From Holyrood to Hollywood?

Members of the performance ready to perform at Holyrood
Members of the performance ready to perform at Holyrood

Stranraer was recently in the limelight at the Scottish parliament when 15 young people from the Ryan Youth Theatre supported by a coach load of friends and family made the journey up to Edinburgh to perform in front of a number of politicians and invited guests.

Their performance, called Freedom Square, is a play based on Scottish sectarianism which had previously toured Dumfries and Galloway before coming to the attention of South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine who invited the cast and supporters up to Holyrood.

The plot features a love story set on the eve of the Scottish referendum with two young people from the opposing Yes/No camps having to deal with bigoted parents and a planned attack on George Square by the Orange Lodge.

The 40-minute show was well received by the audience and was followed by a lively question and answer session. The young cast gave mature responses to questions from the audience about their experience of creating Freedom Square. They were delighted that a number of politicians including MSPs Alex Ferguson, Anne McTaggart, John Manson and Aileen McLeod found time in their busy pre-election schedules to see the show.

Freedom Square was written and devised by the award-winning playwright Des Dillon in conjunction with the Ryan Youth Theatre. The show was premièred to a full house on 16th February 2105 in the Ryan Centre Theatre, Stranraer. Megan Ross, a student at Stranraer Academy is the producer for the show and fellow pupil Danielle Glover, has taken on the responsibility of director.

The creation of Freedom Square was supported by a grant from the Voluntary Action Fund Scottish Government’s Tackling Sectarianism Small Grant Programme and was assisted by the Kirkcudbright-based South West Scotland Sectarian Project, which is managed by Stewartry council of voluntary service.

Ryan Youth Theatre (RYT) was set up by Wigtown Festival Company two years ago. Members work with professional artists who challenge and inspire young people to create and devise performances and manage their own projects. RYT activities are free and anyone aged 14 to 25 years, regardless of experience, ability or personal circumstances can take part. If you would like to know more, e mail carolyn@literaturedevelopement.org or phone 01988 402036.

If you would like to discuss booking the show Freedom Square, please contact info@stewartrycvs.org.uk