Aberdeen Performing Arts is a vibrant, cultural hub at the heart of city life inspiring, exploring and engaging through live performances and creative projects. Creating A Spark in the North-east with our homegrown shows and productions.

The Lemon Tree is undertaking a programme of Artist Exchanges through which we provide theatre makers time and space to nurture and develop new ideas and new productions. In return they work with us to offer career development opportunities or workshops for young people in the region, or take part in wider events in the city.


April 2015
Victoria Beesley: Vivian Maier

Victoria Beesley specialises in creating documentary theatre productions and delivering arts projects within the community. She is passionate about using theatre to share the unheard, extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Victoria is also Artistic Director of Terra Incognita Arts, an organisation that specialises in using theatre and the arts to share little known real life stories.

Victoria will be spending time at The Lemon Tree to develop a new show for young people based on the life and work of American nanny and secret photographer Vivian Maier. Maier’s extraordinary collection of street photography, self portraits and film recordings only came to light after her death. Victoria will be working with designer Lisa Sangster who grew up in Aberdeen, and a recent graduate from Gray’s School of Art, to explore ideas and piece together a new show about a woman whose life and work remains an enigma, as well as a new collection of photography inspired by Vivian Maier and her story.

Victoria’s time at The Lemon Tree coincides with Aberdeen’s Look Again festival. Look out for ways you can get involved with this project through this festival.


May 2015Credit: Brian Hartley
Andy Cannon: The Last People on Earth

Andy Cannon has been writing, performing and directing performances especially for children and their families for over twenty five years. Last year, as part of the 2014 Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Andy presented Tales of a Grandson; the story of Scotland's past through the eyes of a ten year old boy on a odyssey with his grandfather back in the summer of 1973. Together they travelled in an Hillman Imp to many locations in both time and space in our nation's past.

One particular brief excursion on that epic journey has continued to intrigue him; the battle of Mons Graupius, a celebrated encounter between the Caledonians and the might of the Roman Empire. Mons Graupius has captivated historians and antiquarians for hundreds of years - not least because exactly where in the North East of Scotland the battle occurred is still a matter of intense scholarly dispute to this day!

The Lemon Tree will be working with Andy, and making connections in the North East, to help develop The Last People On Earth, the story of Mons Graupius which will bring together storytelling, original music and the latest archeological discoveries to try and unearth a fragment of truth about a day nearly 2000 years ago that - arguably - shaped a nation.


June 2015
Mary Jane Wells: Heroine

Heroine, a solo show by Mary Jane Wells, is based on the true story of Danna Davies. It takes grit to be the only woman in the entire platoon. It takes courage to lead your squad into combat, when your assailant is within. But it takes heroism to finally talk about it.

Danna Davies served for 10 years in the US armed forces as a Special Operations Officer, a Drill Sergeant, a Staff Sergeant and a Squad Leader. Her multiple deployments included helping Rwanda after the genocide and to tear down the Berlin wall. She was awarded many medals during her service, including two Purple Hearts. She was the only woman in her entire company and led a squad into combat. She is also a survivor of military sexual trauma. When she led a secret mission into the Middle East, she and her assailant were two of the few survivors. Heroine is a human story about one female soldier's experiences, and what healing and forgiveness really mean.

Mary Jane Wells trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and worked in Scottish Theatre for 12 years before moving to the US where she now acts and writes. Mary Jane is returning to Scotland to create Heroine before taking the show to Theatre Row, 42nd St, New York, for the United Solo Festival in October. She’ll be spending a week at The Lemon Tree developing Heroine and exploring the healing potential of theatre and the human voice.