19th September 2018
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Play set to challenge prejudices

Shetland Arts launches its new professional theatre residency next week with the Stellar Quines Theatre Company and Perissology Theatre Productions’ Baby Baby.

The play opens in Lerwick before going on a five-week national tour, starting in the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on 4th February.

Adapted from Vivian French’s acclaimed teen novel, Baby Baby raises questions and poses a chal­lenge, demanding that the audience think and rethink their perceptions and prejudices about young people – the way they look and their life choices.

Pinkie and April always see each other about town. They are both 15 but that’s the only thing they have in common. They have different friends, different styles, and different tastes. Or so they think …

Pinkie hangs out on College Green, drinking, smoking fags – and anything else that’s going – with her friends who are pierced up, grunged out, coloured in, and biker booted; while April’s scene is Park Street and the “streetys” in snow white trainers, designer labels and every hair exactly placed.

But, despite their differences, Pinkie and April get under each other’s skin. And somehow, despite everything, they end up together at Tinley Road School for young mums.

Edinburgh-based author French has been writing books and plays for children for the last 35 years, spend­ing most of her early career writing for her own children’s theatre com­pany. Now an established children’s author, with over 200 titles in publi­ca­tion, she is in worldwide demand to run creative writing workshops and appear regularly at book festivals.

French, who has been part of Wordplay, Shetland Arts’ own book festival, said about Baby Baby: “No-one should ever think of ‘teenage mums’ as a category; each has her own story to tell, her life to lead – and in my view, they do it extra­ordinarily well.

While rehearsing the play in Shetland, the company is also mentoring eight young people in theatre skills ranging from directing, to stage management and costume design.

Jacqui Clark of Shetland Arts said: “We are delighted to welcome Stellar Quines and Perissology to the Garrison Theatre and value the work that these respected theatre professionals are undertaking with our young theatre enthusiasts.

“Shetland Arts is committed to developing audiences and ensuring that our community experience of theatre is more than just performance. We are exploring ways to offer pro­fes­sional theatre residency opportun­ities to national Scottish touring companies in order to help us expand and develop skills within our active drama community.”

Baby Baby will open in the Garrison Theatre with a public preview on Friday 30th January and a public performance on Saturday 31st. Tickets for both performances are available from the Shetland Box Office. There will be a schools per­form­ance on Monday 2nd February incorporating an after-show discus­sion, following on from workshops undertaken in schools throughout January through partnership funding from the SIC’s creative links service.