City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Strange Town Young Company Double Bill of Contrasts


By Lindsay Corr - Posted on 21 May 2013

Strange Town Theatre - Follow Me

A model of youth theatre that really works is the best way to sum up Edinburgh-based Strange Town. A theatre group for aspiring artists between the ages of five and 25 years old, it creates a socially inclusive and fun environment where young peoples' confidence, interpersonal skills and social awareness can flourish whilst they are passed on theatrical skills and can deal with issues affecting young people’s lives in a creative space.

Not just restricted to acting and performing, the young artists are encouraged to try their skills at design, directing, music and dancing, as well as writing, and Strange Town takes pride in showcasing the best new writing from their cannon of dramatists, including Traverse 50 showcasers Alan Gordon and Sam Siggs, who present a contrasting double bill of both the absurdly humorous and the dark side to human nature.

Steve Small, who has directed both pieces for Strange Town Young Company, which focuses on members aged 18-25 years, explains how the Strange Town collaborative approach works: “The process of rehearsals is that we meet for two hours every week. The writer trys out material and the actors play with it and react to it. Then we decide on the script, cast it and rehearse. It’s great for a writer to see their vision coming alive in front of them and is a great learning curve for the process of scripting for the stage. With a limited budget, the Strange Town style of performance is inventive and theatrical, turning the lack of budget into a plus rather than a negative.”

In fact Strange Town take their inspiration from the members themselves, who bring bucket loads of enthusiasm and issues that they want to confront, as Follow Me highlights, which explores the on-going debate in the UK regarding same sex marriage through the eyes of a young girl who has recently committed suicide.

Follow Me by Alan Gordon (performed at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 May) was written for the Young Company after they requested more serious material to tackle, as Gordon explains: “I’m keen to create work which reflects society as it is today by exploring the theatrical form in such a way as to find new ways of entertaining and engaging with an audience."

"Seeking a break from the norm, the group requested material that was dark in tone with a non-naturalistic form. They didn't want a traditional story about the problems of young adults but equally wanted it to reflect them. I instantly wanted to experiment and step completely out of my comfort zone as a writer to tell a modern story combined with elements of Greek Mythology. The final result is kind of a Facebook meets Aristotle mash-up.”

Whilst Small Creatures by Sam Siggs (performed at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June) comically explores the idiosyncrasies of human nature which promises funny absurdities on birth, love, sex, death and everything in between!

25 performers will feature across the two productions which promise plenty of comedy, confident acting, and the occasional touch of pathos.

Online Booking: www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk
Telephone Booking: 0131 556 9579
In Person: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR

Strange Town will return to the Storytelling Centre with their Youth Theatre (8-18 year olds) from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 June with a quintet of shorts inspired by the theme of Home.

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