This year Edinburgh isto host the third Scottish Youth Dance Festival. an action packed week of classes. performances and discussions for youth groups frotn all over Britain. Emphasising creativity rather than technique. participants will look at lighting. music. dance theatre. acrobatics and choreographic structure.

Festival organiser. dancer and choreographer Frank McConnell. believes that events of this sort can‘t fail to generate enthusiasm. ‘lt‘s the sheer joy and the scale of it. The energy is colossal when you get 150 young people. who don‘t feel inhibited.‘

The festival aims to encourage people ofall abilities. ‘Participants could quite easily be physically disabled or physically very

competent ‘says McConnell.‘ Its a huge mixture but somehow it just doesn‘t matter.‘

Visiting the various attending companies McConnell has been impressed by the standard of choreography. ‘I would say three ofthe performance programmes are very strong. Better than anything I‘ve seen in the last few months. A lot ofthe material has either been directly choreographed by youth group members or else it has been a kind of co-operative effort. That's a dead healthy development.‘

Such events as these plainly raise confidence. ‘But it is partly a case of confidence for what‘ cautions Mc(‘onnell. ‘I think it would be a shame if it was just having more Confidence to do more dancing. I'd be much happier if it was confidence to do what they want to do. To decide on their own future in life. on ideas. politics, or the environment. Although dance is primarily a creative communicative thing. I also think it is educational in the broader sense and recreational.‘ (Jo Roe)

There will be open performances every evening at the Assembly Rooms. Edinburgh Sun I—FriOJuly




Toronto Tron

Last year. Glasgow’s Tron Theatre presented Bill Findlay’s translation of Michel Tremblay’s French-Canadian classic Les Belle-Soeurs to general acclaim. Following a revival in Scotland, The Guid Sisters is currently playing in Canada. As the Tron goes transatlantic, Mark Fisher reports back from Ontario about what he did on his holidays.

Herein Ontario. Kenneth Branagh‘s Renaissance Theatre Company has been playing to packed houses'and lukewarm reviews with a Shakespeare double-bill heading for Edinburgh in August. But significantly it is The Tron and not

Primrose Mlliean tools the atte-ettects of Canadian ho

'1“ 2 i r...

the much-hyped successor to Olivier, which is the only British company to be invited to the third biennial du Maurier World Stage. a fortnight ofeclectic theatre that takes over the extensive llarbourfront complex along the shore of Lake Ontario.

One of the several festival highlights is a bi-lingual reworking of Shakespeare's tale ofstar-crossed lovers. retitled Romeo and Juliette. Set on the Canadian prairie. the production is startling for its combined use of French and English. The warring families echo the social and political make-up ofCanada. where francophones tend to be bilingual and anglophones stick resolutely to English.

The parallel with The ()tu'd Sisters says much about the similarities between our respective nations. Romeo ant/Juliette is the work of a British playwright re-interpreted to talk directly to a country whose imperialist heritage still marginalises its large French-speaking population. particularly in Quebec. And in the Scots vernacular The Tron has found an ideal vehicle to match the expression of a French-Canadian playwright and to speak with equal eloquence to Scottish and Anglo-Canadian audiences. Originally written in Joual. the Quebccois form of French. The (juid Sisters finds a remarkably comfortable home in the

spitality in the Tron's visiting productio of he Butt! Sisters

rich Glaswegian turn ofphrase. It is not only the cultural similarities. but also the musicalin ofthe mither tongue which bring Tremblay‘s play to life.

Mingling in the interval with the sell-out first night audience in the Premier Dance Theatre. I come across a bemused. but enthusiastic cross-section of local theatre-goers. ‘l'm having some difficulty.‘ admits one. ‘lt's Glaswegian. is that right?‘ lfyou thought bloopers. nickels and rain-checks were difficult to get your head around. just try explaining bokc. jessie or wean.

llis companion. however. is coping better with Scotland's other national team. ‘I‘m interested in Tremblay.‘ he explains. ‘I never miss one of his plays. I've read about this production for more than a year I wasn‘t going to miss it!‘

The general feeling is that Michael Boyd‘s production is succeeding where previous English language translations have failed. There is even the suggestion from francophone critics that it is beating Quebec productions at their own game. As the fifteen-strong all-female company parades to the front of the stage bearing icons of tacky consumerism and singing the (‘anadian national anthem. the audience rises to its feet to give a heart-felt standingovation.

The sisters are aghast. They‘re a hit. ‘(.‘alm down.‘ they want to tell

58 The List 29June —12July199()