NTS Announces Five Minute Theatre participants

Apr 10 2012 | By More

Pandas, Penguins, Protestants and other carnal encounters

NTS Five Minute Theatre LogoBy Thom Dibdin

Edinburgh Zoo’s Pandas will take on their neighbours the Penguins in the latest National Theatre of Scotland Five Minute Theatre project, which also includes a Leith complainant having a “carnal” encounter with a call centre operator and the (highlights) of the history of the protestant reformation in Scotland.

The NTS has announced that a total of 60 groups, including seven based in Edinburgh, have been picked to take part in the latest project which will be streamed online on May the first.

The performances, which are on the broad theme of “protest”, will be online between 6pm and midnight. This is the first of five themed five minute theatre events planned for this year.

Marianne Maxwell, producer of the project, said: “Five Minute Theatre in June 2011 was a joyous celebration of theatre in all its many forms. Inspired by the imagination and creativity of that first event, we are excited to develop and expand what Five Minute Theatre can be for performers, theatre-makers and audience.”

The Edinburgh-based participants include actors John Keilty and Sarah Miele, Poison Whiskey Theatre, Neu! Reekie! co-founder Michael Pedersen, groups featuring students at both Telford College an Mary Erskine School, and participants in the Traverse’s Scribble writing group for young people.

John Naples-Campbell, Lecturer of Acting and Theatre Performance at Telford told the Annals: “I took part last year with the Knox Academy, where I was teaching, and had an incredible experience. So when I started at Telford College I felt it was important for our students at Performing Arts Studio Scotland to be part of it this year.

“The piece we are creating uses Greek choral work and movement to tell our story: Doppelganger! What if you believe what you are doing is right but everyone around you thinks you are wrong? It is a devised piece using Dory Previn’s song as a stimuli to create a piece of ensemble work that looks at the rights and wrongs of people’s crimes and that what one person thinks is right… the other thinks is wrong.”

what starts out as fete of fury quickly becomes amorous chit chat

Although the organisers stress that the exact details of the different performances will be fluid right up to the day of live streaming, the outlines of each group’s application to take part provides a clue as to what they will be doing.

Actor John Keilty, who last year created a piece about ghosts in Greyfriar’s Kirk-yard, is staging (highlights of) the history of the PROTESTant reformation in Scotland. “Simply, and through script and song, we hope to tell the story of development of Scotland as a nation; from its adoption of Christianity to Roman Catholicism through to its reformation and embrace of Presbyterianism in the 1560’s.  And it’ll be funny. Hopefully. God willing.”

In a piece called It’s Not All Black And White, participants in Scribble tell the story of political conflict and justice. The animals are protesting at Edinburgh Zoo. The two parties: one pandas, one penguins. Both want you to join them and listen to their conflicting propositions and beliefs. It is not all just black and white, it is much more complicated than that, with questions such as “who has the right to say where they are kept”, “do I prefer chocolate or bamboo”, and “will David Cameron make a public appearance?”

Actress Sarah Miele will be creating The Youth of Today, a solo aerial piece of physical theatre exploring protests and youth – the youth of today and yesterday and the constant struggle between old and new, from generation to generation.

Michael Pedersen, the performance poet who co-founded Neu! Reekie! is staging a site-specific piece in the living room of a flat in Leith, where a “bullish and bolshie gentleman phones his bank complaints line in order to protest the exorbitant charges applied to his account. Charges which invented themselves and then reinvented themselves reaching levels which rival a pre-recession bankers’ bonus.  It quickly aspires that this isn’t just any old call centre operator and what starts out as fete of fury quickly becomes amorous chit chat and eventually a carnal encounter!”

The 60 five minute theatre productions will come from all over Scotland and around the world. There are pieces from Bristol, Lancaster and London; Malibu, Milan Beijin, covering protest about everything from body hair, death, threesomes, sustainability and smart phones to independence, government, apathy, Protestantism, Catholicism, kettling, and Granpaw Broon.

Several of the productions will be pre-recorded, but the NTS is making use of the their media partner STV to ensure that regional hubs as well as the main venue at the Tron theatre in Glasgow can be used for the performances. Free tickets to the live hub at the Tron are available from the theatre box office on 0141 552 4267.

NTS website: www.nationaltheatrescotland.com

NTS Blog-site with details of Tron event: nationaltheatrescotland.wordpress.com

Dedicated Five Minute Theatre website: fiveminutetheatre.com

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