Covid-19 – Theatre/Events responses & information

As of March 16th, the Scottish Government advises a policy to protect the capacity of our public services, advising that organisers should cancel or postpone all mass events of 500 people or more – indoors or outdoors.

Below is an ongoing list of Scottish Theatre & events venues which have provided their stance on the matter, with many revaluating constantly in accordance with government advice and the safety of the public and their staff paramount. This page will seek to guide, inform and update readers to which venues remain open, have cancelled events (which should be checked on their respective websites, or have gone dark (closed).

If you have purchased tickets for events or production in the coming weeks/months, we recommend you get in contact with the representatives of the theatres. Box office numbers and website listings for an email address and contact details are below. Please bear in mind the difficult time for these companies, with staff working their hardest to support audiences, talent and each other. The person at the other end of your enquiry is potentially about to have no job for the foreseeable future.

Edinburgh & Lothians:

Assembly RoxyBox Office: 0131 623 3030 – www.assemblyfestival.com
Current Status: Dark

Bedlam Theatre https://bedlamtheatre.co.uk
Current Status: Events cancelled

The BruntonBox Office: 0131 665 2240 – www.thebrunton.co.uk
Current Status: Dark

Church Hill Theatre www.assemblyroomsedinburgh.co.uk
Current Status: Shows postponed

The Festival Theatre & The King’s Theatre Box Office 0131 529 6000www.capitaltheatres.com
Current Status: Dark – Shows have been cancelled or postponed for March and April.

The Playhouse – Box Office: 0844 871 3014 – www.atgtickets.com
Current Status: Dark

The Royal Lyceum Theatre – Box Office 0131 248 4848 – https://lyceum.org.uk
Current Status: Dark as of March 17th, still taking bookings for April & May productions

Scottish Storytelling Centre – 0131 556 9579 https://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.com/
Current Status: Show Cancellation

Summerhall – Box Office 0131 560 1581 – https://www.summerhall.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

The Traverse Theatre – Box office: 0131 228 1404www.traverse.co.uk
Current Status: Dark

Glasgow:

Glasgow Tramway – Box Office 0845 330 3501 – https://www.tramway.org/Pages/home.aspx
Current Status: Dark

King’s Theatre Royal – Contact Info 0844 871 7648 – https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre-glasgow/info/
Current Status: Dark

Òran Mór – Contact Into 0141 357 6200 – https://oran-mor.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

The Pavilion Theatre – Box Office 0141 332 1846 – https://www.paviliontheatre.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

The Royal Conservatoire Scotland – Box Office +44 (0) 141 332 5057 – https://www.rcs.ac.uk/coronavirus-faqs/
Current Status: Suspending productions until further notice

The Tron Theatre – Box Office 0141 552 4267 – https://www.tron.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

Aberdeen

Aberdeen Performing Arts: Encompassing The Lemon Tree, His Majesty’s Theatre and The Music Hall – 01224 641122 – https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/coronavirus/
Current Status: Dark until further notice

The Trivoli Theatre – Contact Number 01224 592755 – https://thetivolitheatre.com/
Current Status: Dark

Dundee and Perthshire:

Dundee Rep – Box Office 01382 223530 – https://www.dundeerep.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

The Space – https://www.dundee.com/activity/space
Current Status: Dark

Perth Theatre & Concert Hall – Box Office 01738 621031 – https://www.horsecross.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

Fife:

The Adam Smith Theatre – Box Office 01592 583302 – https://www.onfife.com/venues/adam-smith-theatre
Current Status: Show Cancellations

The Alhambra Theatre – Box Office 01383 740 384 – https://alhambradunfermline.com/
Current Status: Show Cancellations

The Byre Theatre – Box Office 01334 475000 – https://byretheatre.com/
Current Status: Dark, starting March 15th until May 31st

Rothes Hall – Box Office 01592 611101https://www.onfife.com/venues/rothes-halls
Current Status: Show Cancellations

Stirling:

The Macroberts Art Centre –  01786 466666https://macrobertartscentre.org/
Current Status: Dark

Ayr:

The Gaiety Theatre – Box Office 01292 288235 – https://thegaiety.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

Greenock:

The Beacon Arts Centre – 01475 723 723https://www.beaconartscentre.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

Highlands:

Eden Court – Box Office 01463 234 234 – https://eden-court.co.uk/news/statement-on-covid-19-coronavirus
Current Status: Dark

Pitlochry Festival Theatre – Box Office +44 (0)1796 484 626 – https://pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com/
Current Status: Dark (Temporarily)

Dumfries:

The Theatre Royal – Box Office 01387 254209 – https://www.theatreroyaldumfries.co.uk/
Current Status: Dark

Honourable Mention:

The Royal & Derngate (Theatre & Cinema) – Box Office: 01604 624811 – https://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/
Curent Status: Dark

This page shall update if & when information is received, in the meanwhile stay safe, smart and support your local arts. They’re going to need it in the coming months.

Downs With Love – Assembly Roxy

Written by Suzanne Loftus

Photo Credit to Alan Peebles

Downs With Love is a frank, open conversation about the way we look at the capabilities, emotions and safeguarding of those with Down’s Syndrome; specifically, in the contexts of relationships. Abi Brydon plays a young woman named Beth. Beth is vivacious, independent and has intense happiness for life most of us would envy. Yet, she cannot even make a cup of tea without being asked: “Can you do that yourself?”

Her new support worker Tracy (Katy Milne) encourages Beth to venture outside more. Though fully capable of catering to her own day-to-day needs, Beth finds it challenging to engage in a world which has previously shown nothing but bullying and ridicule. On an outing to the pub, Beth makes a passing comment of a ‘special someone’ – a musician called Mark. She has a crush, yet so do Mark and Tracy. The two begin a relationship – hiding it from Beth – stating that while uncomfortable, it’s the best thing for her.

Following their successful Fringe run in 2017, Cutting Edge Theatre was awarded a People’s Project grant.This not only allowed for a touring production, but has also given then the opportunity of a wider audience and the chance to connect further with those living with learning disabilities. Suzanne Lofthus’s script is less designed to push the audience’s acceptance of Down’s and more concerned about questions of love, relationships and what we consider ‘acceptable’.

Brydon holds her own while onstage, with her performance given the respect deserving of a passionate performer. She captures the frustrations we all feel when we’re doubted, made to feel we aren’t capable of achieving anything. Working with writer and director Lofthus, she and Brydon base the character of Beth on many of Brydon’s own experiences growing up with Down’s Syndrome. Downs With Love documents the bullying, disappointments and fight to be acknowledged that Brydon herself has faced. Her closing monologue, which the entire production has been building towards, is a sublime, hard-hitting speech that encourages the audience to confront their own apprehensions around people like her.

Brydon wants to communicate her tires and frustrations with the odd glances and cruel words. More though, she addresses the issue of love and disability, an issue which causes unease in people. That there is no reason for her not to seek love and connection. One question she challenges us with is whether would we feel uncomfortable if someone with Down’s was to date someone without the condition? It’s a question Stephen Arthur’s character Mark has put to him, handling the subject in an admirable, if glossed over, manner.

Serving as the audience’s representative, so to speak, Milne and Arthur together offer natural and realistic individuals. Their decisions to not speak with Beth upfront, to pander to her emotions and frequently question Beth’s capabilities feel uncomfortably familiar. It’s an entirely human response to act overbearing when we don’t fully understand someone.

The choreography, while not entirely necessary, serves a clear theme of repetition and schedule. Scenes are dedicated to Beth’s insistence on routine; bathing, brushing her teeth, going to college, which all indicate a passage of time in the production. Gradually, the group movements evolve as Katie and Mark begin to grow closer, flirting and touching. Here movement plays a role, communicating the isolation Beth is reliving as the pair focus on themselves and not her.

Anyone with relatives or friends who have Down’s Syndrome will recognise the creativity in Downs With Love. A tremendous amount of feeling has been put into this production, by Brydon herself more than anyone. It wears its heart on its sleeve, taking chances but refraining from pushing its audience too far into uneasiness. An emotional piece, Downs With Love rightfully deserves its funding to reach a wider audience

Review originally published for Wee Review https://theweereview.com/review/downs-with-love/

Production touring: http://cuttingedgetheatre.co.uk/portfolio/downs-with-love/

What Girls are Made Of @ Traverse Theatre

Image Contribution:
Mihaela Bodlovic

Writer: Cora Bisset

Director: Orla O’LoughlinR

Can you smell the chippy? Visualise the iconic image of Patti Smith’s ‘looks could kill’ photo? What about the stale sweat of a grunge bands’ van? Well, after Scottish theatrical wonder Cora Bisset’s autobiographical gig What Girls Are Made Of you’ll have no issues doing so. The multi-layered performance sees Bisset’s history on a different stage, as the 17-year-old lead singer of Fife-born band Darlingheart. A Scottish band which shot for fame, only for its fingers to slip on the edges of glory.

Performed as a gig within a gig, Bisset starts off by offering a minimal background of information. Clippings of her early reviews found in the family home, but as much as this may be centred around Bisset, it rings of family, failure and growth – not only for her, but for all women.

In a manner which would make Patti Smith proud – no one is going to tell Bisset what to do, or what she is worth. Her performance is engaging, connecting immediately with the audience. Vocally, the pipes are still belting away with the deliverance of grunge edge with early Britpop tones. Aside from physical performance, the writing of What Girls Are Made Of is exceptional. Its subtlety is hidden amidst the emotional bricks hurled into the audience. Small touches, not even noticeable pelt like trucks when landed. Her sculpting of language, even in simple sentences, resonates audibly with the audience.

The plethora of encounters had by Bisset and her bandmates are caricatured by performers Susan Bear, Simon Donaldson and Harry Ward. On top of developing exaggerated personas of managers, famous musicians and old school chums, the trio performs as the live band. Talented – particularly Susan Bear, who some may recall as part of Glaswegian band Tuff Love. With Orla O’Loughlin’s energetic direction Ward’s characterisations from Cora’s mother to school bully is hysterical in dedication, yet emotionally developed.

Whilst a time capsule of Bisset’s experience with the band, What Girls Are Made Of serves the here and now. It crosses generations, despite its roots in the sweat-stained walls of grunge. Bisset has made her life accessible for the next generation. Those who have never (tragically) heard of Patti Smith, hell even those too young to recognise Radiohead are still communicated with. That mistakes, regardless of the pain, are inevitable. Mistakes shape our lives – arguably more so than success.

Just when the superficial surface of the production seems to be piling beyond the scope of biography, the pathos is sucker punched into the gut. It hits hard, harder than expected. Testimony to Bisset’s writing, as well as performance. This autobiography isn’t just the life of Cora Bisset as Cora Bisset – but as a woman. The shifting dreams she has had from the outlandish indie star to the wholesome and arguably simplistically human. Bisset spoke to a wide variety of people in the audience this evening, in particular, the women who have found themselves crying in the bathroom stalls, pounding their heads in musical bliss or standing defiantly against the crowds.

Success often pushes us forward; mistakes turn our heads back to where we came from. Cora Bisset utilises her past skills as an indie star to sculpt a form of gig – theatre to tell her story marvellously. What Girls Are Made Of is a sharing lesson of female resilience, coming to grips with failure and remembering our families. More though, as a piece of theatre it is performed adeptly with a myriad of impressive techniques through capable people. And from one Fifer to another, Bisset made me miss Kirkcaldy. A sentence never before put to print.

What Girls Are Made Of at the Traverse until April 20th. Continues on tour:
http://www.corabissett.co.uk/what-girls-are-made-of.html

Review originally published for Reviews hub:
https://www.thereviewshub.com/what-girls-are-made-of-traverse-theatre-edinburgh-2/