Friday, 18 July 2014


Okay, I am in. Let's see what the chief did this time. Release begins...

First Minister Alex Salmond MSP was given a theatrical take on first time voters’ attitudes to the independence referendum when he joined the teenage cast and crew at rehearsals for Scottish Youth Theatre’s (SYT) Fringe-bound show Now’s The Hour, today.

I hope this reflects a new enthusiasm in political life for theatre, especially for work made by and for young people. Let's face it, most politicians are going to struggle with Live Art, so here is a start.

Mr Salmond was given a special 15 minute preview of Now’s The Hour, a funny, insightful and politically neutral show, when he visited SYT’s national HQ in Glasgow. This was followed by a Question & Answer session with a group of young people including the actors.

Politically neutral? They made a politically neutral show about the referendum. That's not theatre, it is magic. Kieran Hurley told The Skinny last year (talking about Chalk Farm) that all theatre is political. I don't think he went far enough - everything is political. Political neutrality is very difficult. Even silence is a political choice, bub. Making a play about the referendum can't be neutral. 

During the visit to SYT, Mr Salmond also welcomed a group of 90 young actors from 10 countries across the Commonwealth who have created the Tin Forest International Performing Company (TFIPC) for the Glasgow 2014 cultural festival. From July 20th-23rd, TFIPC will perform stunning pop-up street theatre at iconic City landmarks telling the story of Glasgow’s industrial past and creative future.

Now’s The Hour, is created and performed by first time voters from right across Scotland, through letters they write to their future selves in 20 year time, expressing their hopes and fears for the country whether there is a Yes or No vote.

It might be balanced in construction but that doesn't make it neutral and look - all theatre is 'made' as much in the noggin of the audience member as on the stage. Do you think the leader of the SNP can watch anything without making it political?

This funny, satirical show uses sketches and monologues to explore Scotland’s history, amusing stereotypes and many contradictions, before turning the spotlight on key referendum issues such as currency, Trident, tuition fees and the economy. The young actors try to make sense of the claims and counterclaims of the referendum debate.
During the three week run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the show will change daily by responding to referendum issues that are in the news.

However, this would apply to all politicians... and all humans. I am pretty pleased that Big Eck took the time to visit them. And I am glad David Cameron didn't turn up (hey, I am a political neutral who regards the current ConDem Alliance as unbelievably shameless in foisting their agenda of disempowerment for the people on a nation that, just about, voted for them (because they were sick of New Labour (rather than out of any enthusiasm for them (except Clegg, who promptly betrayed his principles (and doomed the LDP to the electoral wilderness for another generation (That's your Clegacy, Nick))))).

Following his visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said:  “With a cast comprised entirely of teenagers, who will be voting for the first time in the referendum, this play represents the authentic voice of a cross section of young Scots who are actively engaging with politics. Rightly, they are exploring all of the different ideas, arguments and thoughts surrounding the debate before they make their decision on the 18th of September.

‪“Now’s the Hour is a funny, fast-moving, emotional roller-coaster of a show that uses sketches, monologues and music to explore young people’s attitudes to the referendum.  I saw only an excerpt today, but what I did see was fantastic and I wish the entire cast success over the summer.

‪“During my visit I was also delighted to welcome the 90 performers from 10 Commonwealth countries who are taking part in the Tin Forest Production which will create fantastic street theatre in Glasgow during the Games. I am in no doubt that they will add a sense of spectacle, glamour and wow the crowds who come to Glasgow during the games.”
Mary McCluskey Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre   added: “Now’s The Hour is the only play at this year’s Fringe which represents the authentic voice of a cross section of young Scots as they try to make sense of the claims and counter claims surrounding the referendum debate. Uniquely, it does this without taking a political position or telling the audience how to vote.”

“Taking Now’s The Hour to the Fringe, and bringing international street performance to Glasgow, through the Tin Forest International Performing Company, is recognition that Scottish Youth Theatre can create innovative, world class theatre which gives our most talented young people the opportunity to develop their skills and perform to a national and international audience.”

Now’s The Hour, cast member Craig Edmond (16) from Hamilton, said: “Now's The Hour is important to the young people of Scotland because it gets across the many different arguments from both sides of the debate in a way that is balanced, relatable, humorous and easy to understand. The play never dictates to the audience or says "Vote this way””.

Imogen Craven (19), from Newport, Fife, who will also perform at the Fringe, added: “Now’s The Hour is an amazing way to learn about the debate and inspire other people to get engaged with the debate. It's important to young people as it provides them with a way into the debate without being intimidated by the masses of information that can be off-putting. It's hopefully a fun performance that informs and entertains”.

Now’s The Hour will run from Friday August 1st to Sunday 24thAugust (not 11) at The Stand Comedy Club (Stand 3), 28 York Place, Edinburgh. Tickets are available from The Stand Comedy Club box office Tel: 0131 558 7272 or

The Now’s The Hour Fringe Cast of 12 are from: Orkney, Aberdeen, Fife, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Hamilton, Irvine, Dalgety Bay, Bridge of Weir, and Clydebank

TFIPC consists of young actors who have travelled from Australia, Canada, England, India, Jamaica, Malta, New ZealandNorthern Ireland, Wales as well as Scotland.

For further information go to

No comments :

Post a Comment