Annexe Arts Launched

Oct 6 2017 | By More

New city centre youth arts hub

Black Dingo Productions has launched a new theatre-based arts hub for young people in the Annexe venue next to The Vault on Merchant Street, under George IV Bridge.

Annexe Arts will focus on creating opportunities for young people aged between 11 and 25 to work with young and emerging theatre practitioners. The hub will be offering weekly and monthly sessions for people to develop their acting, writing, spoken word and technical skills.

Annexe Arts Hub venue, Merchant Street. Pic: Perry Jonsson

The project grew out of the demise of Discover 21, the 35 seat theatre at St Margaret’s House former home to Black Dingo productions, which is now the Wee Theatre.

David McFarlane, artistic director of Black Dingo, was looking for a rehearsal space for the company and discovered that John Grieve of Staged for Life also needed somewhere to work from.

McFarlane told Æ: “It seemed that young people need somewhere like this for them to take their practice to the next level. One of the founding premises of Black Dingo was as a way to encourage people to take that step between amateur to more professional work, it seemed like a nice fit.”

Sessions at Annexe Arts will be free for the users, a key principle for McFarlane. Although he will be setting up a Patreon account for those who wish to donate, the hub is being run without any public subsidy.


“I used to work with a youth theatre which was very funding dependent,” McFarlane explains. “When the funding dried up, it stopped. So I have tried to make a package here which makes sense without needing to be funded by anything.

“I can offer the bare minimum package as it is without anything else. I am going to use it as a rehearsal room for businesses to come and use so we can make enough money so we can continue”

Team Annexe Arts, with (L to R) Tyler Andrew Mortimer (Young Acting Company), David Robb (Writing), Sofia Nakou (Youth theatre Juniors), If Rah Ihseruq (Tech Staged for Life), Catherine Wilson (front, Loud Poets), James Marsh (Tech Staged for Life), Dave McFarlane (Pitch Up). Pic: Perry Jonsson.

Annexe Arts will be working with the Vault space next door on Merchant Street, and will also be able to use the various spaces in Augustine’s Church, which is above the venue, on George IV Bridge.

McFarlane added: “We will create regular events to highlight and showcase the talents of our participants to artistic directors and agents from across Scotland.

“Our first showcase is going to be in the beginning of January and instead of doing a massive ensemble piece where two people get great parts – and the rest are in the chorus – we are going to do maybe five shows with them, so they all have the chance to shine.”

Annexe Arts Offer

Annexe Arts Techs
Staged for Life Tech workshop
Start date 2nd October 7pm – 9pm
Class size 20
Aimed at 16-25 year olds
Drop in sharing session to teach basic tech skills. There will also be periodical tech master classes. Prior to these the sharing sessions will focus on getting people ready for the master classes.

Annexe Arts Poetry
Loud Poets Poetry Workshop
Start date 9th October 7pm – 9pm
Class size 20
Aimed at 16-25 year olds.
Loud Poets was launched in 2014 with the aim of making poetry something that could be enjoyed by the masses. They are now a collective of poets, writers, musicians and artists who create monthly nights, Fringe shows, commissions, workshop and videos.

Annexe Arts Writers
Annexe Arts Writers will be a seminar style workshop
Start date 15th October 7pm – 8.30pm
Class size 20
Aimed at 16-25 year olds
Run by Dave Robb whose writing credits include The Works of Fate (Vainglory Arts, 2009) The Dress Affair (Tightlaced, 2010) and The Devil in the Belfry (Edinburgh Horror Festival, 2016).

Weekly Classes

These will be weekly term based theatre workshops for a variety of young participants. During holiday breaks there will be showcases of the work made.

Annexe Arts Company
Two hours a week studying a particular theatre style or practitioner
Audition day 15 October 4pm – 9pm
Start date 22nd October 7pm – 9pm
For 16-25 year olds
Run by Tyler Mortimer, an artistic director with over 10 years experience who started his career running St Ives Youth Theatre, a charity based in Cambridgeshire. The company will perform in showcase events at the end of term, allowing them to be seen by industry professionals and audience members.

Annexe Arts Juniors
One hour long class for 11-13 year olds
Start Date February
Run by Sofia Nakou, a theatre director and drama facilitator with years of experience in her field having directed shows with successful UK and European tours.

Annexe Arts Seniors
One hour long class for 14-16 year olds
Start Date February
Run by Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir, an Icelandic born director and playwright, whose directing credits include Richard III (a one-woman show) (Brite Theater) and Creepie Stool (Black Dingo Productions). Assistant director on A Number (Royal Lyceum Theatre).

Other events:

Pitch Up
A monthly performance night (not December or Autust) which will be a mixture of new writing, monologues, poetry and anything else you can think of to pitch. Each month a guest curator will select 50 minutes of entertainment from the pitches received via a call out.

Contact and links

For further details of how to take part in the above courses and events, email:

Annexe Arts Hub on Facebook:


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