Edinburgh and Lothians represented at NTS Exchange 2016 international theatre festival

In July, over 100 young theatre makers aged from 16 -25 from Scotland, New Zealand and the USA will converge on Stirling’s Macrobert Arts Centre as part of National Theatre of Scotland’s Exchange 2016 international theatre festival presented in partnership with Macrobert Arts Centre. Participating companies include Macrobert Arts Centre’s own young company, Macrobert Collective, alongside Epic NEXT from New York City, Massive Nui Ensemble from Auckland, Beacon Youth Theatre from Inverclyde, Collision from Buckhaven, Eden Court Collective from Inverness, Ignite Theatre from Glasgow with Edinburgh and Lothians being represented by Firefly Arts from West Lothian, and Edinburgh companies Creative Electric and Strange Town.

Firefly Arts provides theatre, film and arts activity in venues across West Lothian, working with over 300 children and young people each week with a programme that embraces classic and contemporary text, new writing, devised, physical and multi-media work.

Strange Town is a performing arts company for 5-25 year olds based at Out of the Blue in Leith, Edinburgh has to date produced 70 original plays written by young, emerging writers that have reached large audiences in major Scottish venues to critical acclaim.

Creative Electric is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning theatre company that creates contemporary performance based on real experiences with an socio political slant. They aim to engage with young people who may not traditionally attend arts events by producing theatre in non-traditional spaces and are currently working with a group of young men aged 16-24 to explore the themes of fragility and masculinity through verbatim and physical theatre.

Thanks to financial and artistic support from NTS, participants are encouraged to take risks in the creation of a brand new piece of theatre by taking part in an intensive residential programme of creative learning including movement, devising, visual art, sound design, stand-up comedy, improvisation, clowning, emotional memory that will result in performances where audiences have the chance to enjoy new devised work. The 2016 programme presents ten new stories of love, life and identity, painting pictures of the world as seen through the eyes of the young people of today that include elements of movement, verbatim, music, comedy and video projection. Over the past few months each group has been given access to leading creative artists such as acclaimed stand-up comedian and writer Viv Gee; Associate Artist at Fish & Game Theatre and clown doctor with Hearts and Minds, Fiona Manson; former CEO of Youth Theatre Arts Scotland and Scotland’s first National Youth Arts Strategy, “Time To Shine” Colin Bradie and choreographer and movement director, Brigid McCarthy.

Previous years’ participants’ comments ranged from it being “An incredible seven days, life-changing.” to “The opportunity to meet with others, particularly from abroad and see the difference and similarities in creative works.” to “Experiencing new types of theatre, meeting new people and having fun.” and “It means I get to do something I love, learn different techniques and make new friends to share the experience with.”

National Theatre of Scotland's Learning and Outreach Manager Gillian Gourlay says, “From its inception in 2006, I have been delighted to see how not only the festival itself has grown and flourished, …. Exchange is an opportunity for everyone to bring something with them to the festival as well as to go away with not just new skills and experiences, but genuine friendships too - and you just can’t buy that.”

Join the conversation: #Exchange2016

Tue 5 – Sat 9 July, 7.30pm + 9.00pm £6 full price / £4 concessions macrobertsartscentre.org and 01786 466666
Tuesday 5th July
7.30pm: Bloody Girls by Firefly Arts (West Lothian)
9.00pm: You + Me, Us + Them by Ignite Theatre (Glasgow)
Wednesday 6th July
7.30pm: Only the Brave by Strange Town (Edinburgh)
9.00pm: Hector Moray by Beacon Youth Theatre (Greenock, Inverclyde)
Thursday 7th July
7.30pm: Fragility by Creative Electric (Edinburgh)
9.00pm: Typecast by Eden Court Collective (Inverness, Highlands)
Friday 8th July
7.00pm: The Island by Massive Nui Ensemble (Auckland, New Zealand)
9.00pm: 10467 by Epic NEXT (New York City, USA)
Saturday 9th July
7.00pm: The Tide Creeps In by Collision (Buckhaven, Fife)
9.00pm: The Observer Effect by Macrobert Collective (Stirling, Forth Valley)