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Media release:

A major theatre event is being performed in Yell tonight and tomorrow night. The members of Shetland Youth Theatre are combining with those from YUF Theatre Shetland to perform Blackout by Glasgow writer Davey Anderson.

The production is being performed as part of New Connections the celebration of youth theatre organised by the National Theatre. Every year, the National commissions leading contemporary playwrights to create a piece specifically for youth groups. Participating companies perform these in their home communities and at regional showcases. Both SYT and YUF have participated individually in the past, presenting work in Inverness, Helsinki, Edinburgh and London. This is the first time they have pooled their talents to perform a show.

Blackout has been created from interviews between the playwright and a young offender in Glasgow. Using many of the techniques of verbatim theatre it tells the young man’s view of his own journey that leads to him being charged with attempted murder. It is a short, hard hitting (literally) play that raises deep questions about society, youth identity, violence and the justice system. Lesley Gray from Yell Youth Café (partners with Shetland Arts) said “although the show is based around the experiences of one young man, there are many resonances with the lives of all young people. It is just the right piece to stimulate discussion between young people and it is wonderful that the groups could combine on this production. The play also demands that before we rush in with condemnation, the rest of us question the world that is our legacy to the young.”

This is by no means a traditional script, being the (true or deluded) thoughts of one individual. To emphasise this, the company has taken many of the conventions of theatre and turned them on their head. It is hoped that the result will be a ‘performance installation’ as much as a theatre production. Director John Haswell said “part of the role of a youth theatre is to explore different forms of theatre presentation. This show is an ideal vehicle for that. We have adopted an approach that should really bring the material home to an audience as well as broadening the vision of how relevant and accessible theatre can be”.

Blackout is being performed at Mid Yell Hall. It is hoped that it will be performed in Lerwick in May before transferring to the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh in June.

The show lasts just over 20 minutes and there are two performances each night at 7.30 and 8.15. Seating capacity is limited and although admission is free (collection box towards cost of the Edinburgh trip) booking is advisable. Bookings can be made from Shetland Box Office on Lerwick 745555. Because of the content, it is advised that the production is suitable for a teenage/adult audience.

ends Editor’s Notes

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.

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