January 25, 2016


The National Theatre of Scotland’s first international program of participatory performing arts, culminating in a festival of public performance and a symposium for the international participatory arts community, October 8 – 13, 2016 in Tramway, Glasgow

[GLASGOW, SCOTLAND– January 25, 2016]—Ten years on from its inaugural, trailblazing production Home, the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) presents Home Away, an international program celebrating participatory arts practice and performance. This project, spanning five continents, sees the National Theatre of Scotland partner with theatre artists and community arts organizations from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Brisbane (Australia), Chicago (USA), New Delhi (India) and Kingston (Jamaica). These five organizations will come together with five companies from Scotland, including Artlink (Edinburgh), a new Highlands Gaelic arts collective (Uist) and the Bangladeshi Association of Glasgow.

As part of the program, ten original theatre pieces, commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland, will be created by professional artists working with community participants. Each production will premiere within the community where it has been created and will be subsequently showcased at the Home Away festival in Glasgow in October 2016.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s launch project, Home, invited ten Scottish communities to explore the meaning of belonging and identity within a particular region of Scotland in 2006, ten years on, Home Away asks participating groups from five different continents to consider their place in the world, at a time when the boundaries of “Home” are being increasingly stretched by geopolitical, social and cultural forces. Alongside a programme of new theatre productions, the Home Away festival will host a participatory performance arts symposium and practical workshops for leading organizations, practitioners, artists, funders, policy makers and commentators from around the world. Symposium events will take place by day, with a double-bill of performances scheduled for each evening.

Within its first decade, the National Theatre of Scotland has built an international reputation for its pioneering approach to participatory theatre projects. The Company is now in a position to lead an international project involving some of the world’s most dynamic and highly regarded artists and organisations involved in this socially and artistically important field of theatre practice.

Participating companies, countries and theatre projects include:

Chicago, USA: Theatre director and Fulbright Fellow Sarah Rose Graber will lead Adventure Stage Chicago, a theatre company based at the Northwestern Settlement, a community service organization for immigrants and those battling poverty. They will create a piece exploring the ways immigrants establish a sense of home in a multi-cultural community that seeks to integrate.

Sarah Rose Graber, named “One of 15 Women to Watch in 2015” by Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, trained at Northwestern University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. As a Circumnavigator Scholar she traveled through Europe, Africa, Australia, and South America researching theatre for social change and making work with marginalized communities. Winner of a US-UK Fulbright award to explore innovative devising practices, she has worked with National Theatre of Scotland, Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, punchdrunk, Fuel, the LIFT festival, and Edinburgh Fringe.
“The opportunity to team up with NTS and bring these deeply human stories to an international forum featuring communities from across the globe is thrilling,” said Graber. “The arts are an essential vehicle for change and Home Away has created a platform for us to advocate for and value the voices that don’t get heard. I’ll be working with immigrant and below poverty line communities as we come together through music, movement, stories and the hope of finding a better life.”

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Led by world-renowned theatre and circus director Renato Rocha, a new piece will be created with participants from two Rio favelas, working alongside companies Nós do Morro and AfroReggae.

Brisbane, Australia: Working with participants from isolated Aboriginal communities in Brisbane, award-winning Aboriginal hip hop artist and facilitator Fred Leone will lead a traditional coroboree (a type of Aboriginal ceilidh). Tribe elders and young people will come together to dance, sing, tell stories and produce new forms of expression. Fred’s group will then bring the outcomes to Scotland, to share this model of intergenerational dialogue.

New Delhi, India: The Yuva Ekta Foundation works to integrate street kids into society through placements in their theatre company. Led by director Puneeta Roy, the company will engage with a slum community where youth crime rates are particularly high. They have connected with the mothers and siblings of the youth offenders to explore the impact of unemployment, drugs and crime on their lives.

Kingston, Jamaica: Pioneering social enterprise Manifesto JA work with young men in the shanty towns of Kingston. Based on the National Theatre of Scotland’s 2012 Jump project, which used parkour and physical theatre as a creative platform for young men in Fife and the East End of Glasgow, Manifesto’s group have started work on a production called Run Free, which will be developed and refined before coming to Scotland.

Edinburgh, Scotland: Acclaimed arts and disability organisation Artlink will work with an isolated elderly community identified as “hard of hearing.” Using music as a stimulus, the artists will find a way in which the group can create and curate a musical performance to share with other isolated elderly people.

Uist and Glasgow, Scotland: Artists Rona MacDonald, Gillebride MacMillan and Judy Parrott will work with Glasgow-based director John Binnie to explore the relationship between Island and Urban Gaels, using a traditional ceilidh as their format. This production will connect with the Aboriginal coroboree, as they explore similar issues around the indigenous people’s relationship with the land and the effects of displacement.

Glasgow, Scotland: The Bangladeshi community in Glasgow has a proud cultural tradition which, as they settle into their third generation of relocating to Scotland, promotes humanitarian values of equality and peace. They feel a growing responsibility to share their story and highlight the positive possibilities for new migrants arriving in Scotland. The Bangladeshi Association of Glasgow has invited Sudip Chakraborthy, Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Dhaka, to work with their community to explore the connections between “Home” and “Away.” Their production will be based on verbatim stories from three migrant families who settled in Glasgow over 40 years ago.

Two additional Scottish groups to be confirmed.

National Theatre of Scotland Associate Director Simon Sharkey says:

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to share and explore our humanity and our place in the world. Our sense of who we are, where we come from and where we belong is being challenged every day. I am terrifically excited by the artists and communities who have agreed to join us in an exploration of who we might become.”

Northwestern Settlement President Ron Manderschied states:

“Immigrants are often the hardest hit by obstacles of poverty and isolation, and settlements like ours have been working for over a century to nurture, educate and inspire many of these newcomers. To accomplish this, we serve the whole person. For example, our theater program, Adventure Stage Chicago, uses the power of stories to explore civic engagement and social justice. While the faces have changed over the years, the challenges confronting the families we serve are as profound as they were over a century ago.”

Tickets for Home Away will go on sale in April 2016.

This program is supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

To register interest in attending the symposium, please email your name and contact details to homeaway@nationaltheatrescotland.com.

More about the National Theatre of Scotland: nationaltheatrescotland.com.

About ASC: adventurestage.org.

About Northwestern Settlement: northwesternsettlement.org.

Carol Moran
Adventure Stage Chicago
773.969.5554 (o)