Showing posts from 2016

Some Notes on Youth Theatre

I finished up teaching at the youth theatre I co-founded in Greenock this week. I've been doing classes there since 1998... every Saturday for almost twenty years.

My work with young people has taken me some interesting places and I've learned a massive amount from the scores of shows I've directed and written. I've made so many mistakes over the years as I tried to work out what on earth makes a youth theatre tick, but bit by bit I chiselled away, alongside my partner in crime Marianne Yeomans, and I think we've come up with a way of running youth theatres that works.

Before I forget it all, I thought I would be useful to write down what I think that is. I absolutely would not say that this is a system that those running youth theatres would all agree with, but they worked for me and for the hundreds of young folk that I have worked with over the years and I'm sure there are many people who would vehemently disagree with me, but here they are anyway.

YT Is Not …

Naughty Cat and the Cheesy Moon

It's been a busy few months (which has included making a new website - you can check it out here) as I've worked on a couple of fast-paced musicals. First up was Vinyl Idol - which I co-wrote with Debbie Hannan - and was performed at Glasgow's Oran Mor as part of Play Pie and a Pint. I had been involved in PPP productions before, in very small ways, so it was fun to co-write and direct this mad little piece about golden-age idols appearing out of a girl's closet and causing chaos!

Currently I have my show for children, 'Naughty Cat and the Cheesy Moon' on at Assembly Checkpoint as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. It has been getting great responses from the public and press alike. Here's a 5* review from The Herald. The show went through the same development scheme that my musical 'Towards the Moon' started on back in 2011. It's a great opportunity where the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Musical Theatre Masters students get to work on and perform…

Does Scottish Theatre's Future Lie In The Community?

The last couple of weeks I have made the hour long journey down the coast to the wee seaside town where I lived for almost 30 years. Largs has a population of around 11,000 people, it sits in it's own wee pocket of relative prosperity compared to the other Ayrshire towns that surround it. At the heart of the town is the large Nardinis ice-cream emporium, a beautifully art-deco bedecked cafe where you can indulge in all your ice-cream based fantasies. 
However, I wasn't heading down to eat ice-cream or visit family or even to conduct experiments on the pterodactyl-sized seagulls, but I was heading a little further along the road to the somewhat oddly-name Vikingar! centre. A building that hosts a gym, a swimming pool and (of course) an interactive Viking experience. Oh, and a theatre, and that's why I was there, to check out a couple of shows that the local community groups were bringing to the stage in quick succession of one another.
The first show I was attending was the…

What I'm Up To

It has been ages since I updated my blog. Mainly due to me being stupidly busy, which is always a good thing. Since my last blog I have made a whole host of shows, including 'Flora's Fairy Challenge' at the Citizens which received fantastic five ***** reviews in the Herald and The Stage! I was also extremely privileged to have won a New Playwrights Award from Playwrights Studio Scotland, this will give me a fantastic opportunity to really spread my creative wings and give me to the time and space to write something, hopefully, very good indeed!

I am now working on a number of exciting projects and am currently writing this blog from my new workshop space/office thingy, which will hopefully give me the time and space to get all the work done!

Projects I'm working on: I am delighted to be writing a new musical called 'Vinyl Idol' with Debbie Hannan for Play, Pie and a Pint at Oran Mor. We worked on this a few years ago as a wee side project but it has developed i…