On 21st April fifteen young people from Ryan Youth Theatre and around thirty friends and family left Stranraer for Edinburgh. Sponsored by Joan McAlpine they were on their way to perform their new anti-sectarian play Freedom Square at The Scottish Parliament.
The play is described as: The spark of first love across Scotland’s New Divide in the incendiary week of the referendum. She’s a Yes, he’s a No, their parents are bigots, and the Orange Lodge are gearing up to attack the square – what can possibly go wrong?
The show was followed by a lively question and answer session with the young cast responding to the audience about their experience of creating it. They were delighted that 4 MSPs, Alex Fergusson, Anne McTaggart, John Manson and Aileen McLeod Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform found time in their busy pre-election schedules to see the show.
Freedom Square was written and devised by the award-winning playwright Des Dillon with the Ryan Youth Theatre. The show was premièred to a full house on 16th February 2015 in the Ryan Centre Theatre, Stranraer. Megan Ross, a student at Stranraer Academy is the producer for the show and Danielle Glover, also at the Academy, directs it.
The creation of Freedom Square was supported by a grant from the Voluntary Action Fund Scottish Government’s Tackling Sectarianism Small Grant Programme and was assisted by the Kirkcudbright-based South West Scotland Sectarian Project.
Carolyn Yates (Wigtown Festival Company’s Portfolio Manager, Literature Development) is executive producer of Freedom Square and manager of the Ryan Youth Theatre. She says: “The show is designed with ‘no frills’ i.e. no set, minimal props and ‘everyday ‘clothes. This is so it can performed in community venues and school halls, making it as accessible as possible to audiences everywhere. It will be performed in Stranraer Academy and the cast hope that, with assistance from Sid Ambrose of Kirkcudbright based South West Scotland Sectarian Project, the show will tour other schools.”
Ryan Youth Theatre (RYT) was set up by Wigtown Festival Company two years ago so that young people in Stranraer could create new, issue-based writing by and for young people. Members work with professional artists who challenge and inspire young people to create and devise performances and manage their own projects. RYT activities are free and anyone aged 14 to 25 years, regardless of experience, ability or personal circumstances can take part. If you would like to know more, e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01988 402036.
If you would like to discuss booking the show Freedom Square, please contact: Sid Ambrose email@example.com
Photograph of the cast and drummers proudly wearing their Scottish Parliament security passes from left to right:
Back row: Ross Phillips Jarad Rowan, Dana Davies, Callum Reid, Kathleen McCleneghan, Megan Ross, Danielle Glover, Ronan McMurtie
Front row: Caitlin Bowen, Becki McCulloch, Hannah Morris, Courtney McCulloch