Shetland Youth Theatre has never been afraid to present productions in unusual settings. Over the past 16 years venues have included, Busta House, Voe House gardens, Scalloway Woollen Mill, Scalloway Castle, Leasks Garage and The North Star. Next week however, the company is taking on its most ambitious challenge to date as it performs a show in the Former Shore Station at Ness of Sound.
The piece being performed is More Light by the major contemporary playwright Bryony Lavery whose show Beautiful Burnout with the National Theatre of Scotland is presently stunning audiences in Edinburgh. More Light is the companion piece to Red Sky which Shetland Youth Theatre performed 3 years ago in Scallloway, Edinburgh and at the National Theatre in London. Set in the tomb of the first emperor of China it focuses on the concubines buried alive in the tomb to accompany their master on his journey through death’s gates.
Talking about the production and the choice of venue, Shetland Arts' Drama Development Officer and director John Haswell explained; “More Light is a beautiful play that examines how a group of young women discover a sense of liberation and empowerment in the most appalling of circumstances. Although tragic, it is also an affirmation of the ability of these women to create an alternative world based upon art rather than the grandiose megalomania of the emperor. The play is both epic and intimate. As it is set in a tomb, the company wanted to perform in a venue that embraced the audience in the alien surroundings. It would have been too easy to perform at the Garrison. The old fish tank at the former Shore Station is hugely exciting. It is a massive space with a fascinating acoustic. The cast will be in the tank for the whole length of the production with the audience on the outside looking in. There is a sense of the audience being voyeurs as they witness the women’s situation, and also of being archaeologists looking into the past.”
The cast of 30 young actors have been working intensively for several weeks on this production and an equally intensive amount of work has been done behind the scenes to ensure that the environment is ready for such a special event. Shetland Arts is keen to stress however that More Light is an outdoor production and that audience members should wear suitable clothing. The audience will also be standing for the 90 minute duration of the play although there will be limited seating for those with specific needs.
“All we need now is some good weather” said a member of the company
Weather permitting, More Light will be performed from Thursday (26th August) until Sunday (29th August) and tickets priced £8 / £6 (concessions) are available from Shetland Box Office (01595 745555).