theatre Scotland Artist in Residence Nic Green in schools in East Ayrshire and Edinburgh from June. In partnership with (SAMH) Scottish Association for Mental Health, in association with East Ayrshire Council and Edinburgh City Council.
  • The Cheviot, The Stag & the Black, Black Oil visits the final stops on its Scotland-wide tour, including Skye, Aberdeen and Stirling, before beginning a two-week run at Newcastle’s Live Theatre.

July

  • Thank You Very Much is a new work from Claire Cunningham, using the phenomenon of Elvis tribute artists as a springboard to explore impersonation, identity, acceptance and the challenges of being yourself. It is commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and National Theatre of Scotland and premieres in Manchester in July 2019 before touring to Glasgow in October & November 2019.
  • Them!, Stewart Laing and Pamela Carter’s subversive and immersive new production, concludes its debut performances at Tramway, Glasgow.

August

  • Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, written by Tim Crouch and directed by Karl James & Andy Smith, is the first of two shows from the National Theatre of Scotland at the 2019 Edinburgh Festivals, running through August.
  • Red Dust Road has its opening performances, the first stage production of Jackie Kay’s heart-warming memoir, in an adaptation by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton. The show premieres at the Edinburgh International Festival, before visiting Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling and Eden Court, Inverness later in the autumn

September

  • Red Dust Road follows its opening performances at the Edinburgh International Festival with a tour to the home of co-producing partners HOME, in Manchester.

October

  • The Drift by performer and spoken-word artist Hannah Lavery, directed by Eve Nicol, tours Scotland from 02 to 12 October 2019, with visits to Aberdeen, Tobermory, Hawick, Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of Black History Month.

November

  • Jenni Fagan adapts her hit novel The Panopticon for the stage. Directed by Debbie Hannan, the show will be presented at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Platform, Glasgow.
  • Thank You Very Much receives its Scottish premiere in Glasgow from 31 Oct to 03 November 2019, following its opening performances at Manchester International Festival in the summer.

Throughout 2019

Theatre in Schools Scotland
National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate. Touring a programme of acclaimed shows to nurseries and schools across Scotland.

Engine Room

Established in 2018, our Engine Room programme will continue to provide artistic development opportunities for artists throughout Scotland.

The Coming Back Out Ball

A year-long engagement programme from May 2019 created for the LGBTI elder community in Scotland, led by Lewis Hetherington, Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid. Presented by National Theatre of Scotland and All The Queens Men in partnership with Luminate.

How The Earth Must See Itself

A short film produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Sculpture Workshop, created by Lucy Cash and Simone Kenyon, and based on the book – The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

 

TRON AMBASSADORS’ REVIEWS: Scotties – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Featured below is a selection of the reviews from this year’s Tron Ambassadors. I’m sure you’ll agree, the quality and insight is worthy of writers way beyond the years of these young people. Doubtless, ones to watch for the future.

The reviews that appear here are the unedited submissions by the writers. The writers range in age from 14 to 18 years of age.

Reviewer: Caitlin Scollin

Drawing from the real potato-picking Irish immigrants of 1936, Theatre Gu Leòr’s new play Scotties is innovative, shocking, and important to today’s audiences.

The lights go down as the play begins, and we see teenager Michael arguing with his Gaelic-speaking parents over a history project. He is tired, weighed down with homework, and embarrassed by his Gaelic heritage. After a visit from his grandmother, he falls asleep, drifting off just as figures in the distance begin to rise and sway. He is thrust into a field, and finds himself in 1930s Kirkintilloch. The audience are left just as clueless as him, as he wakes up in a completely different landscape, one that will mean more to him and his family than he could have ever expected.

Though I was initially thrown by the three different languages the play presented us with, by the end I forgot that I had once been worried by that. I could only understand the English properly, but I managed to understand the lines in different languages through the actors’ expressions. I found it captivating to watch, with so much to take in (through dialogue, movement, lighting, set, and music).

The play continues as Michael talks to Molly (the only character from the past that can see him, eventually revealed to be his own grandmother) and she explains their journey from Achill and introduces him to her “herd”. Michael stays with her for the rest of his time in the field, even when her friend professes his love for her and when their bothy is set on fire. I was enchanted by the magic in the story, and the melodic Gaelic chanting. The audience feel as if they are intruding, as the names of those who died in the fire are read out (named just once in the play as a mark of respect) and Molly weeps over the coffin. We watch her descend into isolation, refusing to even talk to her own daughter- Michael’s grandmother- as she raises her in Scotland too.

Scotties is a play about our relationship with the past, but it is also relevant to modern times. For example, the plaque placed to remember the Scotties in Kirkintilloch was immediately defaced in 2013, confirming tensions between Irish and Scottish communities even nowadays. It also tackles the issue of immigration all over the world. We begin to realise that it isn’t strictly an idea of the past, for people to flee one place to make better lives for themselves, and then be treated with hostility wherever they land. History does tend to repeat itself. The play makes a good point of talking about this in the very last scene.

Accompanied by a clever use of lighting and an interesting and efficient set, the cast dance and sing their way through a whirlwind hour and a half. One of the most memorable scenes is a dance where half the characters pick up instruments and half fall into a traditional dance that it was impossible not to smile at. The play is good at this, incorporating funny and lighthearted scenes in a heartbreaking and raw performance. I found myself crying towards the end, from where the pivotal fire was set to the very last scene.

Reviewer: Jennifer Wright

Recently I had the pleasure of seeing “Scotties” at the Tron Theatre. I had no idea that it was possible to not comprehend the language throughout the majority of a play, yet still be able to understand the raw emotion presented.

Muireann Kelly and Frances Poet’s jointly written play centres around the Glasgow teenager, Micheal (Ryan Hunter) and thoroughly explores and celebrates Scottish culture.  A school history project leads Micheal to slip into a dream where he can see clearly the lives of the boys who died in the Kirkintilloch tragedy just prior to the fire. He witnesses the final days of the boys who died as well as their experiences as Irish workers living in poverty during the early 1900s. However, Michael is only able to communicate with Molly (Faoileann Cunningham) who guides him through the past and shows what it means to be a migrant worker in Scotland in the 1930s.

While the challenge of working in multiple languages may seem daunting to some, the cast of ‘Scotties’ not only executed the play with utter passion and clarity but were also to convey to the audience the plot and dialogue through powerful acting where other actors would severely struggle to evoke anything other than complete confusion.  Every actor had their own unique and dynamic presence and complemented each other’s performance well. There was no weak link in ‘Scotties’ making for an incredibly enjoyable and emotional evening.

Although, it is not only the acting that should be applauded here; choreographer Jessica Kennedy must be recognised for her hauntingly beautiful movement that complimented the plot, dialogue, and music (by Laoise Kelly) perfectly. Moments that could easily have been glossed over became pivotal scenes due to the immaculate choreography.  Overall the creative team’s choices made a play that could have come off as confusing and predictable, an utter success. They managed to find the delicate balance between overdone and completely sporadic, resulting in a fascinatingly surreal play that truly mesmerised the audience.

“Scotties” is a truly spectacular play which explores a part of Scottish history that is not nearly talked about enough, presenting themes that are still prevalent in today’s society. This incredible show will not be soon forgotten, nor, hopefully, will the messages conveyed throughout.

Reviewer: Lucy Robinson

Scotties, by Muireann Kelly and Frances Poet, follows the story of a young boy, Michael, living in modern-day Glasgow, and his journey to rediscovering his Irish roots through his investigation of a historic fire that killed ten boys in a Scottish bothy.

Spoken in an at first confusing, but generally effective combination of Gaelic and English, it explores the background of both Irish and Scottish languages to produce a very thought-provoking piece. It cleverly drew parallels between past and present immigration, and the tension it creates within communities, which helped to make the themes much more accessible to any audience.

The set’s drab browns and greys, echoing the dreary landscape of agricultural Scotland between the wars, was offset by lighting, designed by Simon Wilkinson, that managed to transform each scene to fit the atmosphere.

Accompanied by traditional folk music that although will tug at the heartstrings of any patriotic Scot, is often haunting and eerie. Each cast member is both an actor and musician, with a particularly good piping performance from Alana MacInnes, and Ryan Hunter’s promising debut as Michael.

Reviewer: Molly Knox

Theatre Guleòr’s latest production ‘Scotties’ is a beautiful triumph that balances a tender and flowing physicality and dialogue with witty, refreshing and funny characters. The piece was inspired by a telegram, sent from Ireland following the death of ten young men from Achill in a Bothy fire in Kirkintilloch and explores not only this untold tragedy but so many valuable issues that relate heavily to today’s world.

When you first take a seat before the show begins, you are sat face to face with a stunning set (that is used throughout the show as a means of delicate and elaborate story-telling) covered in soil, a number of theatre gauzes and a simplistic set of wood furniture; these features being a bleak yet humble reminder of life’s cycle, that we all return to the earth we abide on. I particularly appreciated the use of contrast in the lighting used as it conjured up not only feelings of joy and nostalgia, but of hauntingly elegant grief. The use of live music was also very charming; the traditional Scottish and Irish instruments like fiddles, pipes and accordions made my experience all the more raw in both the light-hearted and solemn moments of the play.

Ryan Hunter’s charismatic, tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Michael, a teenage boy from modern day Glasgow, added a sense of down-to-earth comedic relief that balanced very well with the gritty, fragile aspects of the stirring plot and emotive characters. Every single actor clearly gave their all to the performance and created many moments of powerful, hard-hitting theatre. In particular, one scene between Faoileann Cunningham (playing Molly) and Colin Campbell, where both actors gave breath-taking and heart-breaking performances.

Whilst watching ‘Scotties’ I couldn’t help but notice the important issues and themes woven into the roots of the play itself- be they political or a lesson in human kindness, ‘Scotties’ had me questioning things. From the way we treat and view immigrants, to intergenerational and family relationships, to grief and loss and even the role of identity in one’s life.

Additionally, I found the use of both Scottish and Irish dialect and language alongside English to be especially effective in adding realism to the piece, and as somebody who doesn’t speak a word of Gaelic, ‘Scotties’ was completely accessible and understandable! The incorporation of more than one language into the dialogue is something uniquely brilliant to ‘Scotties’ and Theatre Guleòr’s work as a whole. The writers, Muireann Kelly and Frances Poet had clearly put an immense amount of thought into everything; from combining English and Gaelic into the production in a coherent way for both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers, to having a good balance of light and shade all through the piece.

Overall, after leaving the theatre from seeing ‘Scotties’ I felt refreshed by every detail of the production.  So, if you’re looking for an inspiring piece of theatre full to burst with witty perspectives and commentary on the new and old, met with a moving story that brings to light a tragedy that had been long forgotten- then I suggest you book tickets to see Theatre Guleòr’s ‘Scotties’!

For more information on the Tron Ambassadors programme visit: https://www.tron.co.uk/education/tron_ambassadors/

 

 

INTERVIEW: Barrie Hunter on brand new musical The Sunshine Ghost currently touring Scotland

New musical The Sunshine Ghost tells the comic story of the acquisition of Castle MacKinnon by a love-struck billionaire and property tycoon, Glen Duval, for his fiancé, Astrobeth – Hollywood’s favourite astrologer. Brought stone by stone from a remote rocky outcrop on a small Scottish Island all the way to Naples, Florida, they soon discover that the castle’s previous owner has not quite ‘left’ the building… 

Tell us a little bit about the musical and your role…

My name is Barrie Hunter, and I play the role of Glen Duval, a 1950’s American billionaire property tycoon in The Sunshine Ghost. He has promised to move an old Scottish castle from Scotland to the US to win the affection and the hand in  marriage of Astrobeth, a celebrity radio clairvoyant. Little does he know there is a spiritual entity from the past who’s not quite ready to give up his ancestral seat.

Barrie Hunter (left)

Tell me about life backstage.

Life backstage on tour is a moveable feast, as no two venues are the same, so you cut your cloth accordingly, depending on how much room you have on and offstage/dressing room situations/where you can grab some dinner etc. It’s a daily adventure!

Performing in musicals can be physically demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/ look after yourself when you have to be on top form on stage every night?

Looking after yourself whilst touring is vital – I rest up whenever I can, take on lots of water, and if we go for a small refreshment after, it’s good if you can find a place that’s not too noisy, as talking over loud environments is a sure-fire way to damage you vocally. This show is a big sing for all of us, as there are only five actors and a musician singing the whole show (23 numbers!), and it’s technically quite tricky too at times – lots of lovely harmonies and the like-so we have to be on it all the time!

Keeping the show fresh is a fairly easy ask, especially on a job like this, as it’s a fairly quick process to get it up and running, and the tour is done and dusted within a month, so there’s no time for it to get stale! It’s always useful to remember that every audience is seeing the show for the first time, so that helps too.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become a performer and the path you took to become one?

I was inspired to be an actor after getting involved with my local youth theatre, Harlequin, on the south side of Glasgow. I then moved on to Giffnock Theatre Players, doing plays, and subsequently auditioned (twice!), for the RSAMD (now RCS), and graduated from there 22 years ago…wow, I’m old. Since then, I have worked in theatre, doing plays, musicals, pantos (this is my 7th year as the Perth Theatre Dame), and done the usual bits of telly, radio etc.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

The advice I would give to aspiring actors would be: be punctual, do your research, listen to others, and whatever you may be doing, just try to find the truth of it-these things really help me, and others, in getting the job done.

The Sunshine Ghost - eoincarey_THEPALMER (2)

Image by Eoin Carey

Finally, why should people come along to see the show?

Folk should come along to The Sunshine Ghost because they will have a hoot watching a very funny show with lots of lovely music being performed by a bunch of folk who really know what they’re doing…and me! Oh, and we have a very shiny floor and flashing lights and ladders and crates and…Ach, just come along and you’ll find out for yourself…

The Sunshine Ghost is now on tour in Scotland and will be at Eastwood Park Theatre on Thursday 19 October 2017 at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £17 standard and £15 concession. If you bring a group of ten people one person goes free.

More info here: https://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/article/9044/The-Sunshine-Ghost#booknow

FEATURE: NTS Macbeth and The James Plays from scenic model to reality

Behind the scenes at the National Theatre of Scotland’s production hub Rockvilla, were two wonderful scenic models of their most-lauded productions: Macbeth starring Alan Cumming and The James Plays, starring among others Sophie Grabol, Jamie Sives and James McArdle.

Here you can compare the idea to the reality.

First up Macbeth, starring Alan Cumming. And next, The James Plays.

Image: Manuel Harlan

Image: Robert Day

 

NEWS: National Theatre of Scotland officially launches Rockvilla

The National Theatre of Scotland has remodelled and extensively refurbished a former Cash and Carry building in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of north-west Glasgow, to create Rockvilla. This new centre for creativity, production and talent development, designed by Hoskins Architects, provides the Company with approximately 3700 sq. metres (40,000sq.ft) of space over two levels.

The new National Theatre of Scotland facility enables the Company, for the first time, to house all its rehearsal and production activity under one roof. The canal-side building provides the Company and the Scottish theatre sector with a flexible, fit for purpose space with three rehearsal rooms of varying scales, creative development spaces, a learning and community suite, a working wardrobe facility, production workshop and technical store, office space, meeting room facilities and social areas. The Company will remain a “theatre without walls’’, committed to touring throughout Scotland and beyond.

ntsrockvilla-launch-3-eoin-carey-jpg

The company moved into the building in November 2016 and already National Theatre of Scotland productions of Let The Right One In and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart have rehearsed in Rockvilla before their respective openings at the McCullough Theatre for Texas Performing Arts in Austin, Texas and The McKittrick Hotel in New York in January 2017 and December 2016. Alongside these touring productions the building has also already accommodated a programme of talent development involving the National Theatre of Scotland Starter for 10 artists and provided space for industry events.

Rockvilla is designed by RIBA award-winning architects Hoskins Architects, based in Glasgow. They have an acclaimed portfolio of buildings designed for the arts and cultural sector including Mareel in Shetland, the UK’s most northerly cinema and music venue, The Bridge Arts Centre in Easterhouse and Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Inverness. Hoskins Architects won the commission to design ‘A Gathering Space’, Scotland’s first ever stand-alone pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008. The construction of Rockvilla was undertaken by Glasgow-based company Luddon Construction.

Dame Seona Reid, Chair of the National Theatre of Scotland said:

Rockvilla, the new headquarters for the National Theatre of Scotland, is not only a major resource for our national theatre, but also for the entire Scottish theatre sector. It will allow us to expand our offer to artists, practitioners, partners and communities and contribute significantly to a new and evolving cultural hub on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal in north Glasgow.   We are indebted to the vision and continued support of the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, and a host of trusts, foundations and individuals. Without their generosity, we would not have been able to make this project a reality. We are committed to making Rockvilla’s benefits to cultural life in Glasgow, and throughout Scotland, impactful and long lasting.  The National Theatre of Scotland looks forward to this building delivering value locally, nationally and internationally and helping all Scotland’s theatre-makers to be stronger, braver and better in all in we do.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, External Affairs and Tourism, Fiona Hyslop said:

Rockvilla will not only be a centre for creativity, production and talent development for the National Theatre of Scotland, it will be a hub of innovation for our wider Scottish theatre industry. This dedicated and inspiring space will enable this sector to continue to flourish and stand strong in their ambitions and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been instrumental in helping the development. I look forward to enjoying the success of this new initiative across Scotland’s stages, and around the world.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council said

I am delighted to see the opening of Rockvilla on the banks of the canal in Speirs Wharf.  This fantastic building is not only the engine room for the National Theatre of Scotland and the wider theatre community, but is also the latest act in the growing number of cultural organisations locating in this part of the city, all playing a key role in its regeneration.  I have no doubt that Rockvilla will help inspire more outstanding work for the National Theatre of Scotland, and we are delighted to have supported its creation.”

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to be part of an emerging cultural hub in this area of North Glasgow.  Other cultural tenants include Scottish Opera, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Glue Factory and the Whisky Bond.

Rockvilla has been supported by major financial contributions from the Scottish Government (£2 million), Glasgow City Council (£500,000) and the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (£594,481). The National Theatre of Scotland has also been successful in its fundraising campaign for Rockvilla, raising over £2 million to date towards the project’s overall costs from philanthropic sources including trusts and foundations, the popular Light a Beacon fundraising campaign and a major gift from Chris and Colin Weir.  The entire projects costs are £6.475million.

A new interactive, visually striking map, designed by Glasgow based design agency Pidgin Perfect, is also unveiled on 23 January, demonstrating the contributions from individual donors who have lit up their chosen areas of the country with beacons.

 

The first documented use of the name Rockvilla was in an 1860 Ordnance Survey map, and it is likely that the name derives from the extensive quarrying industry that once existed in this area of Glasgow surrounding the canals. Several local buildings and establishments have borne the name Rockvilla, notably Rockvilla School (demolished in 1996) and Rockvilla Church, which still stands today on Saracen Street with its new name, Possilpark Parish Church and the wider area is referred to as Rockvilla Basin.  The National Theatre of Scotland is proud to reclaim the name Rockvilla, as it takes up residence in this historic area and newly -regenerated cultural quarter of the City.

REVIEW: Yer Granny – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Were you a cynic, you could accuse the National Theatre of Scotland of cashing in on the rising tide of nationalism and the appetite for locally sourced produce in its choice of Yer Granny, a Glaswegian version of Roberto Cossa’s 1977 Argentinian hit comedy La Nona. Rolling out a cast of homegrown TV comedy favourites and capitalising on the seemingly never ending appeal of farce, certainly wouldn’t seem to do Douglas Maxwell’s adaptation any harm either.

Be it cynical or clever, Yer Granny plays to its audience: it’s still 1977, but now reset to a flat above the family’s Glasgow chip shop, it explores how far a family on the financial brink will go to rid itself of its problems.

Gregor Fisher goes for the grotesque as the titular granny who’s eating the family out of house and home and there is strong support from Jonathan Watson as patriarch Cammy and Paul Riley as the wannabe composer and full time shirker Charlie,  but it’s Barbara Rafferty’s hysterical transformation from mild mannered Aunt Angela to gun-toting drug dealer, that stays in the memory.

Undoubtedly laugh out loud funny, there’s a darker heart that the surface laughs mask, but one can’t help feeling opportunities were missed and a descent into crudity in the second half robs the piece of potential depth.

Undeniably watchable, laugh-out-loud funny in parts, but the descent into easy stereotypes and Mrs. Brown’s Boys territory, render it a two, rather than three dimensional production.

reviewed at Glasgow King’s Theatre 27 May now touring Scotland and Northern Ireland

This review was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/yer-granny-kings-theatre-glasgow/

Image credit: Manuel Harlan

REVIEW: Let the Right One In – Apollo Theatre, London

Writer Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany’s beautifully sensitive version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 Swedish horror novel Let the Right One In, turns this vampire tale, (though the ‘V’ word is never mentioned) into something more akin to a fairy tale; albeit a very bloody fairy tale.

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Mercilessly bullied schoolboy Oskar, (Martin Quinn in his professional debut) finds love and understanding with his mysterious new neighbour Eli (Rebecca Benson), but Eli has a secret, whilst she may look like a teenage girl she has been a teenager for a very, very, long time. As the tentative and tender relationship builds between the pair, the town is gripped by fear; there’s a serial killer on the loose. The locals hurry through the snow-covered birch forest, stealing nervous glances behind them at every little sound. The killer on the loose is Hakan, who happens to be Eli’s protector, a man who prowls the woods at night to feed his young charge, stringing his prey up by the ankles in order to drain them dry.

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Thorne’s adaptation has taken the darkest elements of the original novel and added in sensitive direction from John Tiffany, original design by Christine Jones and a chillingly atmospheric sound design and score from Gareth Fry and Olafur Arnald. This is a genuinely thrilling chiller; there is a moment where the entire audience jump out of their collective skins and the climactic swimming pool scene is an absolute nerve-shredder.

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This is the first West End transfer for the National Theatre of Scotland (after a successful premiere in Dundee and sell-out run at the Royal Court) and an unusual and unique piece of work for the West End, but the West End is all the better for it. The subject matter has doubtlessly attracted many of this predominantly young audience, thankfully, Twilight it isn’t. Instead this is a tender, moving, atmospheric and at times terrifying, love story of two outcasts beautifully staged and acted.

Try to catch it before its limited run ends on the 30th of August.

REVIEW: Dunsinane – Theatre Royal,Glasgow

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This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Dunsinane – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Writer: David Greig

Director: Roxana Silbert

“What happens after the dictator falls?” That is the question Scottish playwright David Greig answers in his masterful work Dunsinane.

The English army, led by General Siward, are occupying Scotland: they have killed Macbeth and captured the castle at Dunsinane and are just about managing to maintain the uneasy peace. But unlike Shakespeare’s tale, this time the Lady is not dead. She is very much alive and well and exploiting every English myth about the mysterious Celts to plot her return to power.

Though set in 11th Century Scotland the examination of the effect of occupation on both the troops and the conquered populace has a depressing resonance, it could just as easily be Afghanistan or Iraq in 2013. Gruach (Lady Macbeth) perfectly encapsulates in one phrase the feeling of the native when a foreign power justifies a war in pursuit of peace in another’s country: “Your ‘peace’ is just another word for you winning,” she spits.

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The cultural differences between the Scots and the English are exploited to good effect by Grieg and for all the drama and intrigue the play is replete with unexpected humour as the troops attempt to negotiate the intricate politics and allegiances of the clan system and come to terms with the restless natives, their customs and the unforgiving climate.

The perfectly controlled central performance of Jonny Phillips is utterly enthralling, he has the audience transfixed from the moment he strides onstage and holds them in his thrall to the bitter end. Siobhan Redmond is hypnotic as Lady Macbeth and the pair are ably supported by a talented ensemble, in particular, Tom Gill as The Boy Soldier, Joshua Jenkins as Eric the Archer and Sandy Grierson as Malcolm.

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David Grieg is a writer of rare form and there is as much lyrical poetry in the lines as laughs. The action moves swiftly under the direction of Roxana Silbert and the two and a half hour running time flies by in the blink of an eye, leaving you wanting more. This is a compelling tale, vibrantly told, an unalloyed triumph and a pure pleasure to watch.

Currently touring.

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

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