A celebration of Glasgow’s industrial past and creative future taking place at the South Rotunda on Clydeside, across Glasgow and the world. Part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme
Inspired by the book by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson
Led by Graham McLaren and Simon Sharkey
Communities Lead Artists: Pete Collins, Lu Kemp, Simon Sharkey, Philippa Tomlin
International Performing Company Director for Scottish Youth Theatre: Fraser MacLeod
Puppet Designer, Maker and Coach: Gavin Glover
Director, South Rotunda Events: Graham McLaren
Produced in association with Scottish Youth Theatre and supported by Glasgow Life, Creative Scotland, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Homecoming Scotland
As the finalé to an eight month project across Glasgow and the Commonwealth, exploring Glasgow’s industrial heritage and 21st century future, taking place as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, the National Theatre of Scotland will take over the South Rotunda on the Clydeside, creating a pop-up arts venue for a rich programme of performance and visual art.
The iconic building will be home to an immersive puppet experience and visual art installation, inspired by Helen Ward’s bestselling book The Tin Forest, and created by National Theatre of Scotland Associate Director Graham McLaren (In Time o’ Strife, A Doll’s House), in collaboration once more with celebrated puppet-designer Gavin Glover – the two previously worked together on the National Theatre of Scotland’s acclaimed production of A Christmas Carol.
The South Rotunda will also provide the backdrop to: a seven day festival created by international young theatre-makers; a world class visual art installation; a large scale opening event, featuring live music from leading Scottish artists. All performances at the South Rotunda will be part of Festival 2014, the Commonwealth Games-time Glasgow based strand of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.
The first phase of The Tin Forest project will see National Theatre of Scotland Associate Director Simon Sharkey (Jump, 99…100) lead a team of creative artists in engagement across the city and with four ex-industrial communities across Glasgow: Springburn (railways), Govan (shipbuilding), East End (steel) and Southwest (aircraft components). Taking as its inspiration the story of The Tin Forest, in which a lonely old man transforms his surrounding landscape from a place “near nowhere and close to forgotten” to somewhere “filled with all the things that everyone wanted,” the Company will invite participants to retell the story of their local community, the story of Glasgow’s industrial past and to imagine what the future might look like. Each community will work with a team of directors, writers, musicians, visual artists, choreographers and other theatre-makers, to devise and create a large scale site-specific event, to be performed in their local area in June 2014.
A specially commissioned Tin Forest International Performing Company - an ensemble of 90 young theatre makers drawn from the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth - will flood the city with site-responsive theatre, responding to the themes of The Tin Forest and a selection of iconic Glasgow locations. Directed by Scottish Youth Theatre Associate Artistic Director Fraser MacLeod, they will perform on the city’s streets, bridges and public transport, and in parks, “stalled spaces” and public places.
The Tin Forest International Youth Theatre Festival will bring together ten established youth theatre companies from around the Commonwealth. The companies are: Manifesto Jamaica from Kingston, Jamaica; FanFiction Comedy from Auckland, New Zealand; Made In Bristol from Bristol Old Vic, England; X Theatre from Dhaka, Bangladesh; Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre from Malta; YUVA EKTA-Youth Unite from New Delhi in India. The four Scottish companies are Urban Fairytale Theatre Company from Glasgow; Collision from Buckhaven, Fife; Aberdeen Performing Arts Youth Theatre, Aberdeen; Physical Theatre Scotland from Edinburgh. These groups will devise and perform a piece in their home country - inspired by the concept of “near nowhere…to somewhere” - before presenting it to audiences in Glasgow at the South Rotunda from Thursday 24th to Monday 28th July. They will also take part in a residential theatre course, working closely with established, professional theatre-makers, engaging in cultural exchange and building on their existing skills and knowledge.
The Tin Forest opening event will bring together all of the participants at the South Rotunda on Tuesday 22nd July, 2014, featuring live music and performance.
The Tin Forest will breathe new life into the currently vacant South Rotunda building on the Clydeside. Built between 1890 and 1896 by the Glasgow Tunnel Company, the South and North Rotundas gave Glasgow commuters access to three passageways under the Clyde – two for horses and carts and one for pedestrians. Now used only for access to water mains, the tunnel was closed to pedestrians in 1980 and the vehicular tunnels in-filled in 1986. The South Rotunda reopened briefly as the “Dome of Discovery” during the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival, but has since lain derelict.
Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland says:
“The tale of The Tin Forest, in Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson’s beautiful book, tells an important story about regeneration and cultural awakening. We are inviting people across Glasgow and the Commonwealth to creatively respond to this narrative by re-imagining their own communities’ futures. Meanwhile the National Theatre of Scotland is transforming the currently derelict but iconic South Rotunda on Glasgow’s Clydeside into a high tech temporary performance space in which to house a rich programme of cultural activity, including performances from these communities and world class performance during the Commonwealth Games, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.
The Tin Forest is a large scale participatory arts project, a brilliant entertainment experience and a destination for Scottish and international audiences during July of next year. The project is also a celebration of Glasgow’s industrial past, its creative future and its place in the world. 2014 is going to be a remarkable year for the people of Scotland, and the Company is thrilled to be embarking on one of its most ambitious projects to date to mark this moment in time. It would not have been possible to realise The Tin Forest without the vital support and vision of our many partners and funders”
Graham McLaren, Associate Director at the National Theatre of Scotland, says:
"I've imagined making a show in Glasgow's South Rotunda since I was a boy. I can think of no place better for us to remember where Glasgow has been, and to dream of where we are going."
Simon Sharkey, Associate Director at the National Theatre of Scotland, says:
“Having been all over Scotland, making large scale site-specific event theatre with the most wonderful communities, it is unbearably exciting to bring our “Theatre without Walls” to my home city. I can’t wait to engage with the communities of Glasgow and connect them to the Commonwealth by retelling their story and re-imagining our future in the world, with them.”
Claire Davidson, Aberdeen Performing Art’s Acting Creative Learning Manager says:
“We feel privileged to be one of four Scottish youth theatre companies selected to take part in The Tin Forest International Youth Theatre Festival. The work and ambition of The National Theatre of Scotland is inspirational and we are excited by the challenge of working with them on this project!
“This has been a bumper year for APA Youth Theatre, collaborating with an Olivier Award-winning writer, four well-received productions, an international exchange with The American Conservatory Theater and now, being selected to be part of The Tin Forest Festival. We appreciate the recognition of our work for being synonymous with high quality theatre for young people.”
Eileen Gallagher, Independent Director on the Glasgow 2014 Board and Chair of the Ceremonies, Culture and Queen’s Baton Relay Committee, says:
"The Tin Forest is a remarkable project which spans the run up to Glasgow 2014 and will enthral and delight everyone who sees it during Games time next summer. It will draw people from all over the Commonwealth to participate and to enjoy the huge range of performances which will be staged during Festival 2014."
Fraser MacLeod, Associate Artistic Director, Scottish Youth Theatre, says:
“Scottish Youth Theatre is proud to be working in association with the National Theatre of Scotland on such an exciting and engaging project. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the hundreds of young people from across the Commonwealth bringing their energy and enthusiasm to Glasgow; creating and performing in the lead-up to the Games and throughout.”
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK Director, Andrew Barnett says:
“We are supporting arts organisations committed to pushing the boundaries of their work with professional and non-professional artists and working across borders. The Tin Forest is an exemplar initiative which reflects the Foundation’s interest in the environment, promotes intergenerational activity, and engages local and international audiences and participants in a project of uncompromising quality, which we hope in turn will influence artistic practice more widely.”
Caroline Packman, Director of Homecoming Scotland 2014 says:
“We are delighted to have The Tin Forest as part of the packed Homecoming Scotland programme of events. The plans outlined for this fantastic festival celebrating Glasgow’s industrial past and creative future tie in perfectly with our Year of Homecoming themes including ancestry and creativity, whilst also providing a great opportunity to place the spotlight on some of Glasgow’s most iconic locations.”