A six week project by Ignite Theatre in Knightswood, resulted in an excellent theatre afternoon in Wellington Church Crypt Cafe recently. Entitled ‘A Cake and a Comedy’ the seven sketches, written and acted by the five members of the cast told of human relationships through food.
The creative work was cooked up at the Cookery School and through waiter training at The Buttery in Argyle Street. All the young people – from school age to early 20s – gave engaging and convincing performances.
These ranged from the exchange between a street beggar and a passer-by to parent and child perceptions of Santa’s tidbits and from the gauche beginnings of a romance to the misconceptions of different cultural ways. All the playlets were written by the young people and reflected their own experiences and perceptions and misperceptions where different cultures collide. An appreciative audience enjoyed the cafe atmosphere, the cakes and the coffee as well as the performances.
Ignite’s Artistic Director Aileen Ritchie, has been running a series of free drama workshops for young people aged from 8 to 21 from different cultural backgrounds, for more than two years.
She said: ‘We have been touring this show to audiences who might not get to see live theatre – from pensioners’ lunch clubs to local primary schools. The cast have been extremely professional and I think their creativity shines in this funny and life affirming festive show. We are hoping the valuable work experience it has given them will lead to more opportunities.’
Actor Karen Chanda (18) said she found the workshops fun. ‘They build your confidence. You meet new people and make lots of friends. And we’ve built up strong relationships through working together on this project.’
The cafe theatre programme started with ‘Seeds of Thought’ poet and musician Tawona Sitole playing the mbira, a metal, thumb piano from Zimbabwe. The young actors were in working mode as waiters at the Buttery on Sunday 2 December when a full afternoon tea with a string quartet was on offer for donations for Ignite’s work. The previous day, a juniors’ show called Magic Dust and Christmas at the Zoo was performed in Knightswood Congregational Church Hall, 12 Dunterlie Avenue, Glasgow, G13 3BA. Ignite Theatre also performed A Cake and A Comedy.
Funding for Ignite from the Equality and Human Rights Commission ends in December. Children in Need are expected to take over as the main funder after that.
A rare opportunity for people to learn the skills of the theatre is open right now with Theatre Ecole. Based in the Southside of Glasgow, the company has evolved from a youth and community group to a professional organisation – and registered charity – producing first class entertainment throughout the stage seasons.
The benefit to individuals is inestimable. But two of their graduates can tell their own success stories.
Garry Hogg joined the group in 2001 aged 14. Since then he has been an actor, tutor, stage manager, wardrobe assistant. Last year he took on the demanding role of Artistic Director for his first Pantomime.
Enthused by his leisure experiences, Garry gained his HND in acting and performance in 2008 and then his BA Honours in Performance for stage and film in 2010. Last summer he went global when he taught Drama and Directed numerous shows at Camp Taconic, a summer camp in Massachusetts in the United States. Garry says that: ‘Without the experience, training and support gained at Theatre École, I wouldn’t have the confidence or skills to be the person I am today or have had so many good experiences.’ Garry plans to continue working with young people and looks forward to Theatre École’s summer musical.
Michelle Gallagher joined the group in 2004 and showed great talent when cast as the Queen of Hearts in her very first Pantomime. She went on to play challenging roles such as Jinty, the Dame and Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. Michelle gained her B.ED in 2010 and is now a successful primary school teacher. She said: ‘Being part of Ecole helped me realise that I enjoy working with children and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I use a lot of what I learned at drama when teaching the children.’
Several other members who joined École have successfully gained their HND in Acting and Performance and have toured England and Scotland in various productions including Theatre in Education.
Commented Founder Isobel Barrett: ‘Being part of Theatre École breeds success for the future as can be seen from Garry and Michelle’s stories. The arts are a resource for overall development of the individual; fostering self-confidence, citizenship, creativity and decision-making as well as other life skills.’ She emphasised that not everyone aims to become a stage professional – many enjoy the Theatre Ecole experience as a life-enhancing hobby.
She extends the invitation to anyone aged from 9 to 26 who would like to become a part of the team for the June musical, to sign up for classes starting on Wednesday 18 January. There is also a job going with the company as a drama tutor/creative assistant involved with various aspects of work including webdesign.
Theatre Ecole headquarters and performance space is at Theatre at Queen’s within the Queen’s Park Parish Church complex and their website is: www.theatre-ecole.org.uk or www.facebook.com/theatreecole or tel 0141 423 6037.
Artistic Director, Ashley Page is to leave Scottish Ballet in August 2012 when he will have completed 10 years with the company. The announcement was made on Thursday 4 November.
The Board of Scottish Ballet offered Ashley an extension to his contract; however he felt he was unable to accept this. ‘Scottish Ballet looks forward to working with Ashley for the remaining period of his tenure, and will continue to build on the company’s repertoire and reputation,’ said the company.
World renowned, Ashley has commissioned and also choreographed a range of work with the company, which has helped to create the unique identity and fine reputation Scottish Ballet enjoys. ‘ Audiences will continue to enjoy these works as they will remain within the company’s repertoire,’ the company assured ballet followers.
Ashley is currently working with Scottish Ballet to re-stage Cinderella this winter, and to present the world premiere of a brand new production of Alice next spring.
The recruitment process for Ashley’s successor will commence shortly.