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Transform - Major Theatre Project Coming To Caithness June 2009

22nd February 2009

National Theatre of Scotland Learn opens up great theatre experiences to as many people as possible across Scotland. Since the launch of the National Theatre of Scotland in February 2006, National Theatre of Scotland Learn has created many educational and outreach theatre projects, involving over 74,000 participants and audience members, has connected with over 3000 workshops and worked with over 85 schools in 26 Scottish local authority areas.

During 2009, the National Theatre of Scotland's Learn team is taking up residency in Fife, Dumfries, East Renfrewshire, Moray, Orkney, Caithness, Glasgow and Aberdeen to deliver eight full-scale, site-specific, community theatre projects. Transform is a major theatre project taking place across Scotland, delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland Learn team, sponsored and supported by ScottishPower and Determined to Succeed. (March to December 2009)

The National Theatre of Scotland's annual celebration of youth theatre brings together youth theatre groups with professional theatre artists from across Scotland to create and perform new pieces. In 2009, the Exchange festival will take place at Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling (7 to 11 July 2009). The Learn team is delighted, for the first time, to be welcoming two international youth theatre groups to Scotland to take part.

Diaspora returns in 2009 in partnership with Tramway and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. (November 23 to December 6 2009)

Three practitioners - Brian Ferguson, Gary McNair and Molly Taylor join up to the National Theatre of Scotland's Associates' programme.

Workshops for community groups and schools are offered alongside the upcoming tour of Mary Queen of Scots got her Head Chopped Off and Our Teacher's a Troll

The National Theatre of Scotland, supported by John William Productions has created a Black Watch multi-media resource pack, to be made available to every school in Scotland

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TRANSFORM

National Theatre of Scotland Learn
Sponsored by ScottishPower and supported by Determined to Succeed,
presents TRANSFORM.

Eight major education projects are being produced by the National Theatre of Scotland's Learn team in March to December 2009. A team of leading artists will take up residency in communities across Scotland, working with secondary schools and community groups to produce eight full-scale site-specific productions. Projects for 2009 are taking place in Fife, Dumfries, East Renfrewshire, Moray, Orkney, Caithness, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Transform is a major collaborative education project between National Theatre of Scotland Learn, ScottishPower Learning and the Scottish Government's Determined to Succeed programme that allows schools and communities to transform their approaches to learning. By bringing schools together with theatre professionals, communities and audiences, the partnerships produce high impact theatre events that use the local environment as a backdrop to tell compelling stories. Transform aims to enthuse and motivate participants and enable them to develop key skills they can adopt in life and the world of work.

Transform was launched as a nationwide project in September 2007, with the aim of involving up to 10 different communities in creating 10 pieces of site-specific theatre across Scotland by the end of 2009. In 2008 successful Transform projects took place in the communities of Port Glasgow, Inverclyde in March and Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire in June.

Transform Fife: You Tell Us What Was We Tell You What Is
Directed by Ben Harrison and Jemima Levick
Assistant Director: Molly Taylor
Created in partnership with Woodmill High School, AttFife, Fife Council Education Service and the Dunfermline community
Location: Pilmuir Works (Old Dunlop Factory), Pilmuir Street, Dunfermline KY12

You Tell Us What Was We Tell You What Is explores the reality of being a fourteen year old in Scotland today - looking at the inner lives of young people, as well as the ways they are perceived by an often uncomprehending adult world. Working directly from the young people's most personal material - their music, their dreams and ambitions, their most cherished relationships and objects - the show celebrates the energy, ambition and possibility of change that young people can bring to their world. The show involves drama, dance, creative writing, design, installation, music and song.

The site-based event is set in Pilmuir Works, the former Dunlop Factory, the closure of which a few years ago is a powerful symbol of industrial decline. Pilmuir Works was at the heart of Dunfermline's textile industry, employing over six thousand people at the start of the twentieth century. Dunlop acquired the premises in 1947 for the production of tyre fabric, which finally ceased in 2005. Central to the development of the show has been the input of former employees from Pilmuir Works who have contributed stories about their time at the factory.

The creative team includes Ben Harrison and Jemima Levick as co-directors, Molly Taylor as Assistant Director, Becky Minto as Designer, Philip Pinsky as Sound Designer, Paul Claydon as Lighting Designer and Fleur Darkin as Choreographer. The Transform Fife team has worked on the project with150 students from Woodmill High School. The resulting show is created by a company of 56 students, consisting of 25 performers, 7 musicians, 4 writers, and with a design, technical and stage management crew of 20.

Dates: 10th, 11th and 12th March 2009

Transform Dumfries: Do a dance no-one can see you do and put it in a little bag
Directed by Simon Sharkey and Gareth Nicholls
Assistant Director: Brian Ferguson
Created in partnership with Dumfries Academy, the Creative Education Arts Team, (CREATE) Schools Services and the Dumfries community
Location: Central Garage, Watling Street, Dumfries

The Transform Dumfries team is planning a range of exciting events and activities that will take place throughout Dumfries in the lead-up to the final theatre event in mid-March.

The Transform Dumfries team has been working with over 300 pupils from 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th year at Dumfries Academy, leading workshops in drama, dance, movement, music, conceptual art, design, creative writing and text. The Transform Dumfries team has also engaged with over 80 people from a range of local community groups and projects including the Dumfries Daycare Centre, the Dumfries YMCA, the Robert Burn's Writing Fellowship at Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association, an Argentinian Tango group and the University of the Third Age. The project has been looking at life in Dumfries; themes of visibility, invisibility, secrets and private worlds have been emerging through the work with school and community participants.

The project is led by Simon Sharkey (Associate Director - Learn, National Theatre of Scotland) and Gareth Nicholls as co-directors. They are working alongside a creative team of professional theatre artists including Michael John McCarthy as Music Specialist, Lynda Radley as Creative Writing Specialist, Kate Pringle as Dance Specialist, Lisa Sangster as Design Specialist and Brian Ferguson, a National Theatre of Scotland Associate. Brian Ferguson played the role of Cammy in the National Theatre of Scotland's production of Black Watch in Dumfries in May 2007.

Dates: 18th, 19th and 20th March 2009

Transform East Renfrewshire: One All
Directed by Tashi Gore and Jess Thorpe
Assistant Director: Gary McNair
Created in partnership with Barrhead High School, East Renfrewshire Council and the Barrhead community
Location: Arthurlie Football Club, Dunterlie Park, Carlibar Road, Barrhead

One Football Pitch, One Town, One Performance, All of Barrhead

Inspired by the town of Barrhead, One All is about the stories, the memories and the lives of everyone who lives there. The show is not about one person or one story; this is not the stuff of history books or monuments. One All is about many people, many stories, many views of Barrhead. Reflecting on what it means to live together in one place, One All explores the common bonds that bring people together as part of a community.

One All is created by 125 young people who have been involved in developing original film and writing, in creating digital, classical and rock music, in mastering complex movement work and through building ideas for the design of the production.

Vital to the development of the show has been the input from the community of Barrhead. Under the direction of Tashi Gore and Jess Thorpe, One All features stories contributed by individual members of the Barrhead community. There are also contributions from local community groups including the Dunterlie Dancing Feet, Burt Turner and the Sentimental Journey Cabaret Band, the Barrhead Players, the Sequence Dancing Class and the Arthurlie Social Club Bingo. One All is a true group effort.

Dates: 1st and 2nd April 2009

Transform Moray: Title to be announced
Directed by Graham McLaren
Created in partnership with Elgin High School, Moray Council and the Elgin community
Location: An unusual location in Elgin
Dates: Performances during week of 8th June

Transform Orkney: Mixter Maxter
Directed by Davey Anderson and Liam Hurley
Created in partnership with Kirkwall Grammar School, St Magnus Festival and the Kirkwall community
Location: An unusual location in Kirkwall
Dates: 19th, 20th and 21st June 2009

Transform Caithness: Hunter
Directed by John Tiffany
Associate Director/ Choreographer for Frantic Assembly: Steven Hoggett
Created in partnership with Thurso High School, the Highland Council and the Thurso community
Part financed by Highland Leader, Highland 2007 Legacy Fund and Caithness Wards Discretionary Funds.
In association with Frantic Assembly
Location: An unusual location in Thurso
Dates: 24th, 25th and 26th June 2009

Transform Aberdeen
Created in partnership with Dyce Academy and Aberdeen City Council
Dates: December 2009

Transform Glasgow
Created in partnership with Greater Easterhouse Arts Company
Dates: December 2009

Exchange 2009

A National Theatre of Scotland Learn Project in partnership with Macrobert

Exchange is an annual celebration of youth theatre which brings together youth theatre groups with professional theatre artists from across Scotland to create and perform new pieces of theatre.

Performances: 7th to 11th July at 7.30pm and 9pm at Macrobert, Stirling

Groups participating in Exchange 2009 include:

1. East Ayrshire Youth Theatre (EAYT) is a dynamic partnership between East Ayrshire Council's Arts Team and Visible Fictions. The group enjoys exploring and creating high quality, visionary theatre which holds relevance for their peers. The creation of these pieces occurs in a fun and non-competitive environment. EAYT is proud to be returning to Exchange, for the fourth year running, to represent South West Scotland once again.

2. Byre Youth Theatre meets at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews every week during term time with classes for ages 3 to 18 years. BYT work in a variety of different styles and previous workshops have included acrobatics, dance, clown and stage make-up. Their yearly performances rotate between devising and text based productions. This is the second year running that they have participated in Exchange. Previous work has included Animal Farm. Their production for 2009 is Lysistrata.

3. Bo'ness Youth Theatre is a community based youth theatre group which has been meeting regularly for the last two years and this is the first time they have participated in Exchange. The group is made up of around twenty young people aged between fifteen and twenty-one and they meet weekly to participate in drama workshops to explore devising, writing, technical theatre and performance.

4. Vertigo Theatre has been in existence for six years. It is a group from East Kilbride, with 20 members aged between 13 and 25, who have performed at such occasions as the National Holocaust Remembrance events, as part of the Brouhaha International Street Festival in Liverpool 2008, and as part of Exchange 08. The group engages in peer education projects using drama as a tool and devises performances on a regular basis. They also produce showcase performances which give the group the opportunity to express their musical talents.

5. Macrobert Young Company is based at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling and, with participants aged 16 and above, has the oldest age range of Macrobert's many in-house youth groups. Based around projects and performance, the group explores different styles of theatre-making and are introduced to new writers, new styles of performance and professional practice. Previous productions include Vanishing Point's Lost Ones, Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good and Exchange 07. In February 2009, the group had the honour of staging the Scottish premiere of Jamila Gavin's Coram Boy.

6. Knightswood Youth Theatre is a group where young asylum seekers, refugees and local Glaswegians can devise and perform drama. Much of the work is about breaking down barriers and addressing prejudice, usually done through the use of comedy. In the past year the group has received two Awards - the Young Scottish Ethnic Minority Award and a Philip Lawrence Award. For the latter, the group travelled to London where Mrs Frances Lawrence and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, gave the presentation for services to the group's community. Knightswood Youth Theatre offers members a mix of theatre visits, retreats and weekly workshops and everything is free.

7. Lochaber Youth Theatre was founded around 10 years ago. Based in Fort William, it has a core membership of twelve 15 to 18 year olds, drawn from all over Lochaber. Members enjoy the challenges of devised work, especially in other languages. They also enjoy work in partnership with both adults and younger people. Recent shows have included Revolution and Lament: The Massacre of Glencoe. They are currently working on Testament: The Life of Christ - and of course, on their twinning with Knightswood Youth Theatre for their second appearance at Exchange.

8. Founded in 1978, Kopergietery is a dynamic house for the performing arts for and by children. Situated in the centre of Ghent, Belgium, Kopergietery leads activities directed largely towards young audiences. Each season, 150 young people between the ages of 7 and 20 participate in their theatre workshops. Kopergietery regularly produces new plays for various age groups and tours with its creations throughout Flanders and the Netherlands as well as to Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and Canada. In 2008, the Company received great acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for its performance of Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen.

9. Tin Can is a performance and visual arts company based in South Calcutta, India, which aims to present an honest picture of what young people in India feel about their everyday situations. Since its inception in 2006, over sixty students and young professionals have become part of the Company. Past theatre productions include: Intro in 2006, Video (awarded Best Director and Best Production Design at Thespo X, India's premier Youth Theatre Festival in Mumbai) and Onko, performed at the prestigious Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival in Calcuttta in 2008.

National Theatre of Scotland Associates

The National Theatre of Scotland's Associates' programme is a new strand of the Learn Department's activity. Three theatre practitioners are chosen annually who are looking for a change in direction and to engage in ways of working which they might not have considered before. The Associates' affiliation with the National Theatre of Scotland lasts for nine months and has three distinct strands. An exchange of skills and ideas will occur, first of all, as each of the three Associates carry out an assistant director's role with one of the community-focused Transform projects around the country.

The Associates also affiliate themselves with a major National Theatre of Scotland production by preparing a public workshop and resources programme to accompany it. In return, they are given development time with the New Work department which allows them to bring in other artists to help explore their own projects.

Current Associates:

Brian Ferguson, 28, from Glasgow, is an established artist who joined the Associates' programme to look at theatre from a different angle. Brian trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and established a career as a stage actor in a range of challenging roles, particularly with site-specific specialists Poorboy in Bridgebuilders and Falling (with National Theatre of Scotland Workshop) and as the role of Cammy in Black Watch.

Gary McNair, 23, from Erskine but now based in Glasgow, also studied at the RSAMD and has performed his one-man show Outside of a Pod at Battersea Arts Centre and the National Review of Live Art, as well as a new solo piece entitled Equal and Opposite at Arches Live!

Molly Taylor, 27, from Liverpool and now based in Glasgow, has worked predominantly in theatre education since graduating in Theatre Studies from University of Glasgow. She has also performed in shows like the Fringe First-winning The Caravan at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008.

LEARN INTERNATIONAL
The National Theatre of Scotland's Learn team has an interest in sharing experiences with young people and practitioners from around the world.

Walls: Earlier this year, Catrin Evans (previously an Emerging Artist with the National Theatre of Scotland) led a team of artists from the National Theatre of Scotland and an international group of artists known as The Babylon Troupe in creating the production of Walls. The artists were based in Alexandria, Egypt for three weeks to explore the impact of the walls we construct and how they affect our freedoms. The project was led by three National Theatre of Scotland artists: Catrin Evans - Director; Jennifer Edgar - Movement Director and Dave Martin - Sound. Participants/performers were non-professionals artists from Jordan, France, Slovakia, Turkey and the West Bank.

Walls took place as part of The Creative Forum for Independent Theatre Groups (Europe- Mediterranean), an initiative led by I-act and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Walls was performed on 10th February 2009 to close the Forum.

Exchange 09 in partnership with Macrobert, Stirling: The National Theatre of Scotland's Exchange programme has always asked what it means to be young, Scottish and international. This year, two international groups will be participating in Exchange: Kopergietery from Ghent, Belgium and Tin Can from Calcutta, India.

Diaspora 09 in partnership with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Tramway: Diaspora is a project that reaches out to international theatre practitioners of great repute and brings them to Scotland to share, discuss and demonstrate their practice in collaboration with Scottish artists. The explorations are supported through a programme of master-classes, workshops, sharings and talks. The practitioners work with students from RSAMD and professionals from the theatre sector. The resultant programme is then shared with an industry audience.

Artists involved with Diaspora 09 include Alexander Devriendt (Ontroerend Goed, Belgium), Lee Breuer (Micocci Productions, New York City) and Pascal Lecoq (Le Coq School, France).

Diaspora 2009 is due to take place at Tramway from 23rd November to 6th December.


LEARN RESOURCES

BLACK WATCH RESOURCE PACK

A Black Watch resource pack featuring three DVDS, a script of the play and 22 inserts with behind the scenes information about the making of the production and ideas for linking the production to the curriculum, will be made available to every school in Scotland this year.

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted that John Williams Productions has contributed to this Resource Pack. JWP has supported the provision to schools of the DVD of the BBC Scotland recording of Black Watch and its associated documentary, the Scottish Bafta-winning "Black Watch: A Soldier's Story."

Created by the National Theatre of Scotland, the pack includes:

A full DVD version of the BBC filmed production filmed at the Highland Football Academy, Dingwall in 2007 and broadcast by BBC Scotland that year.

Black Watch: A Soldier's Story DVD. BBC Scotland's Scottish BAFTA award-winning documentary broadcast in 2007.

A DVD of extras with exclusive behind the scenes footage, interviews, trailers, extracts, photographs, vox pops and online press and publicity features.

Information Sheets: Introduction by the creative team, information about creating the script, creating the costumes, creating the music and movement, scene by scene outline, information about the tour, press reactions, awards, reactions from soldiers and sheets on verbatim theatre and linking Black Watch to the curriculum.


PRODUCTION SUPPORT
The National Theatre of Scotland's Learn Team provides a range of educational packages and workshops aimed at schools and community groups. The upcoming tour of Mary Queens of Scots got her Head Chopped Off and Our Teacher's a Troll is supported by a range of initiatives.

The production of Mary Queen of Scots got Her Head Chopped Off is accompanied by practical theatre workshops for S3 and S4 school pupils and workshops aimed at local community groups. Within schools the workshops will explore key themes identified in Liz Lochhead's play including politics, leadership, gender and religion.

The local community workshops are aimed at drama groups, youth theatre groups, historians and writer's groups and will analyse the use of language and song within the text and examine the historical background in which the play is set. The characters of Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth will be used to gain an understanding of the relationship between Scotland and England.

Our Teacher's a Troll is also supported by a range of workshops. School pupils from P5 to P7 will be introduced to the concept of storytelling through drama and be prepared for what, for many, will be their first theatre visit. Anticipation of the show will be further developed through a range of community family focused workshops, for parents and children.

SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS OF TRANSFORM
Heather McDonald, Group Sponsorship's Manager, ScottishPower, said:
"ScottishPower through its learning company, ScottishPower Learning, is delighted to be involved with Transform. Our community programmes are focused on helping young people make the transition from school or unemployment into work and we recognise that theatre is a wonderful tool for re-engaging young people, helping improve their motivation and developing skills that are important in the world of work."

Determined to Succeed is delighted to support Transform. Transform works by engaging, inspiring and empowering the whole community by creating memorable and innovative theatre which exposes the participants to all aspects of theatre-making and event management. Working with a team of enterprising, real-world, theatre professionals, participants demonstrate a can-do, will-do attitude, allowing them to further develop their skills for learning, life and work and deliver a successful performance.

SUPPORTERS OF THE BLACK WATCH RESOURCE PACK
John Williams Productions Ltd is a DVD production and distribution company based in the South Side of Glasgow. The Company's expertise is with products that are made in Scotland, such as Scotch & Wry, Rab C Nesbitt, The Edge of the Land, The Steamie, Just a Boys Game, Just Another Saturday, Still Game, Rebus and Taggart.

"John Williams Productions' aim is to make Scottish programmes available to Scotland and beyond; Black Watch is our recent release. We are delighted to be involved with possibly the most exciting thing to come out of Scotland in recent years, and to have a hand in ensuring as many people as possible experience this important piece of history." Gillian McKirdy, John Williams Productions, Glasgow.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND

The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.

Since its launch in February 2006, the National Theatre of Scotland has been involved in creating 74 productions in 101 different locations. With no building of its own, the Company takes theatre all over Scotland and beyond, working with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. It takes place in the great buildings of Scotland, but also in site-specific locations, airports and tower blocks, community halls and drill halls, ferries and forests. The company has performed to over 406,000 people, across three continents.

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