His­tory roars at Sum­mer­lee

Ac­tors tell the story of re­gion’s work­ing life

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Po­lice Ap­peal - Ju­dith Ton­ner

A to­tal of 800 peo­ple packed Sum­mer­lee mu­seum over the Easter week­end for four daz­zling per­for­mances of in­dus­trial her­itage pro­duc­tion Shift.

De­lighted au­di­ences watched a pro­fes­sional cast led by Air­drie ac­tor Daniel Cahill and a com­mu­nity en­sem­ble of more than 60 Mon­k­lands and North La­nark­shire res­i­dents tell the sto­ries of the area’s work­places and her­itage.

Ex­tra tick­ets were re­leased as ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity was cre­ated at the Coat­bridge out­door set to meet de­mand from vis­i­tors clam­our­ing to see the cul­mi­na­tion of the land­mark six­month project.

Run by the Na­tional The­atre of Scot­land (NTS) and Cul­ture NL, it has seen res­i­dents and work­ers share their work­place sto­ries from across the decades, with those con­tri­bu­tions and orig­i­nal songs and writ­ing from lo­cal peo­ple be­ing com­bined into the spec­tac­u­lar fi­nale show.

Daniel told the Ad­ver­tiser:“It was in­cred­i­ble to see all the shows filled to ca­pac­ity – on stage you can look every­body in the eyes and to see all the faces of peo­ple whose sto­ries we were telling light­ing up was fan­tas­tic.

“I got to speak to the au­di­ence after­wards and they were blown away and so im­pressed to see all these sto­ries and that shared his­tory, which no­body was re­ally talk­ing about be­fore, be­ing dis­played.

“They re­ally en­joyed them­selves; and the com­mu­nity cast be­came this in­cred­i­bly pro­fes­sional cast of

ac­tors who were fan­tas­tic. There were nerves on the first night but once they re­alised all the hard work was pay­ing off, they re­laxed into it.

“On the sec­ond day, ev­ery­one was buzzing from the night be­fore and couldn’t wait to do it again, and were sad in the end that there were only four per­for­mances.

“They re­ally took own­er­ship as the show was by them, for them and about them; they were telling the sto­ries of lo­cal peo­ple and the au­di­ences were im­me­di­ately part of shar­ing these sto­ries and mem­o­ries.”

Shift’s per­for­mances, writ­ten and di­rected by Si­mon Sharkey of NTS, fol­lowed months of gath­er­ing the tales of North La­nark­shire’s in­dus­trial his­tory at spe­cial events and work­shops across the area.

Youth the­atre groups also took part in re­lated work­shops en­ti­tled “Fu­ture Fore­casts”, while be­hind- the-scenes mo­ments and all the build-up and re­ac­tion were cap­tured in on­line film se­ries Shift Trans­mis­sion, made by stu­dents at New Col­lege La­nark­shire.

Com­mu­nity cast mem­bers re­hearsed at Whif­flet com­mu­nity cen­tre to bring to­gether the out­door per­for­mance at the in­dus­trial her­itage site, to tell“the sto­ries of the many‘shifts’put in by the work­ers who built the world and cre­ated our fu­ture”.

Daniel, 26, is a for­mer pupil of St Mar­garet’s High and trained at the Royal Con­ser­va­toire of Scot­land.

He added:“I’ve been all round the world with NTS and have some in­cred­i­ble mem­o­ries, but to come back to my home­town and do a project so close to my fam­ily, up­bring­ing and her­itage has to be one of the best things I’ve ever done.

“Not many peo­ple get the op­por­tu­nity to learn about where they’re from in such a unique way; hear­ing the re­ally har­row­ing song about Gar­rion Gill mine and the ap­palling con­di­tions in the in­dus­trial re­voltion was in­cred­i­ble.

“When ev­ery­one was on stage to­gether for the fi­nal sec­tion on the last night, I re­mem­ber see­ing the looks on ev­ery­one’s faces – the cast were re­ally proud of their ac­com­plish­ments and the au­di­ence were proud of their area and of their broth­ers, sis­ters, fa­thers, moth­ers, cousins all telling these in­cred­i­ble sto­ries.

“It was fan­tas­tic see­ing ev­ery­one walk­ing off and into the arms of their loved ones, and was re­ally touch­ing and a high­light for me.

“The whole thing was lovely – be­ing from Air­drie and feel­ing that shared pride and ex­cite­ment about where we’re from and what we do was fan­tas­tic.”

Pic­tures by Drew Far­rell.

Dra­matic spec­tac­u­lar Shift was per­formed in an out­door set­ting at Sum­mer­lee in­dus­trial her­itage mu­seum

Mem­o­rable event Au­di­ences to­talling 800 peo­ple were wowed by the Shift per­for­mances over four nights at the Coat­bridge venue

Work of art Shift told the sto­ries of North La­nark­shire’s work­ers, com­piled dur­ing six months of work­shops and spe­cial events

Lead­ing man Air­drie ac­tor Daniel Cahill (sec­ond left) with fel­low cast mem­bers (from left) Stephen Clyde, Fletcher Mathers and Katie Bar­nett

Stage stars More than 60 lo­cal res­i­dents joined the com­mu­nity cast to bring Shift to life

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