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I am delighted to announce that my new play, “The Empty Charcoal Box” will open the new season at Oran Mor on Monday August 28th.
“It all started with the empty Charcoal Box. But that’s not where it started for Eddie. For Eddie, it started with Sonja Kristina……”
“The Empty Charcoal Box” is the tragi-comic story of how a long-hidden event of extreme violence 45 years ago has haunted the lives of three Ayrshire Schoolboys ever since. A contemporary crisis mean that Billy, Eddie and Deansy are finally forced to confront that age old question which determines our path to wisdom: Should we look backwards to try undo our mistakes, or forwards and try not to repeat them?
The play will be directed by myself and will feature three of Scotland’s most talented actors, Ryan Fletcher, James McKenzie and Gavin Jon Wright.
The play will use sound, movement and live music to tell this darkly comic tale of guilt, retribution and rebirth. Amongst others it features the work of Curved Air, Pink Floyd, John Kongos, Sham 69 and The Ramones.
Ryan Fletcher has most recently been seen on the stage as Phil McCann in “Cuttin’ A Rug” at the Citizens and in “Milk” at The Traverse, and has appeared in “River City” , “Gary Tank Commander” and “The Limmy Show” on the small screen.
Gavin Jon Wright is just back from the US tour of “Titus” where he played the title role. He played “Spud” in Trainspotting at The Citizens, and features in the role of Hugh Kirk in the recent three part ITV Drama “In Plain Sight”.
James McKenzie was last seen onstage at the Oran Mor and The Traverse as John Wilkes Booth in “His Final Bow” . He also appeared in the NTS production “Rites” and will be familiar to “River City” fans for his role as Gary Trenton.
The play runs from August 28th till September 2nd.
Full programming and booking details here at Play, Pie & Pint
“The Beaches Of St Valery” which formed part of my PhD in English Literature from the University Of Glasgow premiere on Monday 6th of March. I am currently in negotiations to tour the play in the new year.
Here are a selection of the Four Star Reviews.
Mary Brennan In The Herald. Four Stars.
Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman. Four Stars.
Mumbles Theatre Blog . Four Stars
The Beaches of St Valery
The play follows the life of a young Scottish Soldier of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and the 51st Highland Division from 1938 to the end of the war in 1946.
We see our everyman soldier go from a carefree 18 year old roads engineer to a battle-hardened veteran of 26.
The photograph below shows the CO of the 51st Highland Division, Major General Victor Fortune surrendering to General Erwin Rommel at St Valery-en-Caux on the 12th of June, 1940. This event forms the central motif of the play.
I’ll be presenting one of the talks in the “Traverse Through Time” series in the Cairns Lecture Theatre at Summerhall, Edinburgh at 11 am on Friday 23rd of August.
Book tickets through the Traverse Through Time Website.
Other speakers in the series include the present Artistic Director, Orla O’Loughlin, Writer and Actor Steven Berkoff and playwright Peter Arnott.
I am indebted to my colleague at UWS, Graham Jeffery for the following news :
Marking a creative new chapter for arts in South Ayrshire, Ayr Gaiety Partnership has been awarded Capital Investment from Creative Scotland to redevelop Ayr’s Gaiety Theatre; transforming the historic South Ayrshire venue into a vibrant hub of theatre and arts activity for South Ayrshire, including a studio, education space, digital screen facilities and flexible spaces. (Development award £52,298; provisional Stage 2 award £1,176,277).
The Gaiety is one of sixteen projects for development announced by Creative Scotland on 25 September. The awards, for buildings and public art projects, will support organisations to develop ambitious new plans taking place across Scotland. Each project will now begin a detailed development stage and almost £15 million National Lottery funds has been set aside by Creative Scotland to support successful final plans.
Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland said:
“Great cultural facilities in every part of Scotland allow many more people to experience, enjoy and learn about a range of creative work. We are delighted to support Ayr Gaiety further develop its ambitious plans and we look forward to receiving full project plans that can invigorate the arts and creative industries across South Ayrshire. Involving local people in all aspects of activities, the hub will provide a platform for Community participation”.
Ian Welsh Chair of Ayr Gaiety Partnership said:
“AGP welcomes the announcement of development funding from Creative Scotland. We hope to secure the full award in due course and augment this with other sources of funding. This will then form the basis of Phase 4 of the Gaiety Capital Programme on a basis to be determined. Meanwhile we look forward to the reopening of the theatre in December with our inaugural pantomime, Cinderella”.
The development of the Gaiety will invigorate the arts and creative industries across South Ayrshire through wide ranging partnership working.
The Gaiety will provide a base for arts programming, education and participative activity, and a social hub for those interested in the arts and creative industries.
The hub will directly improve the quality of life and opportunities for local residents, involving local people in all aspects of activities as audience, participant and volunteer.
Practitioners and students will benefit from training and showcasing opportunities, and a year round programme of activity will contribute to economic regeneration and the visitor economy.
The Gaiety will be the premier performing arts venue in South West Scotland, presenting the best of mid and small scale Scottish touring.
An innovative learning theatre will be developed in partnership with the University of the
West of Scotland (UWS), alongside a creative platform to support both aspiring and established practitioners in the arts and creative industries.
To create a platform for aspiring and established professionals in the arts and creative industries
To be a vibrant community hub to support and stimulate participation in arts and creativity.
To showcase the best creative work from professional, amateur and educational practitioners.
To help form close working relationships with Scotland’s small and mid scale producers and touring companies and selected international companies.
To develop capacity to provide a programme of outreach work in partnership with local venues and festivals.
To seek out and develop new audiences for all artforms.
To work as a catalyst for innovation, including initiatives in youth theatre, community music and disability arts.
To provide a ‘thinking’ venue with a range of talks, seminars, summer school, and training opportunities.
To stimulate the local economy as a destination venue for residents and visitors, improving the fabric of the town centre and contributing to the tourism offer of the area.