Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Dramaturgy I Jump: Graham Eatough and Clare Duffy

  • The Reason I Jump - an outdoor site-specific performance event at The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow from 11 to 23 June 2018, conceived and directed by Graham Eatough, based on Naoki Higashida’s bestselling book, translated by David Mitchell and Keiko Yoshida
  • A new partnership with the National Autistic Society who will provide training, guidance and support across the National Theatre of Scotland’s 2018 programme.
  • A new, free augmented reality experience for visitors to the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow in June 2018, celebrating neurodiversity through storytelling
 The National Theatre of Scotland presents
The Reason I Jump
based on the book by Naoki Higashida, translated by David Mitchell and Keiko Yoshida
Production conceived and directed by Graham Eatough, designed by Observatorium, dramaturgy by Clare Duffy, choreography by Zoe Halliday.

Full cast is Fletcher Mathers, Michael DawsonCalum MacRitchie, Emma McCaffrey and Nicola Tuxworth with four young performers from schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh and East Renfrewshire – Abercorn, St Crispins and Isobel Mair.

At The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow from 11 to 23 June 2018
Opening performance on 12 June 2018 at 7pm.
Part of the West End Festival

Leading Scottish artist and theatre-maker Graham Eatough directs and adapts The Reason I Jump, a new project exploring the realities and experience of living with autism. Inspired by the bestselling Naoki Higashida book of the same name, translated into English by Keiko Yoshida and Cloud Atlas-author David Mitchell in 2013, the piece takes the form of a unique site-specific installation in the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow in the summer of 2018.

Access info:  all performances are open to all ages, and will be autism-friendly.
BSL performances on 15 and 23 June.
Audio described performance on 16 June.


Local ticket offer
All those living in postcodes G20 8, G20 9, G20 6, G20 7 are entitled to £5 tickets to Reason I Jump (normal price £8). These can be booked using the code G20.  Proof of address will need to be brought when collecting tickets from the box office. 

https://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/production/the-reason-i-jump/

The Reason I Jump is supported by The RS Macdonald Charitable Trust and The Mickel Fund. A percentage of the ticket price for The Reason I Jump will go towards The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow.




What was the inspiration for this project?

I knew about the book through my own involvement with autism in my family. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to use some of the techniques I’d developed in other projects - working outside, collaborating with public artists, thinking about the different ways in which you can tell a story - to explore the topic of audience and try to communicate some of its fascinating ideas. 

There’s a lot of interest in autism but also quite a lot of misunderstandings, so this project provides an opportunity to hear directly from autistic people about what life is like for them. The show involves performers with autism who I’ve been working with for over two years now. They have been one of the biggest inspirations for the project. The show gives the audience a chance to meet them and hear about their experiences and attitudes as well as those from the book.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

We wanted to make a show that removes some of the barriers to going to the theatre that some autistic people experience. Although that feeling of being trapped in your seat in the theatre where everyone has to be quiet and things feel very much outside of your control isn’t unique to autistic audiences of course. So this show invites you to visit a beautiful outdoor space - North Kelvin Meadows and Children’s Wood in the West End of Glasgow - and to go on your own journey around this place. 

The show takes the form of a giant outdoor maze designed by Dutch artists Observatorium. As you travel through the maze you encounter the different performers until you arrive in a special central area where you’re invited to walk a labyrinth that we’ve permanently installed there. Hopefully it all adds up to a fascinating and moving experience in which you can find out a bit more about autism and maybe some things about yourself too.

How did you become interested in making performance?

It was all a very long time ago.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

See above

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

The show draws on large scale outdoor projects I’ve made such as Nomanslanding which was originally designed to float on Sydney Harbour. The audience were invited to go on a journey across the water and into this structure where they encountered a performance. I made this show with four other artists, one of whom - Andre Dekker, I’m working with again on The Reason I Jump.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I think they’ll have a unique experience in a beautiful place, meet some really interesting people, find out a bit more about autism from individual's first hand experiences, gain an insight into the world of the original book and it’s author, and hopefully stay dry.

Clare Duffy

What was the inspiration for this project?

The Reason I Jump was written by Naoki Higashida a 14 year old, autistic Japanese boy who is diagnosed as ‘non-verbal’. It’s a really inspiring book in many different ways. I found it inspiring for what it had to say about communication: not being able to say what you want to say, the assumption that what you say is what you mean, the frustration it’s possible to have when communication is difficult or even impossible. 

He’s also really inspiring about what our (humanity’s) relationship is and could be with the natural world.

What does your role as dramaturge entail in this production?

Primarily I suppose I am the one in the team that most looks after and thinks about the words performers say and what they mean and when they are performed. I thought alot about how the book was structured, how Naoki answers 58 questions and that he also tells short stories. He deals with some huge themes and doesn’t create a linear narrative, so it’s a book that evokes lots of thought and feeling rather than stories. 

However I also found a shape to the book which I think is about exploring being inside and outside of different structures. Sometimes Naoki is talking specifically about himself and sometimes he is talking about how he perceives autism and the world. So it was really important to explore the difference between the book as a personal testament and questions about what autism is. 

Graham and I interviewed all the performers so they speak with their own words as well as Naoki’s. I thought about how to show connections and intersections between their lives and Naokis as well as the differences.

When I joined the project Graham Etough was interested in how mazes and labyrinths and the ways they are different might offer a way to focus the book becoming an environment. 

The whole company worked together thinking about how the book might become a time and place for the audience to explore. Graham and I talked a lot with Andre Decker (artist/architect) about how to create ‘Naoki’s Garden’ as a physical dramatic representation of the book and perhaps of Naoki himself.


Do you feel that performance is still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Yes I do. Of course. Well… I think it's a great way to create space for a public contextualising of ideas. I suppose performance can create time and space for an audience to think about something before they discuss it, to absorb some ideas or information perhaps as an intervention before we make up our minds about something. Sometimes performance can be really good at putting a bit of a break on the discussion and give time to think creatively about something. Performance can really productively focus on a specific context within a bigger idea too. 

Probably in the context of The Reason I Jump lots of people will have very different ideas that they want to discuss in relation to it. I suppose that’s what we’re hoping to create, a space and plenty of time to think about what your questions might be and who they are for.


How did you become interested in making performance?

I was interested in making performance from early early years…don’t know why or how really. Probably because theatre and performance is a bit magical and mysterious I suppose. But that pretty vague interest was consolidated when I was a teenager and having a tough time at school and I joined a young people’s theatre group, which did devising theatre and took political theatre into schools and that was my foundation inspiration I think.

Is there any particular approach to the making of this production? 

I think it’s been quite intuitive and everyone has been involved in the development from concept to script step by step. Graham has led a real company approach, which really tries to listen to everyone all the time. A lot of trust in everyone.


Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Yes in lots and lots of ways, I think I’m usually interested in making work that is fun, playful, assessable and that wants to engage with something big and serious (that is important to everyone) … the shows often look and feel pretty different and I probably like just about every style of theatre and performance … 

I’ve got a quite intense traditional 2 hander on in Traverse 1 this autumn which I’m hugely excited about, I’m making a ‘digital magic’ app about cyber security for teenagers and writing a performance with songs and dancing with my company Unlimited Theatre and Rash Dash at the moment. 

So it does fit and also I’ve never been involved in making anything quite like this before and I can wait to see how The Children’s woods are going to be totally transformed. It was great being there when the labyrinth was built a few weeks ago.

What do you hope that the audience will experience? 

I feel that if I answer that I might spoil it for people in a way… I hope that they will have fun exploring and ultimately enjoy just being where they find themselves.


Naoki is a non-verbal, autistic, Japanese boy, who was just thirteen years old when he wrote the book The Reason I Jump, a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrated how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds. Now audiences will be invited to take a unique journey into his world and meet the magical gardeners of his outdoor maze.

In this innovative adaptation, the book becomes an experience, a mysterious journey through a beautiful outdoor maze designed by renowned Dutch collective Observatorium, which will take over the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow in Glasgow’s West End. There, audiences will encounter the stories and insights of Naoki’s gardeners and become immersed in his playful world.
This adaptation will be a unique blend of site-specific promenade performance and interactive installation, created with, and performed by, a group of artists with autism ranging from 16 to 60 years old. During performances the piece will see audiences free to explore the outdoor maze, in which they will find storytellers and performances drawn from experiences in the book as well as the personal experiences of the performers themselves. At the centre of the maze is a stone labyrinth, constructed by members of the local community using reclaimed cobblestone from nearby Maryhill. Once the performance is complete, the labyrinth will remain in the meadow as a legacy for residents and visitors.

The Reason I Jump has its roots in a Scottish government initiative called Limitless, a collaboration between The National Theatre of Scotland, RCS, and the National Autistic Society Scotland which explored the potential of creative arts in engaging and encouraging work by and for autistic children, teenagers, and young adults.

A NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY SCOTLAND
The National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with the National Autistic Society Scotland has been a pioneer in the field of offering audiences with autism access to high quality theatre productions in Scotland. The first autism friendly performance in Scotland was A Christmas Carol in Kirkcaldy in December 2012.
In 2018, the National Theatre of Scotland and the National Autistic Society Scotland will work together to deliver a series of autism-friendly performances across the Company’s programme and additional support for performances created specifically for neuro-diverse audiences. These include the National Theatre of Scotland’s first autism-friendly production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe of My Left Right Foot: The Musical, with Birds of Paradise, and an autism friendly performance of Eddie and the Slumber Sisters, in partnership with Catherine Wheels at the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival.  Full details on all autism friendly performances, to be announced.
The overall aims of the partnership, for the National Theatre of Scotland, are to increase audiences to educate and train artists and artistic partners in the needs of this community/individuals and to explore the potential for opening up more National Theatre of Scotland performances to neuro diverse audiences.


Fiona McGrevey from the National Autistic Society Scotland said: “We are delighted to be strengthening our relationship with the National Theatre of Scotland through this new partnership this year.
We warmly welcome this exciting production of The Reason I Jump to Glasgow in June and we look forward to seeing the autistic artists in action. We look forward to providing training and support to the National Theatre of Scotland company to help raise further awareness of autism. We will also help them identify any adaptations that may be required for this production as well as other accessible performances throughout 2018.

Around 53,000 people in Scotland are on the autism spectrum. Together with their families they make up around 232,000 people whose lives are touched by autism every single day. I hope other organisations throughout Scotland will be inspired by the National Theatre of Scotland to learn more about becoming more autism friendly.”

Jackie Wylie – Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland said
“Identifying and nurturing diverse talent and reaching new audiences is at the heart of the National Theatre of Scotland and continues our commitment to opening up the Company to new ways of working. In 2018 we are delighted to be entering into a partnership with the National Autistic Society Scotland in order to celebrate the work of autistic artists, and to ensure that neuro-diverse audiences are accommodated and welcomed at our performances.”

A NEW FREE AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCE FOR VISITORS TO THE NORTH KELVIN MEADOW AND CHILDREN’S WOOD
In support of the evening performances, visitors to the space during the day will be able to enjoy aspects of the Reason I Jump production through a specially developed augmented reality experience. Available for free for Android devices and downloadable from the Google Play store, audiences can walk the maze in search of labyrinthine marker-points. Once located – and viewed through the app – the marker points begin to transform the surrounding space, filling it with the sights and sounds of the evening performances. In late June the site will continue to fill with marker points and an update to the app will be released. Users will experience music, stories and creative expressions gathered through a series of workshops with young people on the autistic spectrum, celebrating neurodiversity through storytelling. 

Schools involved in this project to date include High Park PS and Abercorn School.
The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow is a much loved community greenspace in Glasgow’s West End, which is regularly accessed by the local community, specific groups, and 22 neighbouring schools and nurseries. Regular events are organised by The Children’s Wood community, designed to connect children to nature, raise aspirations and bring people together.
Emily Cutts on behalf of the Children’s Wood
"We are delighted to be the venue for this innovative production and hope it will raise the awareness of what it can be like living with autism.   

We also hope The Reason I Jump will highlight the benefit of being outdoors in nature for children and adults with autism. Restrictions are being placed on access to nature for children and young people with autism, and as a consequence they are suffering.  Having more places locally to connect with nature is important. 

The Children's Wood and North Kelvin Meadow is a magical place for people with autism because being in nature can reduce anxiety and encourage communication and social interactions."
Listings and booking Info
The Reason I Jump
The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow
Dates: 11 to 23 June 2018
Tickets: £4 - £8Tickets can be booked at nationaltheatrescotland.com

Dramaturgy Night Oot: Paul Harper Swan on tour

Girls Night OOT
Join the girls on a hen night that you won’t forget with a smash hit retro soundtrack…..songs from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s 90’s and now!

To prepare for a marriage all a girls needs is her friends and a guid old hen night!

Banterous, Bolshy and Bootyliciously good fun!

Songs include Hot Stuff, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, I’m Every Woman…and many more!

Starring Donna Hazelton (Chicago), Natalie Tulloch (The Steamie), Lauren Ellis-Steele (Wicked), Alison Rona Cleland (Legally Blonde).

Written and directed by Paul Harper-Swan

Musical directed by Alison Rona Cleland



What was the inspiration for this performance? 

WE WERE STARTING TO PRODUCE A LOT OF WONDERFUL SHOWS, ESPECIALLY MUSICAL THEATRE IN SCOTLAND.  CREDITS INCLUDE ELEGIES FOR ANGELS, PUNKS AND RAGING QUEENS, COMPANY AND LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  WE WERE GETTING TO A POINT WE WANTED TO DO SOME NEW AND ESPECIALLY COMMERCIAL MUSICAL THEATRE IN SCOTLAND AND SAW A MARKET.  

WE STARTED WITH A PILOT AT THE TRON THEATRE WITH I WILL SURVIVE, WHICH GREW INTO A THREE YEAR  SUCCESSFUL TOUR ACROSS SCOTLAND.  WE NEEDED A SEQUEL, SO AUDIENCES WOULDN'T GET BORED, SO GIRLS' NIGHT OOT! WAS BORN. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY IT HAS BEEN.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

ABSOLUTELY! OUR SHOW IS VERY COMMERCIAL AND IT HAS A HEART.  IT IS ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS, LOYALTY AND ABOUT LIVING IN THE MOMENT AND NOT TAKING LIFE SO SERIOUSLY. SOMETHING WE CAN ALL RELATE TO.

How did you become interested in making performance? 

I STARTED OFF AS AN ACTOR FOR MANY YEARS AND LOVE THE INDUSTRY.  I WANTED TO CREATE WORK FOR ACTORS AND MAKE NEW THEATRE.  AT INSIDEOUT WE LOVE CREATING NEW IDEAS AND WORKING WITH INCREDIBLE LOCAL PROFESSIONAL TALENT.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show? 

WITH THIS PARTICULAR SHOW-IT IS ABOUT THE COMBINATION OF FOUR GREAT LEADING LADIES.  THEY ALL NEED TO HAVE THE CHEMISTRY THAT A REAL GROUP OF FRIENDS DO.  ALSO THE MUSIC IS IMPORTANT.  WE NEED TO DRAW THE AUDIENCE IN FROM THE OPENING NUMBER TO GET THEM INVOLVED AS THEY ARE MEANT TO COME ON THE JOURNEY OF THE GIRLS' NIGHT OOT!

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

YES. WE HAVE SEEN THAT AUDIENCES WANT TO LAUGH HAVE FUN AND LEAVE THE THEATRE FEELING LIFTED AND A LOT OF OUR SHOWS, INCLUDING THE PANTOMIMES SERVE THIS.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

IN HONESTY, LEAVING THE THEATRE SPACE SMILING, SINGING, UPLIFTED AND CALLING THEIR FRIENDS TO BOOK FOR ANOTHER SHOW AS THEY WANT THEM TO EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC THESE FOUR INCREDIBLE TALENTED LADIES DELIVER.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Queer Dramaturgy: Dean Cargill @ Nice'n'Sleazy


“Now we're coming out, out of our closets. Out on the streets.”
Make Up by Lou Reed, 1971

MUSIC
Soft Riot
Black Doves

DRAG
HP Loveshaft
CarrieAnn Crow

PERFORMANCE ART
Gayboys // Craig Manson & Conner Milliken

COMEDY
Ross Wylie

POETRY
Gray Crosbie

Hosted by Tom Harlow

£5 otd



What was the inspiration for this performance?

I launched Queer Theory over 2 years ago for a number of reasons. Firstly, I felt that there was demand for it. There aren't very many queer events (especially in Glasgow) where the focus isn't just on dancing. I was inspired by Edinburgh queer cabarets like Dive and Pollyanna. For me, these shows were an almost spiritual experience and I wanted to recreate that. Secondly, I have lots of very talented queer friends and I wanted to give a stage to them to perform regularly. I also wanted a space for my band Black Doves to perform every month. As an act we feel more at home next to performance art, drag and variety rather than just other bands. The name for the show was taken from our debut album 'An Introduction to Queer Theory' which was in turn taken from a book Jamie (Black Doves' lead singer) and I found in the library as teenagers still coming to terms with our sexuality.




Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Yes but it depends what you mean by discussion. I am interested in programming shows which make a definite statement and take a stand politically. I wouldn't give a stage to a right wing viewpoint for the aim of 'balance.' There are basic tenets of the show which aren't up for discussion, most importantly respect for all people across the LGBT+ spectrum. I'm also only interested in booking acts which are against the Tories, against the monarchy, against imperialism: in short, I'm interested in booking acts which are fighting oppression, entrenched power and the mainstream. That's what the show is all about. It is important to me that the acts that I book, even if not directly political, are experimental, subversive and challenging in some way.




How did you become interested in making performance?

I come from a music background. I have been recording and performing as part of Black Doves since I was a young teenager in Arbroath (a small town near Dundee). Music and performance was an outlet for Jamie and I from our boring and at times oppressive environment. After school, I moved to Ayr to study Commercial Music at UWS. Since then I have performed in numerous bands and I also became interested in promoting events. I co-organised nights such as Double Dunt (EDM club night) in Ayr, Night Owl (Northern Soul night) in Glasgow, An Evening with Frank (Rocky Horror inspired cabaret show) which had a night in both Ayr and Glasgow and was a bit of a precursor to Queer Theory.


Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Each month we usually theme the show around a certain element or inspirational figure
from queer culture. For instance, our show in May is dedicated to Lou Reed and the Warhol Superstars which inspired him. Our following show in June will be themed around the 'Pansy Craze' ie the male and female impersonators of the 30s. In the past we've used John Waters, Marc Almond, Leigh Bowery, Judith Butler, The L Word and countless others. Sometimes I mash different ideas into one. For instance we named one show 'The Queen is Dead' which was intended as an anti-monarchist statement while simultaneously being a reference to both Last Exit to Brooklyn and The Smiths. The poster for that one put The Queen's head onto the body of Edith Massey as Aunt Ida in Female Trouble.


Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Queer Theory is the only show that I produce. Otherwise, I work as a musician. Producing shows isn't really something that I'm interested in itself but Queer Theory is definitely a labour of love. It gives a stage and supports countless upcoming queer performers and it brings many beautiful people together every month.


What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I want the audience to have a great time and feel safe at the same time as feeling challenged. I want Queer Theory to be a community of like minded queer people who support each other. But at the same time, I want the acts to feel like they can do and say dangerous things. I want the audience to never be sure what to expect next and for the mood of the show to dramatically change from act to act.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Dramaturgy with Love: Suzanne Lofthus @ Cutting Edge Theatre

Special star takes centre stage on Scottish tour


“I’ve just got Down’s. It doesn’t make me stupid.”






A young woman who has Down’s Syndrome is the star of a hard-hitting new play which begins a Scotland-wide tour later on May 24th at MacRobert Art Centre, Stirling.

Abigail Brydon, 24, will take the leading role in Downs With Love, a new play by Scottish company Cutting Edge Theatre, which sensitively explores question of love and disability, and invites audiences to think about their own preconceptions.

Abi plays Beth, a young woman who lives a happy, independent life. Beth has her eye on Mark (Stephen Arthur) who sings in the local pub on Friday nights, but when Mark starts to fall for Beth’s support worker Tracy (Katie Milne), everything is set to get a lot more complicated.


 What was the inspiration for this performance?

I had the idea about 30 years ago when I met a group of young people who had Down's Syndrome but wasn't really in a position to do anything with the concept until I met Abi Brydon who has Down's and who was attending our INSPIRE group. 

INSPIRE uses drama to help people of different abilities to improve their confidence, self-esteem and vocal abilities where possible. We also aim to encourage participants to realise their dreams where possible. Abi's dream is to become an actor, so we began to build the play around her and some of her real life experiences. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Absolutely! Theatre enables an audience to see, hear and experience issues from other people's perspectives. The play doesn't give answers but raises questions. That's what I love about theatre and performance - being challenged and inspired. Cutting Edge Theatre is all about making a difference and we hope that this play makes a difference not just in Abi's life, but in the lives of the audience too. 


How did you become interested in making performance?

I've always been interested in storytelling from childhood. I was that child who cajoled [or forced!] my siblings and cousins to make up plays which we performed to long suffering parents! Sadly then I became a painfully shy teenager who only found my place when I  was dragged along to a youth theatre. I will never forget feeling "here is where I fit". That has stayed with me all through my life and is why I remain committed to community theatre - knowing the difference that theatre can make. 

From there, there were several journeys before I set up Cutting Edge Theatre in 1995 in Edinburgh with the express aim "to make a difference". We work a lot with people who are disadvantaged in some way both here and abroad. Often the process is as important as the end product. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

For this one, Katie Milne who is the lead tutor of INSPIRE and I worked with Abi to hear of her experiences and then we built the story through improvisation around those experiences, folding them into the play. We premiered the play in 2016 at the Fringe and have reworked it this time around, working with a movement director Tony Mills from Room 2 Manoeuvre to bring in a sense of isolation and of control. We have also brought in some original songs by composer James Siggens. 
Does the show fit with your usual productions?

No, surprisingly enough, even though we have been working in Scotland since 1995, this is our first theatre tour! We are used to working in community theatre and also site specific work. The last time we did a tour was taking Shakespeare productions round Scottish Castles. We are used to working with groups of people and over the past few years that has been working with prisoners, mentoring them to stage Passion Plays within the prisons. 

We have worked in Louisiana, Brazil and last year in Opera Prison, Milan. We are currently looking to develop a large scale community production in Edinburgh for 2020 as well as a number of other smaller projects in communities in Scotland. We are also working on developing our INSPIRE project to other cities and ultimately, to see a Performing Arts Academy set up in Scotland. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?


I hope they will question themselves about what do they actually think about disability, perhaps have their preconceptions changed a bit. I hope that they will feel for Beth and be challenged as well as inspired. 



Suzanne Lofthus, writer and director, said: “Downs With Love challenges us all to think about what we consider acceptable. Can we accept a couple, one of whom has Down’s and one does not, or would that make us feel uncomfortable?”

Suzanne worked with Abi, exploring her own feelings and her experiences of growing up with Down’s, to create the character of Beth. Abi has written a powerful monologue about her experiences which is used in the play.

Suzanne said: “Abi is in a very strong position throughout the play. She doesn’t leave the stage. We’re not aiding her in any way - we’re all equals on stage. She’s an actress is her own right doing what she does, and that makes the story even more powerful.”

Abi Brydon said: “Beth is a bit different from me. When I change my hairstyle, I know I’m playing Beth, not being myself. I like acting a lot - my dream is to be on Coronation Street!”

Abi is studying Acting and Performance at Fife College, and has appeared on stage in several local productions. She has been a member of the INSPIRE programme, created by Cutting Edge Theatre, offering drama to young adults with additional support needs.

Suzanne Lofthus said: “At the heart of Cutting Edge is helping people to realise their potential, whatever that is, enabling them to do things they never thought they could do. When I heard Abi say that her dream was to be an actress, I thought: ‘I can make that happen’. We’re delighted to be helping her to realise that dream.”

Downs With Love is on a ten-venue Scotland-wide tour, funded by a grant from the National Lottery People’s Project, after votes from the public made it one of this year’s top three projects.

The play is written and directed by Suzanne Lofthus; the movement director is Tony Mills, artistic director of dance company Room 2 Manoeuvre; lighting designer is Andrew Wilson. The play uses original music by James Siggens.




DOWNS WITH LOVE ON TOUR:

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling
Thursday 24 May, 7.30pm

East Kilbride Arts Centre
Friday 25 May, 7.30pm

Gerrard Street Church, Aberdeen
Saturday 26 May, 7.30pm
www.eventbrite.co.uk, 01224 624339

The Phoenix Centre, Newton Dee, Bieldside, Aberdeen
Sunday 27 May, 7.30pm
www.neatshows.org.uk, 01224 868701

Easdale Island Community Hall, Easdale
Saturday 2 June, 8pm

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Tuesday 5 June, 7.30pm

Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
Wednesday 6 June, 7.30pm
www.assemblyroxy.com, 0131 623 3001

Theatre Royal Dumfries
Thursday 7 June, 7.30pm

Platform, Easterhouse
Sunday 10 June, 3pm
www.platform-online.co.uk, 0141 276 9696 (option1)

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Tuesday 12th June, 7.30pm
www.eden-court.co.uk, 01463 234234



Suzanne Lofthus is Artistic Director for Cutting Edge Theatre in Edinburgh. The company works mainly with disadvantaged people, giving a voice to the voiceless and specialises in Community Theatre. Suzanne has worked in Scotland and overseas, mentoring and directing productions in prisons such as Opera Prison, Milan and Angola Prison in Louisiana. Suzanne directs the annual open air promenade Easter Play in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh and is working towards a large scale, multi-art form production over Easter weekend 2020.

The company's main focus, currently, is working with people of different abilities through our INSPIRE project which began in Fife five years ago. We are working towards establishing a Performing Arts Academy for this group in Scotland with satellite classes around the major cities. 

The People’s Project offers the public the chance to vote for projects in their area to receive National Lottery funding, with up to £3million available across the UK. It is a partnership of the Big Lottery Fund, ITV, STV and The National Lottery. For more information, see www.thepeoplesproject.org.uk