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Maddison has written a blog about her experiences as Poppy in Shetland Youth Theatre's 2018 production The Free9.

When I first read through the script of The Free9 I was quite surprised. It is an immensely powerful story, with a whole range of emotions throughout. The play is based on a true story about nine North Korean teenagers and their efforts to try and escape the cruel regime in the north for freedom in South Korea.

The production has been a journey for me and for everyone else involved. It has serious themes and heartbreaking stories but, it also shows that the characters are still real people who can have a happy few moments, too. Although the storyline is deep, everyone involved enjoys doing it. After a particularly hard scene, someone will always come with something that will instantly lighten everyone's mood.

There is so much hard work that has gone into this production such as Izzy Swanson making sure the stage set is perfect and helping us all get into character with our costumes. Molly Williams, who is in the play, has also choreographed a K-Pop dance routine for us. The cast are all a happy, unique bunch and bring each of their talents so well to the play. Then, there is our director, John Haswell. He is fantastic at bringing the production together and makes sure that everyone shines. He often makes us laugh and tries his hardest to make this play the best.

All of us are very excited to get to perform in Lerwick, then in April we will perform at the Eden Court theatre in Inverness. As well as performing there we will take part in workshops. This is all possible as part of the National Theatre Connections 2018 and hopefully it will be an amazing experience!

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