Tag Archives: NEWS

NEWS: CRAIG REVEL HORWOOD TO STAR AS MISS HANNIGAN IN ANNIE IN GLASGOW

The King’s Theatre has announced that Craig Revel Horwood will play Miss Hannigan in Annie at The King’s next year.

The Strictly judge is no stranger to the stage and has previously played the famous orphanage headmistress in the West and on tour. He’s also played Munkustrap in Cats, Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and Harry in Crazy for You at the Prince Edward Theatre as well as choregraphing and directing tours of Sister Act and Strictly Ballroom. He also choreographed the film Paddington 2.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, Annie is the classic story of a brave young who’s forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning production includes the unforgettable songs It’s the Hard Knock LifeEasy StreetI Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow.

THE KING’S THEATRE, GLASGOW

MONDAY 29 MAY SATURDAY 3 JUNE 2023

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA PRESENTS THE VERDI COLLECTION IN GLASGOW

As part of the Opera in Concert series, Scottish Opera presents The Verdi Collection, a selection of the Italian composer’s greatest hits at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen on 19 November and Eden Court, Inverness on 26 November, with the concert then touring to City Halls, Glasgow and Usher Hall, Edinburgh in February 2023.

A cast of internationally acclaimed singers bring numerous roles to life, capturing the breadth and drama of Verdi’s incredible array of popular operas that earned him the title of the “king” of all Italian opera composers. In Aberdeen and Inverness, Scottish Opera’s Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts The Orchestra of Scottish Opera along with the cast including Hye-Youn Lee (Don Giovanni 2022), Christopher Turner (La traviata 2017), Roland Wood (Don Giovanni 2022) and Jihoon Kim. In 2023, the concert travels to Glasgow and Edinburgh with Eri Nakamura, Peter Auty (Eugene Onegin 2018), Lester Lynch (Silvano 2019) and Brindley Sherratt (Inês de Castro 2015).

Capturing the romance, passion and tragedy of Verdi’s works, the concert features a playlist from operas including La traviataUn ballo in mascheraLa forza del destinoDon CarloOtello and Macbeth. In an evening of dramatic storytelling this is a chance to hear some the composer’s more iconic music, recognisable from numerous TV adverts and films.

Known for his beautiful melodies and powerful plots, complicated relationships sit at the heart of his operas, as the concert’s singers become families, lovers, friends and enemies who often find themselves at dramatic odds, with understandable motives on all sides.

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford said: ‘The Verdi Collection comprises some of the highlights of the composer’s middle and late period from La traviata, one of the most popular operas, to Don Carlo and Otello.

‘The orchestra increasingly becomes more of an independent dramatic voice in his later works, with the sinister bassoon counterpoint in Otello and the golden aura of the cornets in Don Carlo striking examples of colour and character.

‘We hope there is something in The Verdi Collection for everyone and that the great Italian master still surprises us today as he undoubtedly did when these works were first performed.’

Verdi’s prolific output was marked by many styles, themes, and stories in a career that spanned over 50 years. At the heart of all his operas are instantly recognisable characters (noble heroes and dastardly villains alike), nuanced relationships between lovers and families, and melodies that transcend time.

Cast for Glasgow performances:

Soprano                 Eri Nakamura

Tenor                     Peter Auty

Baritone                 Lester Lynch

Bass                      Brindley Sherratt

City Halls, Glasgow
10 February 2023, 7.30pm

NEWS: GIOVANNA FLETCHER, CLIVE MANTLE AND GEORGE RAINSFORD TO STAR IN WISH YOU WERE DEAD

Producer Josh Andrews has announced the lead cast for the UK tour of Peter James’ Wish You Were Dead: George Rainsford, will star as James’ famous detective DSI Roy Grace, alongside Giovanna Fletcher who will star as Cleo Morey and Clive Mantle, who will star as Curtis. Leon Stewart will return to the role of DS Glenn Branson.

The show visits Glasgow 28 March – 1 April 2023 at the Theatre Royal

The world stage premiere of Wish You Were Dead follows five successful stage plays and the critically acclaimed smash-hit primetime ITV series ‘Grace’, which are all based on the best-selling novels by the UK’s number one crime author Peter James. This will be the sixth stage adaptation of James’ novels -making it the most successful crime thriller stage franchise since Agatha Christie.

Adapted exclusively for the stage, Wish You Were Dead kicks off a major nationwide UK tour in February 2023 at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. The production will then travel to a selection of top theatres across the country until late July. Tickets are on sale now from PeterJames.com.

Giovanna Fletcher is a hugely successful author, podcast host and Queen of The Castle after winning I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2020, Giovanna’s theatrical credits include 2:22 A Ghost Story and Ivanov in the West End and she also appears in the feature film The Boat That Rocked.

Clive Mantle’s extensive range of credits across theatre, film and television, include an Olivier Award nominated performance in Of Mice and Men. He is perhaps best known for his TV work in shows such as Casualty, Holby City, Game of Thrones and The Vicar of Dibley and is also an award-winning children’s author.

George Rainsford has for the last nine years, been playing series regular Ethan Hardy in Casualty on BBC One, for which he won the Inside Soap Award Best Drama Star 2017. Other Television credits include Holby City and Call the Midwife and his numerous theatre credits include productions at the National Theatre, RSC and the Old Vic.

George Rainsford said: “I can’t wait to be part of a theatre ensemble again and delve into Peter James’ thrilling criminal underworld. Getting to play Roy Grace, his most renowned detective creation, will be a huge honour. I am excited to meet audiences from all over the UK, and share with them some enthralling, edge-of-your-seat entertainment!”

Clive Mantle said: “I’m looking forward to terrifying… I mean entertaining… audiences up and down the length and breadth of Britain with ‘Wish You Were Dead’. Full of suspense and drama, there will be  many funny moments too during the course of a captivating evening. There’s a clue there for starters. Roll up, roll up, all you amateur sleuths. Can’t wait to see you all.”

Giovanna Fletcher said: “I’m really looking forward to appearing on stage as Cleo in this brand new play, and excited to work with George and Clive – two wonderful actors I’ve heard great things about. As a novelist, I know how important the characters I create are to me, so I’m thrilled Peter James has entrusted me with this wonderful role, in what is another brilliant and gripping story from one of the greatest masters of crime thrillers!”

Writer Peter James said: “I am beyond thrilled with the wonderful star cast that we have assembled for the world stage premiere of Wish You Were Dead. I love the fact that so many people create their own image of my characters but for me, George, Giovanna and Clive are all inspired interpretations of how I see Roy Grace, Cleo and Curtis and I am equally thrilled that Leon is returning to play Branson again. It is going to be very exciting to work with this great group of actors and I can’t wait for them to give audiences around the country, a thrilling, fun and hugely entertaining night at the theatre.”

The stage play of Wish You Were Dead follows DSI Roy Grace and Cleo Morey as they take a much-needed holiday together. They are hoping for a few days away from their dark worlds of murder and the mortuary. But their dream escape turns out to be the holiday from hell, as the past comes back to haunt them.

WHAT’S ON: Pitlochry Festival Theatre Autumn 2022 line up

Pitlochry Festival Theatre has announced a diverse programme for their Autumn season.

ENOUGH OF HIM

WRITTEN BY: May Sumbwanyambe

DIRECTED BY: Orla O’Loughlin

PRODUCTION COMPANY: A National Theatre of Scotland and Pitlochry Festival Theatre co-production.

PERFORMANCE DATES:  20-29 October then touring till 19 November. Touring till 19 November

VENUE: Studio, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Based on a true story, Enough of Him, explores the life of Joseph Knight, an African man enslaved by plantation owner Sir John Wedderburn and brought to Scotland to serve in his Perthshire mansion. In a first-time collaboration between the National Theatre of Scotland and Pitlochry Festival Theatre May Sumbwanyambe’s historical domestic drama, directed by Orla O’Loughlin opens in Pitlochry before touring Scotland in October and November 2022.

Highly favoured by Wedderburn and yet still enslaved, Joseph Knight balances on the knife edge between obligation and a soul-deep yearning for freedom. He forges a bond with Annie, a young Scottish servant working in the household, and the two of them fall in love.

But the walls of Ballindean do not keep secrets — their affair unsettles Lady Wedderburn, whose bitter loneliness is only deepened by the close bond her husband has with Knight. Joseph will endure bondage no longer. What happens when Joseph’s dreams clash with those of the man who owns him? What becomes of us all when past brutalities bleed into our present realities?

Enough of Him is a thrilling exploration of power and its attendant tensions: between those who are enslaved and those who are free, servants and masters, and husbands and wives.

SHIRLEY VALENTINE

WRITTEN BY: Willy Russell

DIRECTED BY Elizabeth Newman

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Pitlochry Festival Theatre

PERFORMANCE DATES: 13-29 October

VENUE: Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Shirley Valentine is a celebration of women, freedom and what it means to find yourself again. We meet Shirley, a bored, middle-aged wife and mother, when she’s contemplating what has happened to her youth, feeling stagnant and in a rut. Her children are all grown up and she frequently talks to the wall in her kitchen while preparing her husband’s regular evening meal of egg and chips. When her best friend offers to pay for a trip for two to Greece, she packs her bags, leaves a note on the cupboard door in the kitchen, and heads off for a fortnight of rest and relaxation. In Greece, she meets Costas, rediscovers herself, finds happiness, and everything she has been missing.  She realises that there is more to life than the dull, mundane existence she leads back home.  So now, Shirley has a big decision to make.

PETER PAN AND WENDY

WRITTEN BY: Janys Chambers (North & South, Pitlochry Festival Theatre), adapted from the novel by J.M.Barrie

DIRECTED BY Ben Occhipinti

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Pitlochry Festival Theatre

DATES: 18 November – 23 December

VENUE: Main House, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

A new adaptation by Janys Chambers of J.M. Barrie’s magical story about a boy who can fly and doesn’t want to grow up. One starry night, bedtime stories come alive for Wendy Darling and her younger brothers John and Michael when they meet Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and fly with them to Neverland – ‘second star to the right and straight on till morning’.  They find themselves on a thrilling adventure far from home where they make friends with the Lost Boys, meet the evil pirate Captain Hook and his motley crew, and encounter a very noisy crocodile.

 

Title image: Julias Cardew

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS 2022/23 60TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

Scottish Opera has unveiled its 2022/23 Season which includes four new mainstage productions, with one of the four an outdoor community opera, a revival of Don Giovanni, the world premiere of a Scottish Opera Young Company production, two Operas in Concert productions, two Opera Highlights tours, a Pop-up Opera tour, and the return of the hit ‘opera for babies’, BambinO. The Company travels to over 60 locations across the length and breadth of Scotland, demonstrating its commitment to bringing opera to as many communities as possible.

A truly international line-up of singers appears throughout the Season. Making their debuts with the Company are Zachary Altman, Viktor Antipenko, Pablo Bemsch, Francesca ChiejinaJulian Close, Lauren Fagan, Samantha Hankey, Andrew Henley, Emyr Wyn Jones, Julieth Lozano, Christopher Nairne, Paula Sides, Holly Teague, Alfredo Tejada and Shakira Tsindos.

There are welcome return visits from Susan Bullock, Osian Wyn Bowen, Karen Cargill, Sioned Gwen Davies, Zoe Drummond, Máire Flavin, Justina Gringyte, Aled Hall, Charlotte Hoather, Jessica Leary, Hye-Youn Lee, Jamie MacDougall, Jonathan McGovern, Andrew McTaggart, William Morgan, Colin Murray, Samuel Pantcheff, Sarah Power, Annie Reilly, Shengzhi Ren, Phillip Rhodes, Ronald Samm, John Savournin, Shuna Scott Sendall, Lea Shaw, Dan Shelvey, Richard Suart, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, Sinéad Campbell-Wallace, Keel Watson, Kitty WhatelyLouise WinterRoland Wood and Dingle Yandell.

Stuart Stratford, Scottish Opera Music Director said: ‘I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to unearth several operatic treasures with audiences across Scotland in our 60th Anniversary Season. Each production has such a rich aesthetic. They are all so vividly different, both visually and musically. There is much for audiences to look forward to, from the somewhat berserk promenade production of Bernstein’s Candide, to the beauty of Puccini’s triptych Il trittico, and the physical, theatrical opera-meets-flamenco of Ainadamar in what will be a directorial debut for the world-renowned choreographer Deborah Colker. This is a must-see for all fans of dance, theatre, music and of course opera. I am really excited by the many wonderful singers joining us this Season, from fresh new talent, including current and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists, to well-known names.’

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera General Director said: ‘We are truly delighted to be able to launch our 2022/23 60th Anniversary Season, our first Season announcement since 2019.  We are incredibly proud of our work throughout the pandemic, so much so that we have decided to continue our open-air productions with both a large-scale community opera in Glasgow and our intimate Pop-up Opera that tours throughout Scotland.

‘Partnerships are so crucial to the Company, and we’re thrilled to develop a new relationship with Maryhill Integration Network, an organisation bringing migrants, asylum seekers, and settled inhabitants of Glasgow together through art. We’ll be collaborating again with Opera Ventures after past successes with Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek. And we are delighted to return to the Lammermuir Festival with a hidden gem – Massenet’s Thérèse. We continue our mission to ensure communities right across Scotland can experience live opera on their doorsteps, with performances in over 60 locations in our 60th Anniversary Season. We are also launching a new series of Access Opera to help those who have difficulty attending general performances. These offer a stress-free environment, without the worry of crowded spaces or the need to be silent. We hope that the popular and wide-ranging repertoire available this Season offers something for everyone, and encourages those who haven’t yet experienced the thrill of live opera.’

Productions:

Don Giovanni

A revival of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, its first since the 2013 premiere, opened on 15 May at Theatre Royal Glasgow. Directed by renowned baritone and newly appointed Scottish Opera President Sir Thomas Allen, this dark and atmospheric production tours to Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with a special performance on 5 June in Edinburgh to mark Scottish Opera’s 60th Birthday.

 

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford (15 May – 25 June) and Head of Music Derek Clark (16 -18 June) conduct an exciting cast that includes Roland Wood (Falstaff 2021) and Jonathan McGovern (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022), sharing the role of the titular anti-hero. They are joined by Hye-Youn Lee (Nixon in China 2020), Kitty Whately (Hansel and Gretel On Screen 2021), Keel Watson and Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Lea Shaw (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022). Set in the backstreets of 17th century Venice, designs are by Simon Higlett, who worked with Sir Thomas on his much-loved 2019 production of The Magic Flute.

 

Don Giovanni is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.

Candide

This August, a second year of Live at No. 40 takes place in Glasgow with a new outdoor promenade production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. There will be six performances of this vibrant and contemporary take on Bernstein’s satirical opera held under a purpose-built marquee tent at Scottish Opera’s Production Studios. The Citizens Theatre, who performed at last year’s Live at No.40, will also present a production with more details to be announced soon.

 

Candide, written by Bernstein before he composed his hit musical West Side Story and based on the novel by Voltaire, follows larger-than-life characters in chaotic adventures across Europe and South America. Full of imagination and comedy, the production is updated for the specific challenges of capitalism and globalism in today’s world, celebrating all of life’s beautiful, messy stories along the way.

 

Directed by Jack Furness (Opera Highlights 2018) and designed by Tim Meacock (Pagliacci 2018), William Morgan (The Gondoliers 2022) plays the idealist Candide, with Paula Sides as his beloved Cunegonde. They are joined by an ensemble cast that includes Ronald Samm (Pagliacci 2018), Susan Bullock (Breaking the Waves 2019), Jamie MacDougall (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022), Dan Shelvey (The Gondoliers 2022) and Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Lea Shaw (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022). Stuart Stratford conducts The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and an 80-strong community chorus, in partnership with Maryhill Integration Network, an organisation bringing migrants, asylum seekers and settled inhabitants of Glasgow together through art.

 

Candide is supported by Friends of Scottish Opera, Scottish Opera’s Education Angels, and The Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.

 

Ainadamar (The Fountain of Tears)

This October, the Scottish premiere and first fully-staged UK production of Ainadamar (the Spanish pronunciation of the Arabic name ‘Ayn al-dam’, meaning ‘The Fountain of Tears’) by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov and acclaimed American librettist David Henry Hwang, takes place at Theatre Royal Glasgow, before transferring to Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

 

Exploring the life and work of playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, Ainadamar premiered in 2003 in Tanglewood and is Golijov’s first opera, combining opera with flamenco dance and song. This new co-production with Opera Ventures (Breaking the Waves 2019 and Greek 2017), Detroit Opera, The Metropolitan Opera and Welsh National Opera, is directed by Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director Deborah Colker and designed by Jon Bausor. Known for her intensely physical dance work with Cirque du Soleil and the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony, as well as her own Companhia de Dança, Deborah is making her much-anticipated opera directorial debut.

 

Stuart Stratford conducts the internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey in the role of Lorca, whose anti-fascist stance and open homosexuality led to his death in 1936 at the hands of Franco’s Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. The story, which reimagines the political drama of the early 20th century, centres around Lorca, his muse Margarita Xirgu, sung by Lauren Fagan, and her student Nuria, sung by Julieth Lozano.

Ainadamar is supported by Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle and Sarah and Howard Solomon Foundation.

 

Il trittico: Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi  

Following the success of his 2021 Falstaff production, Sir David McVicar returns to Scottish Opera in March 2023 with a new staging of Il trittico. This is the first time Sir David has directed Puccini’s epic triptych, and the first time Scottish Opera has staged it.

 

A new co-production with Welsh National Opera, with set designs by Charles Edwards, the trio of glorious one-act operas about love and loss will tour to Theatre Royal Glasgow and Festival Theatre Edinburgh. Il tabarro (The Cloak) sees a wife trapped in a marriage she longs to escape, Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) tells the story of an outsider forced in to a life for which she has no vocation, and Gianni Schicchi focuses on a dysfunctional family caught in the snare of a shameless conman.

 

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts Roland Wood (Falstaff 2021), Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (The Puccini Collection 2021), Viktor Antipenko, Julian Close, Aled Hall (Falstaff 2021), Francesca Chiejina, Louise Winter (Falstaff 2021), Máire Flavin (Opera Highlights 2018) and internationally-acclaimed Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill (Bluebeard’s Castle 2017). They are joined by former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Elgan Llŷr Thomas (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022) and Sioned Gwen Davies (The Gondoliers 2022).

 

Puccini’s scores, including the favourite ‘O mio babbino caro’ in Gianni Schicchi, each boast their own vivid sound world yet fit together into a satisfying whole. With Il trittico’s earlier start, and a long second interval for dinner and drinks, audiences can expect a truly memorable theatrical experience and the chance to hear all three operas in one night as Puccini intended.

 

The production is supported by Dunard FundThe Alexander Gibson Circle, Scottish Opera’s ‘Play a Supporting Role’ Appeal, and The Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.

 

Carmen

Following his much-lauded production of Nixon in China in 2020, John Fulljames returns to Scottish Opera in May 2023 to direct Georges Bizet’s Carmen, concluding the Company’s 60th Season. This bold new production is sung in English with set and prop design by Sarah Beaton and costumes by Christina Cunningham. Taking place in 1970s Spain amidst the unrest and upheaval of that time, the investigation into Carmen’s murder runs alongside the systems that led to her death.

 

Justina Gringyte (Edgar 2018) sings the title role in this classic opera of jealousy, lust, and an outsider struggling to carve out a life by her own rules in a militaristic and patriarchal society. Also in the cast are Hye-Youn Lee (Nixon in China 2020) and Phillip Rhodes (Falstaff 2021), along with four of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists Zoe DrummondLea ShawOsian Wyn Bowen and Colin Murray.

 

Audiences can enjoy such hits as the Habanera, Flower Aria and Toreador Song, alongside Bizet’s magnificent orchestral interludes and spectacular chorus numbers. Conducted by Dane Lam (La Traviata 2017), Carmen tours to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, and Aberdeen.

 

Carmen is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.

 

Opera in Concert: Thérèse & The Verdi Collection

In September 2022, Scottish Opera returns to Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian with Jules Massenet’s Thérèse, at St Mary’s Church in Haddington. This heart-wrenching work of French Romanticism then travels to Perth Concert Hall.

 

These concert performances of Thérèse, with Justina Gringyte (Edgar 2018) in the title role, are directed by Roxana Haines and conducted by Anu Tali, making her Scottish Opera debut. Also in the cast are Shengzhi Ren (Opera Highlights 2022), Dingle Yandell (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022), Dan Shelvey (The Gondoliers 2022) and Emerging Artist Colin Murray.

 

Telling the story of a woman who finds herself at a crossroad, caught between her husband, a revolutionary representative, and her former lover, who is a deposed nobleman and her husband’s close friend, Massenet’s sumptuous opera sits against the backdrop of the French Revolution and Robespierre’s infamous Reign of Terror.

 

Touring to Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh in November and February, is The Verdi Collection. These concerts, conducted by Stuart Stratford with The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, will feature the romance of La traviata, the intrigue of Un ballo in maschera, the passion of La forza del destino, the domestic tragedy of Otello, and Don Carlo.

 

Thérèse and The Verdi Collection are supported by Friends of Scottish Opera and The Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.

 

Emerging Artists

The Company is thrilled to once again offer a group of young artists a period of full-time work at the beginning of their careers. The Emerging Artists have opportunities to perform with Scottish Opera in live productions throughout the year, as well as work in-house with staff and visiting coaches to develop their skills. Our 2022/23 artists are soprano Zoe Drummond, mezzo-soprano Lea Shaw (returning for a second Season), tenor Osian Wyn Bowen, baritone Colin Murray and repetiteur Kristina Yorgova.

 

The Emerging Artists, supported by Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors and Elizabeth Salvesen, will perform in the Company’s productions as well as three recitals in University of St Andrews, University of Glasgow and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

 

Opera Highlights

There will be two tours of the much-loved Opera Highlights in Autumn this year and Spring 2023, when four talented singers and a pianist travel to local venues all over Scotland. Emma Jenkins (National Opera Studio’s Anarchy at the Opera 2022) directs Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Zoe Drummond and Osian Wyn Bowen, along with Shakira Tsindos, and Christopher Nairne in the Autumn, and Holly TeagueAnnie ReillyAndrew Henley and Emerging Artist Colin Murray in the Spring. Once again, the music is skilfully curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, who combines operatic favourites with lesser-known gems. The Music Director/Pianist is Emerging Artist repetiteur Kristina Yorgova (Autumn tour), and Janis Hart returns as designer.

 

The Autumn Tour, from 22 September to 29 October visits Dundee, Markinch, Fraserburgh, Forres, Banchory, Cullivoe, Lerwick, Linlithgow, Town Yetholm, Stranraer, Castle Douglas, Dunlop, Gartmore, Biggar, Glenuig, Gairloch and Durness. Tickets are on sale this summer.

 

The Spring Tour, from 14 February to 25 March in 2023 visits East Kilbride, Crail, Garvald, Perth, Stonehaven, Boat of Garten, Invergarry, Wick, Kirkwall, Ullapool, Torridon, Isle of Skye, Oban, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Gretna, Hawick and Ayr. Tickets are on sale this winter.

 

Opera Highlights is supported by Friends of Scottish Opera.

 

Pre show talks, Accessible and Audio-described performances

The Company recently launched new afternoon Accessible shows to allow audience members the flexibility and freedom to relax and move about as required during performances. This Season there will be Accessible performances (supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels) of Don GiovanniGianni Schicchi and Carmen in Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

 

With Dementia Friendly values at their core, these shorter performances (under two hours including an interval) are open to all, whether you’re recovering from an operation, have breathing difficulties, are living with dementia, have a young baby or on the autism spectrum.

 

The Access performances, which include a presenter to help guide audiences through the story, are conducted by Head of Music Derek Clark, and performed by a cast of singers. Doors open 45 minutes before the start time so there’s no need to rush, brighter lighting levels than usual in the auditorium and there are television screens around the theatre if you’d prefer to watch in the lobby or sit in a quiet area.

 

Half-hour pre-show talks, delving into the detail of AinadamarIl trittico and Carmen are also available this season. Those who are visually impaired can take advantage of audio-described performances, where a live commentary is provided, describing the action on stage without compromising the music. As part of the experience a recorded introduction to the opera is provided in advance, and there is a free Touch Tour of the set and a live audio introduction before the start of the performance.

 

Education and Outreach

 

Pop-up Opera

This summer, audiences can look forward to three brilliant half-hour Pop-up Opera shows. Touring around Scotland in June and July are A Little Bit of Barber and A Little Bit of Figaro, two cleverly-rewritten versions of Rossini’s and Mozart’s classic comedies. Arranged by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, they follow the adventures of the mischievous barber Figaro.

 

Children aged four to eight can enjoy Be A Sport, Spike!, a Scottish Opera original composed by Karen MacIver with words by Ross Stenhouse, first commissioned for the 2018 European Championships Festival in Glasgow. It tells the story of Mike ‘The Spike’ McTavish, the greatest sportsman the world has ever seen. There’s no-one who can run faster, jump higher or swim further than mega-fit Spike. But there is one thing that Spike can’t do – sing! Audiences will join Spike and his friends as he starts to exercise those vocal chords, and finds out that a little perseverance can go a long way.

 

Each outdoor performance is brought to life by a series of colourful illustrations, storyteller Allan Dunn, sopranos Sarah Power and Jessica Leary, baritone Andrew McTaggart, cellist Andrew Drummond Huggan and guitarist Sasha Savaloni.

 

The tour kicks off on 3 June in Glamis, then travels to Dundee, Glasgow, Mugdock, Aberdeen, Ellon, Stonehaven, Inverness, Strathpeffer, Coatbridge, Greenock, North Bragar, Carradale, Rothesay, Dumfries, Musselburgh, Bearsden, Stirling, Perth and Edinburgh Park.

 

Pop-up Opera is supported by Friends of Scottish Opera.

 

BambinO

This August and September, audiences have the chance once again to see former Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Lliam Paterson’s five star ‘opera for babies’, BambinO, in East Kilbride, Perth, Inverness, Banchory, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Motherwell with more venues to be announced.

 

A co-production with Manchester International Festival and Improbable, director Lissa Lorenzo revives this delightful piece of music theatre for infants up to 12 months, originally directed by Phelim McDermott.  With stunning designs by Emma & Giuseppe BelliBambinO tells the story of a young bird leaving its nest for the first time. Charlotte Hoather and Samuel Pantcheff reprise the roles of Ulcellina and Pulcino, accompanied by cellist Andrew Drummond Huggan, and percussionist Darren Gallacher.  The musical director is Chris Gray.

 

Since it premiered in 2017, BambinO has toured around the world to great acclaim, including to New York and Paris, as well as Manchester International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and Glasgow.

 

BambinO is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels and New Commissions Circle.

 

Rubble

This July, Scottish Opera’s Elmbank Crescent premises hosts the world premiere of Rubble, a new piece from acclaimed composer Gareth Williams and Scottish theatre legend Johnny McKnight. Specially commissioned for Scottish Opera Education’s 50th Anniversary, members of Scottish Opera Young Company, who are aged 17 to 23, are joined by professional soprano Shuna Scott Sendall (The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken 2021), to tell this searingly honest, at times darkly comedic, story. Roxana Haines directs and Chris Gray, Scottish Opera Young Company Artistic Director, is the conductor.

 

Rubble follows a group of young people as they stand amongst the debris of Findenterran Farm, until recently a children’s home. As they pick through the shattered fragments of their childhood, they speak of what really went on in that largely ignored property on the outskirts of town. Rubble gives a voice to those who were ignored and overlooked by society while their youth was quietly stolen from them, and the cast and creative team have worked with ARTiculate Art Therapy to being this world safely to life.

 

This production is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels, Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle and The Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarship Grant.

 

Breath Cycle

The Company’s groundbreaking Breath Cycle returns for three more 10-week blocks in October, January and April. The free online project, designed to benefit those suffering from a range of conditions affecting lung health, in particular long Covid, was made with support from key NHS consultants.

 

Composer Gareth Williams and singers David DouglasJessica Leary and Daniela Hathaway lead the weekly sessions via Zoom, introducing participants to fun and stimulating songs, vocal exercises and breathing techniques in the comfort of their own home. The benefits of singing regularly are widely recognised, from improved lung function, posture and circulation to a strengthened immune system and core, better breath control and relief from stress and anxiety.

 

Participants can also sign up for song writing workshops with performance poet, Martin O’Connor, which run for eight weeks alongside each Breath Cycle block. These sessions are aimed at giving participants tools to get songs on paper and into the world. The songs will be arranged and recorded by Scottish Opera to create a free digital resource for individuals and singing groups worldwide as a positive musical legacy of the past two years. The Covid Composer’s Songbook will officially launch later this year, and a selection of songs composed during the song writing workshops are available to hear now on Scottish Opera’s website.

 

Breath Cycle is supported by Cruach TrustThe Murdoch Forrest Charitable TrustW M Mann FoundationSouter Charitable Trust, and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

 

Memory Spinners

Memory Spinners, a project designed to engage with people living with dementia through music and art, returns for more free sessions in Glasgow. First launched in 2012, these use music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts to help participants and their carers relax, get creative, and form new support networks. Over an eight-week period, rehearsals and visual arts activities build towards a short performance inspired by the music, characters and storyline of a popular piece from the operatic repertoire to which friends and families are invited.

 

The R S Macdonald Charitable TrustLife Changes TrustSylvia Aitken Charitable TrustBellahouston Bequest FundRKT Harris TrustJ Macdonald Menzies Charitable TrustTrades House of Glasgow (Commonwealth Fund), and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels supports Memory Spinners.

 

Sweet Sounds in Wild Places

On display this Season in the Borders, Edinburgh and Glasgow (venues to be announced on the Scottish Opera website) is original art from Sweet Sounds in Wild Places, a series of free workshops led by Scottish Opera to help build creative skills and increase self-confidence and self-expression, in partnership with The Abbotsford Trust and Live Borders!

 

During the sessions artists from the Company used music, creative writing, film and photography to empower those who have been struggling during lockdown. Forming part of the 250th anniversary celebrations of Sir Walter Scott, his novel The Bride of Lammermoor was used as inspiration to explore issues such as loneliness, isolation and lack of empowerment, as well as the impact, for good and bad, that landscape and environment can have on mental health and well-being.

 

Sweet Sounds in Wild Places is supported by The Cruden Foundation and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

 

School activity

This Season, The Last Aliens and The Curse of the MacCabbra Opera House are available to schools. Teachers can sign up to access online teaching resources to work through with their pupils, which includes audio and video teaching aids, as well as a series of practical tasks and exercises, or choose to work in person with our highly-trained artists.

 

The Last Aliens, a newly commissioned work from composer Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse, is an intergalactic adventure for primary 5 to 7 pupils. A funny and relevant story about saving Planet Earth, they learn five fantastic songs in their own classrooms, and then the Scottish Opera Teaching Artists team arrive at the school for a morning to teach movement and choreography to prepare for a 30-minute performance in front of fellow pupils, friends and family. In a normal year, close to 9,000 children across Scotland take part in these performances with many more thousands of friends and families coming to see them in action.

 

The Curse of the MacCabbra Opera House, on tour in 2023, is a 30-minute opera for primary 5 to 7. A chilling gothic tale with a good dose of comedy, The Curse of the MacCabbra Opera House features music from Alan Penman and lyrics from writer and director Johnny McKnight.

 

Scottish Opera has expanded its resources for school-aged children to reach secondary students. A series of special lessons for students are designed around Donizetti’s classic comedy, L’elisir d’amore, where they will learn about history, drama and storytelling. This includes several newly-written endings devised by the Company. More information will be available soon from the Scottish Opera website.

 

There is also The Water Rabbit, a brand new online resource for all Primary Confucius Classroom Hubs.

 

These projects are supported by Harbinson Charitable TrustDavid & June Gordon Memorial TrustHayward Sanderson Trust and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

 

Disney Musicals in Schools

Scottish Opera and Disney Musicals in Schools are once again collaborating to give primary schools in Scotland the opportunity to learn and produce their own Disney KIDS musical, which are shorter stage adaptions of classic Disney stories written expressly for primary school performers. The programme aims to build skills and confidence in both pupils and teachers, encourage participation and collaboration, and leave a sustainable arts legacy for years to come, especially in schools that are actively seeking greater engagement with the arts.

 

Over a 17-week period, the Scottish Opera teaching artists guide pupils through music and movement, and work with staff to give them experience in singing, stage directing, choreography and stage management. The schools are also provided with a Disney Show Kit including scripts, director’s guide, music score, choreography DVD, and rehearsal and accompaniment CDs.

 

The programme with Disney and Scottish Opera first took place in Scotland in 2019 and involved primary schools in Irvine, Paisley, Stirling, Galashiels and Johnstone, but was sadly cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The schools involved, from Glasgow, Wemyss Bay, Faifley, Renfrew and Kilmarnock, have since been able to continue the project over the last few months, and will present their shows in Spring 2022.

NEWS: MAISIE SMITH TO JOIN KEVIN CLIFTON IN THE CAST OF STRICTLY BALLROOM

Strictly Come Dancing finalist and former EastEnders star, Maisie Smith, will make her musical theatre debut later this year, as she co-stars in the 2022/23 UK tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical in the lead female role of Fran, alongside her former Strictly dance partner, Kevin Clifton, who she waltzed her way to victory with in the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Children In Need Special.

The musical, based on the award-winning global film phenomenon of the same name, inspired the world to dance and spawned the smash hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing. And now, new for 2022/23, this all-singing, all-dancing and all-glittering show – directed and co-choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood – is set to dazzle audiences once more with this glittering cast. Kicking off in Portsmouth on 26 September, the musical will then waltz around the UK before culminating in Bristol in July 2023. Tickets are on sale now from strictlyballroomtour.co.uk

The show will visit Glasgow in 2023 at The Theatre Royal from 5th to 10th of June.

NEWS: The Glee Club Go Bananas to Mark First Anniversary

The Glee Club Glasgow served up a slice of comedy gold last night at their eagerly awaited first birthday bash. An edible pair of The Big Yin’s ‘big banana boots’ took centre stage and proved to be the icing on the cake at the popular comedy club’s celebratory show.

Guests were able ‘to fill their boots’ with slices of the eye catching life-size birthday cake which was created by award-winning Scottish cake designer 3D cakes. Handcrafted from toffee sponge and airbrushed to depict detail, the comedy cake was the brainchild of The Glee team who voted Billy Connelly’s famous fruity booties their favourite Scottish comedy icon.

A stellar line-up of Scottish comics entertained the crowd throughout the evening, including the award winning Mark Nelson, the hilarious Christopher KC and Ashley Storrie and up and coming stars Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Shona Lawson . Freshly made food, drinks and a lively after party ensured that a fun-filled evening was had by all to mark the one year milestone.

Since opening its doors in early 2019, The Glee Club Glasgow has welcomed a raft of top comedians to its stage, including Sean Lock, Joel Dommett, Larry Dean, Janey Godley, Suzi Ruffell, Tom Stade, Fern Brady, Rosie Jones, Gary Meikle and Des Clarke. In addition to its popular weekend shows, the club has hosted a series of sell-out events such as book tours, drag shows and a hugely successful series of Christmas and Hogmanay comedy nights.

To further fly the flag for Glasgow’s thriving creative and entertainment industries, The Glee Club partnered with leading Scottish festivals throughout the year to deliver a series of unmissable events including Celtic Connections, Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Comedy Festival.

The Glee Founder Mark Tughan commented: “Billy Connelly has some pretty big boots to fill in terms of Scottish comedy, so what better way to celebrate our first year in the city than by paying tribute to him with our wonderfully banana’s cake.

We opened the club to showcase and support stand-up comedy in the city and we are thrilled that our first year has been such a success. Glaswegians are known for their humour, so the top notch acts that the club has attracted and sold out shows really is testament to this. Our team is incredibly excited to bring more must-see shows to the city and fly the flag for Scottish comedy’”.

The Glee Club Glasgow’s 400 seater interior, is theatre-style with great views to the round Glee stage, plus excellent lighting, acoustics and atmosphere. An extensive menu of delicious freshly made food and a great quality drinks offering enables guests to enjoy both an evening of entertainment and dining experience under one roof.

Prices: Friday night tickets £11 / students £8 / ticket + food £20, Saturday night tickets £17 / students £8 / ticket + pizza + drink £27

The Glee Club box office: 0871 472 0400 / info@glee.co.uk

www.glee.co.uk

www.facebook.com/gleeglasgow, www.twitter.com/GleeClubGlasgow

www.instagram.com/gleeclubglasgow

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

 

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> .

FEATURE: The Tron Ambassadors Programme Part 1

Since 2003 the Tron have enabled young people to experience a range of the career opportunities available within a fully operational theatre via the one-year Tron Ambassadors scheme. Through this scheme they foster deeper connections with the theatre itself, and the work they do both in-house and within the community, as well as an understanding of the wider theatre and creative arts industries.

Tron Ambassadors take part in regular workshops with Tron staff, external visitors and leading professionals to identify and develop transferable skills. Previous Tron Ambassadors have worked with the Tron’s production, marketing and front of house departments, theatre critics, set and costume designers and professional actors and directors. The programme also allows the Ambassadors to gain an Arts Award qualification from their full participation in the programme.

For the past four years, I have been lucky enough to work with these talented young people on the theatre criticism element of the programme. Always a joy to discover new voices and foster new talent in the field of arts criticism, I have also had the privilege of working with the most talented writers at The Reviews Hub.

Published here are the first batch of reviews of How Not to Drown, Dritan Kastrati’s perilous asylum story.

 

How Not to Drown

Reviewer: Holly Noble

Far too often we see on the news the horrific scenes of refugees fleeing their homes, family and friends just to get the taste of freedom. We see boats upturned, people struggling to swim and the terrifying death toll that increases every year. It isn’t often we hear a first-hand account from someone who was successful in the journey.

Dritan Kastrati’s How Not to Drown tells of his extraordinary personal story of loss, hardship and loneliness as he navigates his way to London, the danger of being caught always following him. What you often don’t hear is what happens after immigrants seek refuge. For Kastrati this was anything but easy; through learning a new culture and language, to trying to find a loving family through the foster care system.

The acting is excellent, giving you goose bumps, knowing that Kastrati is standing right in front of you as he tells you the story of his trials and tribulations.

The stage resembles a raft on an angle that spins around, this original device is effective in conveying the story. The small cast and the limited number of props are effective rather than distracting. The lighting and music is tied in well, giving you chills and adding drama.

After seeing How Not to Drown, it is clear, that it deserves all the recognition and awards it has received.

 

Reviewer: Astrid Allen

How not to drown is the story of Dritan Kastrati, an 11-year-old refugee from Kosovo travelling to the UK sent by his father to find his brother in London. Kastrati co-writer and actor performs his own life story, and the result is powerful and moving. The play explores what it is like to be torn between two cultures and the true inhuman nature of the UK fostering system.

In the first half of the play we get to see Dritan’s perilous journey on train, boat and lorry. The cast all have backgrounds in movement and director Neil Bettles choreographs movement with beautiful fluidity and keeps the audience in suspense during the journey.

When Dritan arrives in London he meets his 17 year old brother but they are soon separated and Dritan is put into foster care as his brother cannot legally look after him. He cannot understand why he would not be able to stay with his brother but he does not have the English to explain. Heartbreakingly, Dritan is put into a number of uncaring foster families until he is 16 and is legally allowed to leave care. He never truly feels at home with his carers and he can tell that none of them will ever really love him, Dritan misses his family and that feeling of being loved.

After his 16th birthday Dritan goes back to see his parents but they’ve moved from his childhood home and it doesn’t feel the same as it used to. Dritan is lost and no longer understands his own identity. This play is heart-wrenchingly honest, it holds nothing back from the audience and will invariably make you cry.

Reviewer: Devin McWhirter

Theatre has the power to portray important messages in an entertaining way and can draw a variety of emotions from audience members, and we see this in the extraordinary How not to Drown.

The play portrays the true story of Dritan Kastrati’s childhood and the dangerous journey from his war ridden home to the safety of his brother in London.

How Not to Drown, has the power both to draw you to the edge of your as it portrays Kastrati’s dangerous journey to get to London, and evoke anger and sadness at the discrimination and hardships he has had to face from the Law, Child Services and the carers he was forced to live with. It also moves greatly, particularly the scenes of him being torn away from his family.

How Not to Drown is a very relevant and important story that should be see and listened to by the widest audience possible.

Reviewer: Amy Waterston 

How Not to Drown is an exquisite piece of theatre which is a perfect example of theatre being a “mirror of society.”

The production’s use of the five versatile actors in multiple roles, not only showcases the cast’s acting ability, but also the intricate direction of the production, forcing the audience to realise the true horror of what is happening to people living in care today.

How Not to Drown captures these raw issues, due to the storyline following the real life of the lead actor Dritan Kastrati. The physicality of the piece draws the audience’s attention to the whirlwind of issues that Kastrati experienced. As an audience member, the piece really hits home as its impossible to question fact. This emphasised the upsetting reality and was a prime example of how powerful physical theatre can be.

Reviewer: Jacob McMillan

The story of a young Kosovan refugee and his treacherous journey through human smugglers, foster care, and life; told first-hand by the man he has become.
This play, from the staging to the sound design to the performances, is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Caught in the middle of the Kosovan-Albanian war, Dritan Kastrati left his home at eleven but didn’t know that he would never truly find it again.
The staging in this performance is incredible; the slanted stage is simply genius. Throughout the play, the performers lean out, as if to tell a secret, to the audience. This creates a sense of involvement for the audience, you are on the smuggling boat or in the foster home with the protagonists. It is no wonder why this play won the Scotsman Fringe First Award.
Truly brilliant, it will be interesting to see what comes from next from Kastrati.

Reviewer: Stanley Stefani

How Not to Drown is a masterclass in theatrical storytelling, portrayed by the man who went through it.

Utilising the very clever use of a rotating slanted stage to add to the creativity throughout the play, Dritan Kastrati tells the emotionally compelling story of growing up and being forced to leave his home country to join his brother his London. Conveying the full journey that 11-year-old Dritan takes in order to escape the wars in his home.

This is a beautifully told story and is a must see for anyone with an interest in amazing pieces of theatre.

Reviewer: Euan Warnock

It is interesting to think that How Not To Drown is named the way it is, not just because of the instances of our real life protagonist panicking under the depths, but also because of the feeling that the performance engenders in you, a ‘sinking feeling’, right down to the caverns of your soul.

Right from the opening five minutes, all the way to the final third… as a matter of fact, those would be the most brilliant part of an already great drama, How Not To Drown manages to keep its audience captivated with an ever-twisting, ever-turning, (most of the time quite literally, with the remarkable stage design) real life tale of a little refugee boy trying to worm his way through the British asylum system.

The innovative set design, especially the smaller and raised addition on which the actors spend almost the entire performance, causes the show to feel even smaller in scale, but this disadvantage is used to a wonderful degree. Whenever the stage feels small, it is because it is meant to feel claustrophobic, and the way it moves, without spoiling anything, is used fantastically.

One of the main draws of this production is that it is a real life story, written and performed by the man (Dritan Kastrati) who lived through it, and for the final third of the play it becomes quite clear that he isn’t fully acting, he is still clearly feeling all of the emotions of how it happened all those years ago.

This is a five-star production, unique and expertly staged, with incredible acting, and a captivating story of a little boy washed up in the United Kingdom, trying to find his way along the path to happiness.

More Tron Ambassadors reviews to follow in part 2.

« Older Entries