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Media release:

Shetland Arts launches their new professional theatre residency initiative next week with Stellar Quines Theatre Company and Perissology Theatre Productions rehearsing their new production Baby Baby, which opens in Lerwick before going on a five week national tour, starting in the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on 4th February.

Adapted from Vivian French’s acclaimed teen novel, Baby Baby raises questions and poses a challenge, demanding that the audience think and rethink their perceptions and prejudices about young people – the way they look and their life choices.

Pinkie and April always see each other about town.  They are both 15 but that’s the only thing they have in common.  They have different friends, different styles, and different tastes.  Or so they think…  Pinkie hangs out on College Green, drinking, smoking fags - and anything else that’s going -  with her friends who are pierced up, grunged out, coloured in, and biker booted; while April’s scene is Park Street and the ‘streetys’ in snow white trainers, designer labels and every hair exactly placed.  But, despite their differences, Pinkie and April get under each other’s skin.  And somehow, despite everything, they end up together at Tinley Road School for young mums.

Edinburgh based author, Vivian French, has been writing books and plays for children for the last 35 years, spending most of her early career writing for her own children's theatre company.  Now an established children's author, with over 200 titles in publication, she is in worldwide demand to run creative writing workshops and appear regularly at book festivals.  Vivian, who has been part of Wordplay Shetland Arts’ own book festival, said about Baby Baby, “no one should ever think of ‘teenage mums’ as a category; each has her own story to tell, her life to lead - and in my view, they do it extraordinarily well.” Whilst rehearsing the play in Shetland, the company is also mentoring eight young people in theatre skills ranging from directing, to stage management and costume design.  Assistant Arts Development Officer with Shetland Arts, Jacqui Clark, said “We are delighted to welcome Stellar Quines and Perissology to the Garrison Theatre and value the work that these respected theatre professionals are undertaking with our young theatre enthusiasts.  Shetland Arts is committed to developing audiences and ensuring that our community experience of theatre is more than just performance.  We are exploring ways to offer professional theatre residency opportunities to national Scottish touring companies in order to help us expand and develop skills within our active drama community.”

Director Jemima Levick’s commitment to working with new writing and young people began in 2003 when she took on the role of Project Manager for ‘Class Act’, the Traverse Theatre’s flagship education project.  And for the past six years, has worked for a variety of theatres and educational institutions within Scotland, on many high profile projects, most recently the critically acclaimed Beauty and the Beast at Dundee Rep in December 2008.

Baby Baby will open in the Garrison Theatre with a public preview on Friday 30th January and a public performance on Saturday 31st.  Tickets for both performances are available from the Shetland Box Office on 01595 745555.  There will be a schools performance on Monday 2nd of February incorporating an after show discussion, following on from workshops undertaken in schools throughout January through partnership funding from Shetland Islands Council Creative Links.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John HaswellDrama Development Officer, Shetland Arts Tel:01595 743843 / 07833394285

Stellar Quines Theatre Company and Perissology Theatre Productions in association with Shetland Arts present

BABY BABY: Written by Vivian French

Creative Team Director:             Jemima Levick Set Designer:             Lisa Sangster Costume Designer    Kathryn Smith Composer:     Philip Pinsky Lighting designer:           Colin Grenfell Movement by:    Jane Howie

GARRISON THEATRE PUBLIC PREVIEW – FRIDAY 30th JANUARY @ 7.30PM PERFORMANCE – SATURDAY 31st JANUARY @ 7.30PM TICKETS - £8/£6/£3 FOR YOUNG SCOT CARDHOLDERS BOX OFFICE – 01595 745555

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Perissology was formed in 2004 by 3 former Queen Margaret University students, Jemima Levick, Sunita Hinduja and Lisa Sangster.  Their first production Hambledog and the Hopping Clogs opened at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and later toured to Aberdeen and Warsaw, Poland.

Stellar Quines Theatre Company was formed in 1993 to reflect the energy, experience and perspective of women in Scottish Theatre. Stellar Quines stimulates, supports and enables women to take control of their professional lives in theatre by producing work of the highest quality.  Stellar Quines Theatre Company have previously toured shows to Shetland.

Shetland Arts Development Agency will receive £156,803 from the Scottish Arts Council towards the cost of foundation funding for 2008/09 to support its role in promoting and developing the arts in Shetland and assisting individual practitioners to achieve their creative potential.

PRESS REVIEWS: Critical Acclaim for Stellar Quines Theatre Company

The Unconquered Winner of the Best New Play for 2007 by the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland. ‘A real explosion of 21st-century theatrical energy, timely, well crafted and unforgettable’ The Scotsman The Reel of the Hanged Man ‘Every now and then a play comes along which is so courageous and so poignant it makes us realise why we go to the theatre’ Scotland on Sunday Critical Acclaim for Perissology Theatre Productions first production Hambledog and the Hopping Clogs

‘A promising debut from Perissology, formed by graduates of Queen Margaret University College.  There is a bit of everything here…an extremely amiable show…’                                                       The Scotsman

‘…Uniformly excellent…’ *****                         Sunday Herald

‘…Delightful…’ ****              Three Weeks

‘… the script is vibrant and delights in playing with language… and the set and costume design have some clever touches…’ *****                                             Edinburgh Guide.com

Recent critical Acclaim for Jemima Levick Beauty and the Beast (Dundee Rep) ‘…the company brilliantly directed by Jemima Levick – simply take the story by the scruff of the neck and turn it into a thrilling piece of theatre.’ The Scotsman

…But overall Levick must take the laurels for pulling this together; her conception of the show is boldly original and full of imaginative touches, she trusts absolutely in the possibility of theatre and the capacity of the audience to be transported by it, and she leaves no one in any doubt as to the moral heart of the story without ever needing to spell it out.             The Times Moonwalking (Oran Mor) ‘…a quietly superb production from Jemima Levick…           The Scotsman

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