’Tis the season for new venues. No sooner had Wildcat completed their eight-week renovation of the Clyde Theatre. than the workers had moved into the Old Athenaeum Theatre on Buchanan Street to do it up as a permanent base for Scottish Youth Theatre in time for next year‘s Mayfest. Already housing SYT‘s offices and the Glasgow arm of The List. the ex-RSAMD building is being spruced up to make way for a theatre. bar. cafe. dance studio. box office and all the attendant dressing rooms. workshops and store rooms.
‘We‘ve been bursting out all over for a long time.‘ says publicity officer. Gillian Arnott about the proliferation of SYT activities. ‘and now that we‘ve got the Athenaeum Theatre. we‘re not only able to ease ourselves into it. we can also keep on expanding. For the first time. we‘ve got a performance space. workshop space and storage space all in the one area.‘
Lined up for 1990 is a wide range of activities from productions of classical tragedy. Scottish drama and Shakespeare to performances by a mixed-ability group. European and American youth groups and artists from Japan. This is in addition to SYT‘s already established and highly rated Summer Festival. Young Playwrights‘ Festival and Radio Drama Course. Despite the emphasis on drama by or for young people. the venue will host all sorts oftheatrical performance and the public cafe will help develop the Athenaeum into a social meeting point for everyone.
Amidst these changes SYT. which was one ofonly thirteen groups selected to appear at the National Theatre in this year‘s Lloyds Bank Young Theatre Challenge. is determined to maintain their high artistic standards. ‘We are developing a reputation for putting on work that is not Annie or The Sound ofMusic.‘ says Arnott. ‘To take something like Animal— and Tom McGrath said it was the best production he‘d ever seen of it — is a big undertaking. The fact that our performances tend to be good is a tribute to the directors and young people involved.‘ (Mark Fisher) Scottish Youth Theatre is based at The Old A thenaeum Theatre. I 79 Buchanan Street. Glasgow. 041332 5127.
[THEATREm LISTINGS: THEATRE 43 CABARET 53 DANCE 54
’Packing ’em in 5 Food for thought will be on offer at the Third Eye Centre when Bobby Baker sets out her wares on 8 and 9
2 December. ‘l’m going to give everyone i in the audience a little meal.‘ She
’ explained, ‘I suppose really the show’s ; about class. ithinklood has
5 tremendous potential as a metaphor for i our society.‘ Thus, she will give out
; different categories oi meal, and in
‘ food, as in life, some will geta raw
deal whilst others will have a least.
! Creating her own sort of Marks and
; The show is the natural successor to
' Packed Lunch, which she first performed at the Hayward Gallery, and which followed much the same recipe. However, it proved a bit too exotic for
. the audience’s palates. ‘It being an art gallery I think they were all a bit uptight. They liked it but didn't really laugh a lot.' Maybe they were worried they would choke on the food they had in their gobs? “No, in Birmingham when I did the show they laughed a lot.’ Back to Glasgow, where: ‘Some people will be given Goujons, a sort oi posh fish finger, or mackerel pate. At the very top end oi the range is Smoked
Aw. not iish again!
I’m airaid that’s mine.’ 0n the other hand some less fortunate punters will get only a dry iish paste sandwich. During the meal Bobby will explain, with the aid oi a slide show, how and why she prepared the suppers.
Though bread and fish provide the staple food, the Centre’s capacity is, fortunately for her pocket, considerably less than the Biblical five thousand. ‘It will be all rather expensive, one oi the main points is that I’m actually giving out the food, there's no extra charge for it.’ Should the audience bring their own bottles? ‘Well I’m not sure what the Centre would have to say about that, I'm afraid I won’t be providing drink as well. That might be going too iar.’ If not a feast oi entertainment it will certainly provide a snack. (Boss Parsons) Packed Supper, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, Fri 8 Dec, 9.30pm 8. Sat 9
Salmon, there's only one of them and
Dec, 7.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
‘As I speak, I should be rehearsing with l Communicado, i have a script ' conference at 5.30pm with STV and at 7.30pm I’m talking to the BBC about the Turkey That Fought Back.’ As it is, Stuart Hepburn has just spent three days in bed with the flu and the temporary break in his hectic schedule gives me the chance to catch up with one oi the busiest figures in this year’s Scottish theatre scene. His cv for 12 months is an incredible catalogue oi performing and writing credits and, he i assures me, he can juggle as well.
‘I started off by writing and performing in the Christmas show at the Tron this time last year,‘ he explains. ‘At the same time I was writing an episode of Taggart. I then went on and was acting in Chekhov at the Royal Lyceum and then was commissioned to write Loose Ends at the Traverse which was part of their Spinning A Line season and which became part of their Festival season. During the summer I was asked to write
g? -.1r"’ I
Stuart Hepburn in Hanging The Presidentat
the Traverse Theatre. earlier this year.
the Christmas show at the Traverse and at the same time as doing that l was acting in the Fringe First-winning play, Hanging The President. At the same time as doing that I was writing a play for Stirling District Council. Bound about the same time, i was negotiating with Channel 4 for a new film and doing research for STV for another idea.’ It’s a staggering list not just for its length, but also for its variety. To go from TV drama to pantomime via Russian naturalism and South African tragedy, suggests a particularly versatile mind, but Hepburn sees it in a more practical light. ‘I try very hard not to be pigeon-holed as an actor or a writer or anything else,“ he says. ‘I want to keep on doing good work. I was writing The Turkey That Fought Back while i was acting in Hanging The President. lthink they‘re both technical exercises. It’s a serious thing, writing comedy. I laugh a lot more doing a serious play than in writing a comedy. I take the job very seriously, but i don't take myself as an actor very seriously. 0n the other hand, writing is quite a technical process and quite serious. In terms of drama and comedy, I don’t know it there’s a division. The technical requirements in terms of the writing are incredibly similar. ldon‘t write jokes, I write situations. I like to look at the inanities of modern living and puncture a few pompous bubbles.’ (Mark Fisher). Hepburn’s The Turkey That Fought Back is at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh until 30 Dec and he will be appearing at The Tramway, Glasgow, in Communicado’s Jock Tamson’s Bairns from 25 Jan.
I Video Co-Op Aircrew Ltd. a Leith-based video production company. has just been launched with the intention to specialise in productions for the performing arts (drama and dance) to help them fulfill their promotional. fundraising and archival requirements. lfyou think your company could make use of video to get its message across. give them a ring on ()31 553 4950.
I New Playwrighting Scotland A newsletter for everyone interested in new writing for stage. TV. radio. community education. special needs and any other setting where new drama is useful. is now being produced on a bi-monthly basis. The November issue is crammed full of news and suggested outlets for writers and at only £3. an annual subscription is well recommended. Make cheques to New l’laywriting Scotland and send to Tom McGrath. The Royal Lyceum Theatre. Grindlay Street. Edinburgh El l3 9AX. The first issue of l99()will he sent out in February. I Lindsay John Workshop If you fancy developing your skills in new experimental movement and physical theatre. there's a weekend workshop in Glasgow on 9 & ll) Dec with Edinburgh-based dancer and designer. Lindsay John. Places are limited and the cost is £20 (£15). Call Sheila McCubbin on ()41334 4863.
I Student Panto OilerOn Fri 8 Dec students can get into the 2pm peformance of The Turkey That Fought Back at the Traverse. Edinburgh for just £1. And if you own a Traverse Save rcard you can get two people in for the same price. Not only this. but the Traverse will treat you to a glassof
with director Ben Twist.
hi .. i
I OlivieratWorkNiek Hern Books (£5.95). An affectionate tribute to
Laurence Olivier compiled by the Royal National Theatre and featuring contributions by
actors and directors who ! worked alongside or
underneath him. Brief. but first-hand comments help convey a sense ofthe man'squalitiesand character and of a life in the theatre.
44 The List 8— 21 December1989