Scottish Youth Theatre is to take tip residence in (ilasgow‘sold .-\thenaeurn Theatre building in Buchanan Street. having spent its first twelve years in lidinburgh.

While the (ilasgow press has been quick to proclaim the auspiciousness of the thriving Second ('ity and declare a victory over lidinburgh. SYT have emphasised that it was basically a question of finding a suitable building. ‘Moving to (ilasgow was a likeable proposition.‘ explains SYT's publicity officer (iillian Arnott. 'given that (ilasgow District ( ‘ouncil and Strathclydc Regional (‘ouncil have both been remarkably helpful to us. In fact we have actually had people looking fora suitable premise for permanent residence since as far back as the late seventies. The search was shelved for a while in the early eighties w hen it looked futile.'

(:lasgow s Lnity lheatre. based on the principles of

' modern relevance and

social comment formed there in 19-11 duringthe halycon days of the popular l'nity groups. A year after it wasbuilt llenry Irving gave a

famous speech in praise of 3 the fledglingenterprise.

The (‘itizen's Theatre also startedlifeattheold


Robin Peoples. the company'sartistic director. emphasises that

the move not only marksa

new phase in the SYT's history but is also significant for the general burgeoning of the Scottish

Arts. ‘“"c are hopingto



Just over two years ago Niki Johnson came across an article in the Sunday Times written by an inmate of Broadmoor Psychiatric Prison. It caught her attention and untypically she held on to it. Some time later while developing an idea for a one-woman show she remembered the article and. as p art of her research. got in touch with its author. Janet Creswell. ('reswell. confined since 1976. responded to Johnson's letter with enthusiasm and wrote back with stories and other articles. It soon became apparent that the play for which Johnson was looking was here waiting to he written. Based around visiting time just two hours a week their collaboration began. ‘I couldn't take any paper or pens in with me.‘ explainsJohnson. ‘so all

the drafts had to be done by post. It meant that it wasn‘t a fiddly process. We had to talk about the general shape ofthe play instead ofquibbling over individual words.‘

()fcourse for Johnson there was the extra hurdle ofcoming to terms with the nature of confinement. ‘(ioing into prison is a real eye opener.‘ she says. ‘but the first draft of the play was Janet's and my process of learning went hand in

attract other organisations. since we

can give them accomodation. Then there would be a healthy situation for cross-fertilization. and not necessarin just within the performing arts; we would be more than happy tosee a visual and or literary organization take up residence in the building too. We will also be a new prime venue for professional touring companies.‘

The SYT. mostly funded by the SH). the Scottish Arts(‘ouncil and B l’. organises a wide variety of ventures including radio and television courses.

hand with working on that. She is such an extrordinary lady - a really strong life-force it was fine when l was visiting. but then I'd come home and my heart would plummet.’ (‘reswell was imprisoned for stabbing a psychiatrist in the bottom with a vegetable knife. ‘It was an act ofdesperation.’ says Johnson. ‘Her marriage had split up and she had lost the custody of her children all

because of the psychiatric

profession. However unjustifiable the offence. it is understandable.‘ Thirteen years on. the psychiatrist at Broadmoor believes she should not be there. but for as long as the Home Office resists. (‘reswell has no hope of release. lnevitably it is these issues which their play. The One Sided Wall. addresses. ‘The woman in the play is telling her story.’ explains Johnson. ‘but why do you think she is bonkers‘.’ How do you judge insanity? lfshe was a lawyer or a doctor you would believe her. but because she is a psychiatric patient

you don‘t .‘

At its recent opening in London's Bush Theatre. the play was well received. not least by ex-psychiatric patients. "They were coming up and pumping my hand after the show.‘ says Johnson. undoubtedly pleased to have been appreciated by the people most concerned. Back in Broadmoor. (.‘reswell has been sent

international exchanges. community projects and

the country's largest youth

festival. They are now hoping to attract public

and private sponsorship to the tune of i l .25 million in

order to renovate their A-listed building. The immediate goal is to raise just under halfof that to get the building at least functional for next year. With its close proximity to major bus. train and underground links in the (‘ity Centre. the old Athenaeum certainly places SYT in a propitious position to prosper. The move is not only timely for the l‘)‘)tl('ityof(‘ulture designation but also fortuitous for the Athenaeum's centenary the following year. (Stewart llennessey)


The Scottish Student Drama l'estival closed in (ilasgow on 8 April. after a week of performances. workshops and seminars. Student drama groups from all over Scotland took part in the Festival. alongside a number ofthe

Lynn Bains' homage to Arthur Miller in Fife ('ollege‘s production of :1 Few From the l'ridge (Thursday 20) uses a colourful set. Recorded footage. and the energy


performers make this an

intriguing.ifperhaps over-allusive spectacle.

Bone up on Miller toget the most out ofthis. It is followed the next evening by lidward Blurn's Burning Prayers.

sponsored by the (ilasgow

Herald and hence supplied with most ofthe pre-match publicity. The tale of love in a mythical society beset with political unrest is given a fine. haunting atmosphere by Adrian Skea's score and generates a powerful tension through the hard. simple dialogue.

There are two opportunities at the weekend to see ‘contcmporary folk-theatre': Stirling l'niversity ‘s ll'eeJm‘k and

His Brit/tens (adapted

from West Indian writer Derek Walcott's folk-story 'l'iJean . . .)and Dundee College's Fairy Tales (a grotesque re-working of some

On-ided wu

a video tape of the production and has given it more than the occasional play on the prison TV. "l'hey've only just seen it.‘ says Johnson. ‘and a few of the intnates are stroppy thev think theatre is really poncy but others have been really nice about it .’ The play arrives at The Traverse Theatre. Edinburgh on 25 April to give Scottish audiences a rare chance to hear the story from the other side ofthe psychiatric profession.

(Mark Fisher)

.‘flortsof David Is'innaird's Satan). A fine idaptation of William .‘vlcllvaney's satirical poem ll'eddings and After completes the programme: a tightly structured assemblage of music. mime and text. presented as a second performance on Saturday. ()ne striking feature of the Festival itself was the presence and participation of figures frorn professional theatre. Workshops included a series from Neil Bartlett (entitled .llaking I! l 'p As You (in A long). acting sessions from the NT. ‘lntcract‘ team. and directing workshops from Maggie Kinloch and Michael Boyd; seminars on political theatre included representatives from TAU. Wildcat and 7:84. Maggie Kinloeh also supervised. with Tom Mc( irath. the production of a number of sttident-written-and- performed ‘Shorts‘. sortie of which can also be seen this week. Particular highlights are David Kilby's sharp and nasty Mollie Mt 'nllie. and James Maror’s pastiche of Alasdair (iray. entitled

'j‘hc Old Athcnucum‘ more established names dating from ISUl . is steeped in (ilaswegian cultural history: the School of Dramatic Art grew out of it in 195tland the building was still

Justine 85. Their success is testament to the Collaboration between students and professionals that the Festival was designed to foster. (Andrew Pulver)

SSH/'1' Traverse 'I‘healre. lidinlmrgh. until 3.? April.

traditional tales.) Dundee | college's production. involving some skilful orchestration and plenty ofcomicverveisthe I significantly more enjoyable experience. Wee Jock suffers from some uninspired direction and acting (despite the

from the professional theatre; and the pick of the Festival's ‘new writing' is being staged at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh until Sunday 23 April so you just have time to catch the last few- shows.

Stanslat at Third Eye Cantu, Glasgow.

under their ownership until S\”l”s {Illiflllll purchase last w eek. |

50 The List 21 April 4 May 1989