Women in Inverness are going to be offered the chance to increase their confidence through a new reading for pleasure project by Play Pieces in association with Glasgow Women’s Library next year.
The theatrically titled ‘Drama Queens’ is an armchair drama group without the limelight – informal play readings for women, with no performance at the end. Women are invited to come along and read but they are also welcome to come and listen.
Lindsay Dunbar, founder of Play Pieces, explained that the idea of bringing Drama Queens events to Inverness came about after researching the need to support female theatre makers in the Highlands.
“Early this year we looked into reasons we weren’t getting as many theatre proposals from women across the Highlands.” she said. “The feedback was overwhelming, indicating the need for more opportunities, a stronger network and increased confidence. Drama Queens is a great example of an event which can address all of those issues and I’m really grateful to Highland Council who are supporting these events.”
Teaming up with Glasgow Women’s Library, who have been running Drama Queens successfully for the last 4 years in Glasgow, means participants can access a wealth of scripts written by female playwrights over the course of the coming year.
“These will be really informal events combining short scene readings with longer, full-length script readings as confidence increases in reading aloud.” Lindsay went on to explain. “Everyone is welcome, they don’t need to be an experienced writer or performer, we aren’t expecting any acting but we do hope people will have fun with it.”
While the events will be taking place in Inverness throughout 2018, Lindsay confirmed her ambitions to reach as many women across the Highlands with a rather unusual approach.
“I’d be very interested to find out if there are women living in more rural areas who would like to take part in an online Drama Queens event. It would be amazing to have a reading with women from Lochaber, Skye, the Western Isles, Caithness and maybe event Orkney or Shetland. To hear a collection of rural voices reading from the same script could be really inspiring.”
Lindsay hopes this is just the start of support available for female theatre makers in the Highlands next year.
“We have another project which links to Drama Queens which we hope will happen later in the year. It’s important to us to see new theatre work being created by women in the Highlands so we want to do something that will support this. Drama Queens will be fantastic for creating a network of women passionate about theatre, then we need to see what they would like to create for the stage.”
Dates for Drama Queens will be announced in the New Year but if anyone is interested in a free place then they can get in touch with Play Pieces Arts on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Our new business plan was launched at our AGM. If you missed it, it's available online as well. The artwork is by the hugely talented DUFI-ART and we are delighted with images by Mattias Kremer Photography which really capture the quality of work we have supported and produced in the Highlands.
The Play Pieces Arts Ltd AGM will be held at 5pm on Friday 31 March 2017 at La Tortilla Asesina in Inverness.
Everyone is welcome to hear about our new development plans for the next 3 years as well as a reflection on 2015/16. It will be a chance to meet the new board members and a chance to talk about how we can work with you more throughout 2017 and 2018. Please RSVP here so we can send you the documents in advance of the AGM
The Play Pieces Arts AGM will be followed by a meeting of the Highlands and Islands Theatre Makers and we would encourage anyone passionate about theatre in the Highlands and Islands to attend both the AGM and Theatre Makers meeting. There will be food at the HITM meeting.
To book your place at that as well please follow this link: https://hitmmeeting3.eventbrite.co.uk/
We are delighted to have gained support from the Voluntary Action Fund to create 20 Event Experience Opportunities for young people in the Highlands which will include Event Management, Event Liaison and Technical strands.
Lovely message from Joyce McMillan is support of Play Pieces. This means the world to us. We all appreciate public funding is limited but Joyce summarises beautifully why the Lunchtime Season matters to us all. Thank you to everyone who has got in touch or shared our news on Social Media.
“It’s hard to imagine an arts project that is more obviously positive and productive, and that more completely fulfills the stated aims of Scotland’s arts funding bodies, than Play Pieces in Inverness. It provides opportunities for new theatre writing where none previously existed, it creates a new hub of theatre activity in the Highland region, it helps rebalance the historic focus of Scotland’s cultural activity and funding on the central belt, and it does all this while being fueled essentially by the commitment and hard work of those involved, and seeking very small amounts of public funding. I realise that Creative Scotland’s project funds are heavily oversubscribed, but Play Pieces seems like a real role
model in terms of what can be done with a great deal of talent and passion, and relatively little money, and I am amazed that it has once again had its application for funding rejected.”
HOPES for a trailblazing season of new theatre hang in the balance after Creative Scotland snubbed a funding bid for the Highlands, despite admitting it was a strong application.
Pioneering Inverness-based Play Pieces Arts now faces a £14,500 shortfall needed to stage its season of sell-out lunchtime drama performances.
Director Lindsay Brown said “We are saddened that Creative Scotland has decided not to support what we and others believe is one of the most innovative and successful initiatives in the Highlands. We understand that there are limited funds at their disposal and difficult decisions need to be made but they are denying support towards significant cultural opportunities for artists and audiences in rural areas.”
This outcome will surprise many who believe the Play Pieces initiative is a perfect example of just what the Highlands have to offer and contribute to the wider Scottish Arts scene. Play Pieces was even heralded by The Scotsman's Joyce McMillan as 'one of the strongest signs of a cultural shift'. The organisation has already been successful in securing funds from private sponsors and other sources, but the Creative Scotland support was vital to completing the funding package.
Creative Scotland also delayed the funding decision, which they haven't been able to explain, losing the organisation a valuable 2 week window of opportunity for the Play Pieces team to salvage the season which now hangs in serious doubt, denying many Highland theatre makers probably the single most important opportunity of their career.
The body controversially gave £15,000 to a single artist to stay in Glasgow for one year to see how that affects her work, yet apparently don’t see the benefits of supporting 6 theatre companies and artists to create work and tour, in the Highlands. Creative Scotland also appear very supportive to regional promoters who want to programme work created by Central-belt companies, but to date have shown very little support for emerging original Theatre produced in the Highlands. Even their Producers Hubs are based outwith the Highland area.
“We already attracted new partnerships who want to work with us next year but for another year to go by without a Lunchtime Theatre Season in the Highlands, there is the potential risk of losing audiences, as well as funders, advertisers, sponsors and strategic artistic partners which we have spent years developing. It’s creating a huge cultural and regional disadvantage.” Lindsay explained.
Thanks to support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, through funding from Creative Scotland, Play Pieces will have a lunchtime theatre event as part of Blas Festival. Hallaig by Robhanis Theatre Company from the Western Isles is the only production the organisation is able to confirm due to the shortfall in budget. Tickets for this event will go on sale 1 July and the Play Pieces team will try to find support for the rest of the Season to ensure that Highland audiences don’t miss out on new contemporary work by home-grown talent.
The long-awaited Scottish tour for smash-hit Edinburgh Fringe show Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand Up Comedian is coming to the Highlands thanks to quirky Theatre company Play Pieces.
Fresh from wowing audiences across the world with the Adelaide and L.A premieres of his show A Gambler's Guide To Dying, multi award-winning Scottish theatre maker Gary McNair returns to his roots with the first ever Scottish tour of Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-Up Comedian.
Play Piece's Artistic Director Lindsay Brown is delighted the show is coming to The Croft in Dingwall on Saturday 30 April for a couple of reasons.
" Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand Up Comedian was the first show out of many that I saw at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014 and it was the best. It's hilarious but really thought-provoking too. Having met Gary last year and talking to him about Play Pieces he has been so supportive and very much understands the significance of the work we are doing. Also, it's a chance for us to break out of Inverness and try our latest venue in Dingwall. So if you've missed the lunchtime season while we've been away this is a nice reminder of why it's so special." She explained.
The whip-smart, darkly comic monologue wowed audiences and critics in Edinburgh, picking up the prestigious Scottish Arts Club Award for Best Show at the Festival and now it tours across the country this Spring.
What would you do if everyone in the world hated you? Would you run? Would you fight? Or would you try to make them laugh? Donald Robertson has got no mates and he isn't funny. But with guidance from his new mentor Gary, he hopes that this is all about to change.
Writer/performer Gary McNair’s acclaimed one-man show weaves a classic coming-of-age story with a pinpoint deconstruction of the darker side of stand-up comedy.
“I'm delighted to be performing Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-Up Comedian again” says Gary. “It's such a fun show to perform. I love telling the jokes in it but I also love telling the story. I love that I get to talk to the audience in this show and that I really have to get them on board. And it's going to be especially great to be taking it around Scotland as I think that there is so much in it that home audiences will particularly enjoy”.
Directed by Gareth Nicholls (Blackbird, Citizens Theatre) Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-Up Comedian was originally developed and supported by the National Theatre of Scotland and The Arches, with support from the Esmee Fairbain Foundation. The 2016 Scottish tour is supported by Creative Scotland.
Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand Up Comedian is at The Croft, Caledonian Hotel, Dingwall, High St on Saturday 30 April. Tickets are £10 which includes a pie and a pint as ever. Tickets are available at www.playpieces.co.uk and with limited capacity the show is expected to sell out.
Now in it's fifth year, the Play Pieces Lunchtime Theatre season is building on the success of previous years. The numbers are impressive; 18 productions in the lunchtime season, helped create 5 new Theatre companies, 5 productions have gone on to tour, 3 productions went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, over 1000 people at the sell-out lunchtime seasons, supported for over 50 Theatre companies and artists to make theatre in the Highlands as well as taking regular part in Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival, 5 Minute Theatre and programming as part of 5 national Tours.
This year sees more numbers being added to the statistics with the range of venues expanding from 2 to 5. Inverness and Elgin were such sell-out successes that the lunchtime theatre format is now heading to Skye, Dingwall and Aviemore in 2016/17.
"There is a real appetite for the work we are producing and people really enjoy supporting artists in and from the Highlands to create new work." says Lindsay Brown, Artistic Director.
Currently the call is out for theatre makers based in or originally from the Highlands and Islands to submit work. They have until 21 March to proposal contemporary productions to the Play Pieces team. The selection panel this year also includes Robert Dawson Scott, arts critic for The Times for ten years and former arts editor of The Scotsman. Poacher turned gamekeeper, he has since become a playwright, debuting with "The Great Train Race" in A Play, A Pie and a Pint at Oran Mor in Sept 2013.
"We are delighted that Robert Dawson Scott is willing to cast his eye over the applications for the lunchtime season. We believe we have great work being produced up here so the more people in the central belt who agree, the better!" Lindsay explained.
Another first for the lunchtime season is the inclusion of a Gaelic theatre brief. Partnering up with the Blas Festival and funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, not only will this be the first ever Gaelic production in the Season's history but it will be the Season opener.
"We are really excited about teaming up with the Blas Festival which celebrates Highland Gaelic culture so vibrantly. We have been so keen for a Gaelic production which is contemporary and accessible to our audiences. We can't wait to see what ideas are out there." said Lindsay.
Theatre makers have until 21 March to submit ideas to Play Pieces for the lunchtime season. The full brief can be read online at www.playpieces.co.uk
Diathad de dhealbhan-cluiche - gabhaibh ur leòr!
Tha a’ chompanaidh Play Pieces a’ tòiseachadh air a’ chòigeamh bhliadhna de dhealbhan-cluiche aig tide-diathaid, le seusan ùr a’ togail air an t-soirbheachas a chunnacas gu ruige seo. Tha na figearan fhèin ag innse sgeulachd: 18 dealbhan-cluiche; taic chum cruthachadh 5 companaidhean-theatair ùra, 5 dealbhan-cluiche air a dhol air tursan; 3 dealbhan-cluiche air a dhol gu Fèis Dhùn Èideann, còrr is 1000 neach air thighinn chun nan dealbhan-cluiche, taic do chòrr is 50 companaidhean theatair is luchd-ealain is iad a’ cruthachadh theatar ùr cho math ri pàirt ga gabhail aig Fèis Ealain is Fhilm Slàinte Inntinn na h-Alba, ‘Five Minute Theatre’ agus prògramadh mar phàirt de chòig tursan nàiseanta.
Am bliadhna, thèid cur ris na figearan seo leis an àireamh de thaighean-cluiche a’ dol am meud bho dhà gu còig. Shoirbhich cho mòr leinn an Inbhir Nis is Eilginn is gu bheileas a-nise a’ dol air adhart chun an Eilein Sgitheanaich, Inbhir Pheofharain is na h-Aghaidh Mòire an 2016/17.
Thuirt Lindsay Brown, An Stiùriche Ealanach, “Tha iarrtas mòr ann airson nan dealbhan-cluiche is tha daoine gu mòr ’son taic a chumail ri luchd-theatair na Gàidhealtachd is iad a’ cruthachadh dhealbhan-cluiche ùra.’
Thathas an-dràsta a’ sireadh dhealbhan-cluiche bho dhaoine às, no a’ fuireach air, a’ Ghàidhealtachd is na h-Eileanan. Tha suas ri 21 Màrt aca ’son dealbhan-cluiche ùra a chur air adhart chun na sgioba Play Pieces. Air a’ phannal-mheasaidh am bliadhna tha Robert Dawson Scott, beachdaire ealain aig The Times fad deich bliadhna agus a b’ àbhaist a bhith na dheasaiche ealain aig The Scotsman. Tha Robert air a làmh a chuir ri sgrìobhadh dhealbhan-cluiche, leis a’ chiad dealbh-cluiche aige "The Great Train Race" a’ nochdadh mar phàirt de A Play, A Pie and a Pint aig Òran Mòr san t-Sultain 2013.
"Tha sinn air ar dòigh gu bheil Robert Dawson Scott deònach sùil a chur thairis air na h-iarrtasan am bliadhna. Tha sinne dhen bheachd gu bheil theatar na Gàidhealtachd an deagh staid is tha fàilte ga cur air luchd na Galldachd a thighinn suas ga fhaicinn!” thuirt Lindsay.
Ann am 2016, tha fàilte ga cur air dealbhan-cluiche ùra Gàidhlig. Ag obair an co-bhuinn ri Fèis Blas agus tro thaic bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig, chan e gur e seo a’ chiad dealbh-cluiche aig Play Pieces riamh ach gur e an dealbh-cluiche a bhios a’ fosgladh na sreatha am bliadhna.
"Tha e na fhìor adhbhar toileachais a dhol a dh’obair an co-bhuinn ri Fèis Blas, Fèis a tha a’ taisbeanadh cultar nan Gàidheal an dòigh a tha cho suigeartach. Bha sinn gu mòr airson dealbh-cluiche Gàidhlig a bhith againn a tha stèidhte san là an-diugh is fosgailte do luchd-èisteachd. Tha sinn a’ dèanamh fiughair mhòr ris na sgrioptaichean a thig a-steach”
Tha suas gu 21 Màrt ann airson dealbhan-cluiche a chur a-steach gu Play Pieces ‘son an t-seusain ùir. Gheibhear fiosrachadh slàn aig www.playpieces.co.uk.
We were delighted at the support for Play Pieces Arts at our AGM last month. Following the official AGM was a chance for everyone to talk about where they all were artistically and how we could be working together in 2016 to make the things we need to happen, happen! It was a hugely positive evening. And after we packed up, it started snowing too. A great night and lots of good things to look forward to in 2016 as a result.
Just keeping you up to date with what's going on in Play Pieces land...