National Theatre of Scotland 5 Minute Theatre June 2011

I have just recovered from watching 18 of the 24 hours of NTS Five Minute Theatre. What a wonderful 24 hours full of hard work, dedication, ideas, creativity, humour, smiles and fun!

I started watching at 5pm and was completely hooked. The online audience were treated to performances from beginners to professionals and everyone inbetween.

The slickness was superb and NTS ran a very tight ship while having a good banter with the online viewers on a live chat box.

There were pieces set in public toilets, gardens, hotels, fields, classrooms, one on a farm, one in a restaurant, one in the school playground and one in a Tesco car park! There was a puppet show using margerine tubs, people dressed as boggle cubes doing the macarena, someone speaking to God on the phone, ladies fighting over a bashed Tunnock’s teacake, a time travelling granny on a scooter and a violin being taken out of a washing machine and hung up to dry.

Knox Academy in Haddington really got themselves involved with five pieces all broadcast live from the school. Well done to Mr Campbell and the staff at Knox for making such an effort – I would have loved my old high school to have had a drama department – Knox pupils you are very lucky indeed! There was a real mix of styles from these groups and the NTS crew reported that there was a fantastic atmosphere in the school.

Something which was very interesting and a bit of a surprise was the amount of theatre coming from Ayr. At one point someone on the live chat said “Ayr seems to be the centre of artistic creativity”. Not the statement you would expect about a town which not so long ago had three vibrant theatres, one of which has now lost its core funding and has gone dark, one that was knocked down and is now a lawn and one which is currently boarded up. Queen Maragaret Academy performed two wonderful pieces live from the Auld Kirk in Alloway; Warcry Productions had recorded a good few interesting pieces in the Club de Mar and a handful of talented actors performed live from Su Casa Cafe including Chris Taylor. Chris is an old youth theatre buddy of mine and one of the great talents to come from the now defunct South Ayrshire Youth Theatre. I strongly believe that Chris Taylor is one to watch and without a doubt he has the potential to make a huge mark on Scottish Theatre. Ayr made its mark during this project and it has made me even more excited that Love Drama is currently based here.

The groups that created the five minute pieces were hugely creative and very brave. There was something there to suit all tastes and the variety was immense.

Being a drama practitioner working in the youth sector I was bowled over by the school and youth theatre performances. There was some beautiful Frantic Assembly inspired perormances from The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen and a wonderful and beautifully filmed piece by Shetland Youth Theatre which was completely captivating. One of my favourites was set in a classroom of a Dundee primary school featuring an amazingly natural young pupil leading a tour of Dundee. The Machan Trust from Glasgow staged three plays written and performed by primary school pupils around the topic of sectarianism which were all brilliant and thought provoking – the Machan Trust seems to be doing some hugely valuable work in Lanarkshire – very inspiring. Cumbernauld Youth Theatre seemed to involve around 50 of its members and of course Love Drama went down very well with the wonderful confidence of our cast noted.

It was a weird, wonderful and inspiring 24 hours and it was an honour to have been a part of it. Such a hugely healthy project for people of all ages to be working together to produce something spectacular and for NTS to have a wonderful ‘anything goes’ attitude to the entries.

Theatre Without Walls it certainly was.

Kirsten McCrossan

Founder & Director

Love Drama