Two young theatre companies in Aberdeen and California are to come together to work on a new play by a renowned Scottish playwright.
Aberdeen Performing Arts’ (APA) Young Persons Company and the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT), Young Conservatory, in San Francisco will work together in an exchange project this summer on a yet-to-be written play by award-winning DC Jackson, whose latest work The Marriage of Figaro was premiered at Edinburgh Royal Lyceum Theatre a fortnight ago.
Next year, the project will co-commission another play, by an American writer, and the young actors from both companies will spend two weeks working together in San Francisco in the summer with the APA company performing a staged reading.
On their return, the APA Young Persons’ Company will perform the American work in The Lemon Tree in the autumn of 2013.
Creative Learning manager Johanna Duncan said: “We are delighted to have developed such a fantastic project which I feel will offer a wonderful opportunity to all the young people involved.
“Our youth theatre has been involved in exchange projects with young people in Aberdeen’s twin cities of Regensburg, Germany and Stavanger, Norway over the last four years – producing fantastically innovative work – but this is the first time we have undertaken a project on such a large international scale.
“DC Jackson is just such an outstanding playwright who is going from strength to strength - I was delighted when he came on board to write the piece and cannot wait to see the results!”
The APA company are looking for eight aspiring actors (four male and four female) aged 17-25 to take part in the exchange project and will be holding evening auditions on Friday, May 11 and Monday, May 14 at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree.
Those chosen will host one of the eight young actors from San Francisco in their home for weeks over July and August, while the two companies work together in workshop sessions and participate in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF).
During the second week of the exchange, they will work on a new play which ACT and APA have specially commissioned from DC Jackson, former Aberdeen University student and author of The Wall, The Ducky, The Chooky Brae and My Romantic History.
The playwright will work with both groups of actors during this week, before the American group performs a staged reading of the new play as a part of the AIYF programme at The Lemon Tree.
The exchange is the result of a chance visit to the Young American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco by Johanna Duncan some time ago.
Having just finished an exchange with the Theatre Royal Bath, the American company was keen to be involved in another and the project began taking shape after ACT directors Craig Slaight and Melissa Smith visited Aberdeen last August.
The Aberdeen company will later launch a bid to find sponsorship to cover the cost of the second leg of the exchange next year.
APA’s Young Persons Company have already performed two of DC’s plays – The Wall and The Ducky – and he was one of 21 potential playwrights interested in being part of the project.
“He came and saw our production of The Ducky and took part in a Q&A session with the cast and audience afterwards,” said Creative Learning worker Paul Hudson.
“He is really great with young people and his writing seems to resonate with our performers – we are hoping the same will happen with an American cast – something he has been thinking about.”
The play has the working title of The 1990s but is still in the process of being written.
"I am delighted to be writing a play for Aberdeen Performing Arts Young Persons Company,” said DC Jackson.
“Ever since they did my play The Wall as their first production I have kept a keen eye on what they have been doing and am excited to be able to work more closely with them on this project.
“I really hope it will be a memorable and transformative experience for all the participants."
Anyone wishing to audition for the project should email Paul Hudson on firstname.lastname@example.org, sending in their CV and a passport sized photo, and opting for one of the two audition dates.
The auditions will take the form of an one-hour acting workshop, followed by a monologue of the actors’ own choosing.
Although it is preferred that participants will be able to ‘home stay’ an American exchange person, the auditions are open to anyone who wishes to be a part of APA’s Young Person’s Company.