Markus Stitz on Mind Walking…

‘The longer you stay here, the more you forget who you were, the more you become to know who you are.’

This quote was scribbled on a wall in a rather lonely mountain hut in New Zealand. A hut on a wall in a country. A country I lived in for only two years of my life, much shorter than the time I spent in Scotland and much less than I have spent in the place I was born in, Germany. But somehow it beautifully describes with a few words what happens to you once you decide to leave known waters and venture out into the world.

Writing down some thoughts in this blog was triggered by a show coming to macrobert this Friday 28 October. Mind Walking reflects the problems and opportunities connected with our own cultural identity that we experience living away from the place we were born in. It tells the story of an elderly relative growing old in a foreign country, now suffering from Alzheimers, who is trying to relive his early, hitherto unknown, life. But apart from the interesting subject matter it also contains aerial pieces, something I am really looking forward to see. You can find out yourself by reading this review first and find out more about the show on the macrobert website.

The deeper meaning behind the show got me to reflect on my own personal experience living abroad ever since I left university in 2006, first in New Zealand, then Scotland, again in New Zealand and finally again in Scotland from mid 2009. I was trying to reflect on the opportunities and problems that eventually come with your decision to leave friends and family behind to explore the world, but at this moment in time I simply haven’t got the time to write them all down, but just some instead.

Overall it has been a great experience, I would not radically change the decisions if I would have to make them again. It will be an experience to see the show tomorrow to explore how much of my own personal findings are reflected in there. In my case I have developed a whole new cultural identity for myself, containing bits from my time in Germany, but also heavily influenced by the last five years abroad. I have become to hate the term foreigner, as it puts you in a box with many others that might be totally different from yourself. I am still struggling to apply the term home to any of the countries, and I will possibly do that all my life. Any time I go back to visit people in Germany I get this strange feeling you get once you leave nice people behind, but I am also glad to head back to my ‘normal life’ in Scotland. Life abroad comes with many opportunities, but also sacrifices. Maybe this is as much as needs telling at this stage. Every time you see a ‘foreigner’ keep in mind that there is a unique history behind any person. The best way to find this out is asking questions. The longer you ask questions, the more you forget who you thought this person would be. And the more you become to know who you are.

Fri 28 Oct 7.30pm / Tickets (friends) £9.50 / £12 full / £9 conc / £7 U18 & students

More information and online booking here

Markus Stitz, macrobert marketing manager – check out Markus’ blog here.

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The Hunted – review from our Drama Artist

An eerie atmosphere descends into the theatre when the house lights go out and the only thing we see are dimly lit bulbs hanging from the stage. The bulbs illuminate a mysterious place: the forest, a place of intrigue, the unknown, a place filled with  suspense, desire and fear. And so begins the atmospheric and bold reworking of Red Riding Hood by the award winning and ambitious Visible Fictions.

“Once upon a time” the actors begin before quickly telling us that this is not ‘once upon a time’ like other fairy tales. This tale is of any time, of now. And it’s not simply about a girl who walks into a forest on her way to granny’s, but about us, you and me, and the choices we do or don’t take.

Meet the girl. She wants to be a hunter. So the hunter takes her on as his apprentice as they go in search of the infamous white wolf that lives in the forest. But her decision, having been led by her desires, has her begin a journey that sees her being the apprentice-hunter to becoming the hunted. It’s tense, pacey and, aptly, captivating.

The presence of the wolf is subtly played by each of the three performers, in turn prowling the back of the stage – a neat device evoking a real sense that the wolf is very near, too near even.

The play also cleverly uses a kaleidoscope. Look into and turn a kaleidoscope you’ll see the pieces fall to create different possible images. With The Hunted, the analogy is clear – the choices we make, even the most insignificant, create different possible worlds. It is with the kaleidoscope that the girl reveals an ending with an unsuspected twist. Closer to reality than you might first imagine…

The Hunted. I dare you to enter the forest…

Thu 13 & Fri 14 Oct 7.30pm
playhouse
Approx. 1 hr 10 min
Tickets (friends) £9.50 / £12 full / £9 conc / £7 U18 & students
Suitable for ages 11+

More information and online booking here

Refugee Week Scotland 2011 events

Refugee Week is a unique opportunity to discover and celebrate the contributions refugees bring to the UK. During the week of the 20th June, macrobert will be hosting a range of events to celebrate Refugee Week.

Our week of events will be titled We Are Ulysses, which is taken from a psychological condition called ‘Ulysses Syndrome’, an illness that inflicts some immigrants and refugees when they live separated from their loved ones in faraway lands. The name of the condition is, moreover, inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey and the epic journey that Ulysses endured before returning home after 10 years of war.

The We Are Ulysses name reflects the capacity for empathy that human beings are capable of when aware of other people’s sufferings. As part of this week we will be hosting the following events:

Lindsay Docherty will be showing her exhibition Highrise,  a collection of dramatic black and White prints documenting the lives of Glasgow’s high rise residents. Lindsay Docherty spent time within the flats getting to know the residents and capturing what they felt out living there. A documentary project that allows the viewer to look within these daunting buildings. Monday 20th – Friday 26 June, free admission

Our treehouse is making food from different parts of the country, Monday the children in treehouse got help from our Chef Nayana to make Sri Lankan Fish Cakes and on Friday Nayana will be showing the childrne in treehouse how to make food from Mexico. The children in treehouse will also be exploring the different cultures of Mexico through a variety of methods. Please call our boxoffice to book your children’s place on treehouse for Friday 24th June 01786 466666

Our playhouse will see a very special take to the stage plus a fab performance of I’m Ready by Fraser Morrison and Ignote Theatre will be bring their production of True Colours which explores teh different worls we live in and what happens when the collide. All take place between 1pm and 4pm Sunday 26th June. Tickets are free for all events and offered on a first come first served basis.

Our cafebar will be serving foods from different continents each day, we have Sri Lankan Tuna Fishcakes, Falafel, Smoked Mackarel and Chorizo Salad plus Quesadillas, Swedish Lamb Meatballs, Curries, Mousacca and much more… check out what is being served in our cafebar each day.

For all enquiries and to book your tickets please call our boxoffice on 01786 466666.

See you soon!

Long live the King….

The king of football comedy, Jonathan Watson, takes to the stage once more, this time in the outrageous award-winning comedy play, King of Scotland, writes Susan Welsh, Press and Journal.

When it comes to comedy, it’s all about timing – and the timing could not be better than right now for presenting a revival of the outrageous one-man show, King of Scotland. Written by Iain Heggie and starring Jonathan Watson, the much-loved actor from legendary Scottish shows including Only An Excuse, Naked Video and City Lights.. The play, which sees Jonathan present a funny and daring monologue, was first performed just after the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament, before going on to be named an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First winner. With the 2011 Scottish Elections in mind, Iain Heggie rewrote and revised part of the script to suit the changing political landscape.

The cutting-edge production, which on this occasion is also directed by Iain, features trouser-less bankers, talking dogs, flying taxis and a razor-sharp parody of the workings of Scottish politics. At its heart is Tommy McMillan, played by Jonathan, an established actor who trained at the RSAMD and has worked with numerous theatrical companies.

“The play is very loosely based on the short story, Diary of a Madman, written by Nikolai Gogol about a little office clerk and his descent into madness,” explained Jonathan.

“In this take on it, it focuses on a guy called Tommy McMillan who is one of the long-term unemployed – 28 consecutive years without working, and proud of it. “He’s roped into a government training scheme to get him back into work and through the implications of it, at work and in his home life, you see his descent into madness. “Along the way you meet many characters, mainly seen through the eyes of Tommy, but other characters do pop up too, portrayed through Tommy’s interpretation of them.”

After joining the government scheme, Tommy is portrayed as a shining example of how it works and he’s selected to be featured in the media. Taken on by The Department of Social Inclusion, the department gets more than they bargained for when they discover just how far up the ladder Tommy is expecting to go. Although Jonathan has excellent mimic skills which he puts to good use in shows like BBC Scotland’s Only An Excuse, which takes a satirical look at football and attracts more than a million viewers when broadcast at Hogmanay, he doesn’t use them in this play.

“Tommy doesn’t do impressions or speak in different voices, far from it,” said Jonathan. “I first trained as an actor and a lot of my work is as an actor, so I’ll be approaching this part from that angle.” But he will use another of his talents, excellent comic timing, to great effect. For many people, this skill of his first came to light in the cult television shows, Naked Video and City Lights.

“After this short tour, I’m taking the King of Scotland to the Edinburgh Festival where, in 1983, we did a show called Naked Radio,” said Jonathan. “It was through that show that Naked Video came about – it’s hard to believe that was 28 years ago.”

Nowadays, his time is split between the worlds of radio, theatre and television and film. “Although people may think of me from the Hogmanay show, that only takes up a few weeks of my time,” said Jonathan. “Earlier this year I did some political satire for Radio Scotland and I’ve just finished filming an episode of the BBC TV show New Tricks, which was great fun.” Being in constant demand means he’s never been out of work, so how hard is it, I wondered, to play someone who has dodged work all his life? “I’ve had to use my imagination, but it’s such a well-observed and well-written piece, which is a huge help,” said Jonathan.

King of Scotland will be at macrobert Wednesday 25 May 8.00pm

More info and online booking here.

Interview with ‘Otto’ from Spring Awakening…

What is your Equity name?

Daniel Buckley

Which character do you play?

Otto

 What interested you in being involved in Spring Awakening?

I saw the show a few times at the Lyric, and in the Novello and fell in love with it, then I had the opportunity to do the show whilst in training at Mountview, and fell in love with it even more. I knew sell a door were putting on a production so decided to send off my cv and headshot, auditioned and was offered the role before I left Drama School, so I was very lucky.

 How do you feel you relate to your character?

I will probably find a lot of things in the rehearsal room that I relate to in Otto but initially, I guess I can remember going through the stages of Puberty where I questioned a lot of things, which can be frustrating.

 What are you most excited about for the tour?

Honestly, just getting some experience, because it is my first professional job. I am looking forward to seeing lots of different venues and putting my training into practice with regards to adjusting to each space. Of course, I look forward to going to home turf in Scotland, it will be nice to perform in my first professional show somewhere close to home.

 Spring Awakening is based on the relatively old play version. How do you think new, younger audiences can relate to it?

I think it has stayed very true to the original with regards to the script and I think part of its beauty as a piece is how Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater have put these amazing contemporary pop/rock songs to a show set in 1891 Germany! People will definitely relate to it because it’s all about sexual exploration and deals with issues that are very public in today’s society. I think audiences who have not seen the show will be surprised at how relevant it is and how issues that may be easy to deal with now, were just kept from children back in the 19th Century and audiences will therefore, feel more compassion for all the characters in the piece.

Your touring to many cities’s in the UK that have never seen Spring Awakening the musical. Are you nervous?

Not at all! I cannot wait to get promoting this amazing piece of theatre around the UK. I think with any piece of theatre, it is likely to have fans and people who are not so keen but to anyone who has heard of this show and who has not seen it, I would recommend just come to one of the venues and see it – they probably won’t be disappointed. It has a lot of fans around the country who either saw it in London or love the sound track so I guess I am nervous for them to see the production, they are going to be the biggest critics because we are not the Original London Cast and it will look different and has a different creative team. So although the motions of the show will be the same, it will be a completely different show.

Are your friends and family excited to see the production?

Yes, its very exciting for them to see me in a professional show, without having to travel to somewhere in London. It is just easier for them. But they’d be excited to see it anywhere. I am so so thankful to have such a wonderful supportive family and friends.

Where did you grow up?

In a little town called Blairgowrie in Perthshire – North East Scotland.

Are you known by your stage name, or other?

I am known to friends and family as Dan.

Which schools did you attend in the area?

St Columba’s RC High School – Perth

What local amateur or professional performance companies did you work with? Tell us a bit about your experience?

I was involved in the Blairgowrie Players for a number of years doing Panto’s, working from chorus parts and then was offered a lot of Principle Roles, which were always great fun. I took part in 2 SCDA Festivals in the Birnam Institute. I was also a member of Zodiac Amateur Productions (ZAP) who performed shows in Dundee’s Whitehall Theatre, which were as close to professional as I got in my youth.

How did you get involved in the performing arts?

I can’t really remember, I remember playing a Market Stall holder at primary school in a production or in a class – and then from that moment I knew I wanted to be an actor! I think someone I knew performed in the Blairgowrie Players and got me involved.

Did you perform locally in any town halls or in any competitions or concerts?

The Blairgowrie Town Hall was the main haunt for my amateur days! I did the SCDA Festivals in Birnam. I never took part in any competitions and the only concerts I did were in High School, the annual Christmas Concerts!

Are you touring anywhere close to where you come from originally?

Edinburgh is close to home and Stirling is even closer so I cannot wait to be performing close to home!!

Have any of your family or friends gone out of their way to support you in your career endeavours to date?

Well my parents have gone out of their way financially to help me through Drama School – which I will never forget and cannot wait to be in a position to pay them back one day. They came down to London a few times in my final year to see me in each of my third year shows which was always nice.

Any advice for local aspiring performers who may be thinking of pursuing a career in the performing arts?

Go with your heart – I was told at school I was to stay for my final year and earn “real qualifications” because becoming an actor was not a “real career choice” but, as they didn’t have any acting classes there, I left to earn a qualification in Acting from Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy, and moved to London because I KNEW I wanted to pursue this career. I went to Drama School and I have ended up with a Degree. If you want to do it – audition for Drama School and learn from the best people in the most supportive atmosphere.  Be prepared for rejection, be prepared for the most turbulent career choice of all time. Well, so I hear. I’m only just out of the Training Bubble, and have stepped into another! It is true though. It is a very roller coaster industry!

Spring Awakening

macrobert is proud to welcome award-winning Sell a Door Theatre Company with the first ever UK tour of Spring Awakening, a rock musical adaptation of the controversial 1891 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind. A cult musical, it explores the confusion and desperation that ensue when the onrushing tide of hormones meets the ignorance of children raised by parents too embarrassed or prudish to discuss what those new urges signify. Spring Awakening has proved its popularity worldwide winning eight Tony Awards in 2007, including best musical, best book and score, four Drama Desk Awards and four Olivier Awards for it’s London production.

Dates, times & info:

Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 May 8.00pm
approximately 2 hours 15 minutes (incl. interval)
suitable for ages 16+
mainhouse

More info and online booking here.

Hope to see you there 🙂

More details about our Scottish elections day…

As promised, more information on all the going-ons we have happening in and around macrobert on Thursday 5 May 2011 for the Scottish elections, along with all of the below we will be screening the latest news on our plasma TV’s, a live Twitter feed, our own news room and even a mock polling booth where you can display your macrobert ballot sheet with your answer to the question “If I were First Minister I would…”

Our filmhouse will be screening some amazing films through out the day:

The Ghost (15) 10.00am

Frost/Nixon (15) 1.30pm

Good Night, and Good Luck. (PG) 5.15pm

The Queen (12A) 8.15pm

In the loop (15) 11.00pm

All our feature length films in the filmhouse will be introduced with short films created by young people responding to the theme “If I were First Minister I would…”

Our mainhouse will be hosting two fabtastic performances:

macrobert Young Company
Bassett
The citizenship class at Wootton Bassett School and the supply teacher have gone a bit nuts, doing a runner and locking the pupils in. That’s bad enough, but tensions are higher today than normal; a day when only yards from their confinement a repatriation of fallen British soldiers is happening along the high street – as it has over a hundred times before through this quiet Wiltshire town. But this one is more personal than most.

Thu 5 May 10.00pm (free but ticketed event) Call us on 01786 466666

&

ThickSkin
Blackout
‘emotionally stunning…’ (Hairline)
ThickSkin brings this story to life with a mix of striking physicality and stunning video design and a five-strong cast of young Glaswegians. Have a look at the production shots on our flickr channel.

Thu 5 May 5pm & 9pm Fri 6 May 8pm
Tickets £12 / £9 conc / £6 U18’s and students
More info and online booking here

    

Not only do we have all of this happening but we will be having a flash mob around 10pm and YOU can get involved, just watch this trailer below, learn the moves and join us! Check out www.macrobert.org/elections to book for any of the above and follow us on Twitter for the latest news.



Scottish elections fun at macrobert

So, we know that politics can be hard to understand and at the least difficult to find fun but trust us, what we have lined up will help everyone explore the role polictics plays in our everyday lives and in a mucho fun way!

For starters we will have our own news room, the foyer will be bustling with performances by young people from macrobert’s youth groups, there will be a mock polling booth where you can display your macrobert ballot sheet with your answer to the question “If I were First Minister I would…” plus fab movies, a stunning performance of Blackout from ThickSkin and a live news feed…

Watch this space for even more information!

http://www.macrobert.org/elections

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