HIT MUSICAL PRODUCTION BRINGS ANTI-SECTARIAN MESSAGE BACK TO THE STAGE

Back by popular demand – Divided City

Earlier this year a cast of 40 Glasgow secondary pupils took to the stage to perform the World Premiere of the stage adaptation of Theresa Breslin’s award-winning novel, Divided City.

crackingly fine musical staging…with the energy of whole-hearted team spirit” The Herald.

Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences in May this year, which included almost 1,000 schoolchildren and resulted in an unprecedented demand for tickets, the production is being re-staged to ensure even more young people have an opportunity to hear the show’s message of tolerance and friendship. 

Glasgow City Council and the Citizens Theatre collaborated on this new musical theatre project as part of Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative programme and features an original score composed by Claire McKenzie. The novel explores religious tension in Glasgow through a gripping tale about two boys, one Celtic fan, one Rangers fan, who must find their own answers in a divided world.

In addition to four public performances, 1800 Glasgow school children will see the show for free, thanks to support from the council’s Sense Over Sectarianism initiative.

Divided City has been shortlisted for 10 different children’s book awards and is studied widely by schoolchildren. Author Theresa Breslin is delighted to see it return to the stage:
“Divided City is one of my most popular and talked about books and is very close to my heart. I couldn’t have imagined a better world premiere than at the Citizens Theatre, which for me is the natural home of Divided City. From the first bar of the opening number, the young people’s energy and talent enthralled the theatre. I can’t wait to see it again.”

Divided City was adapted for the stage by Martin Travers and is directed by Guy Hollands and Elly Goodman.

The production is one of a kind, as Director, Guy Hollands explains:
“Religious intolerance and sectarianism are issues that continue to affect young people in Glasgow today and we believe that drama provides a unique way of exploring those conflicts. Not only did the participants benefit from the experience of taking part in a fully-staged production on the main stage of the Citizens Theatre, but evaluation undertaken as part of the project demonstrates a tangible shift in attitude and the response from audiences far exceeded our expectations. We’re incredibly proud of this production and are delighted to see it re-staged with our partners at Glasgow City Council so that more audiences and young people can hear its powerful message.” 

Bailie Jean McFadden, Executive Member for Education, said:
“This is a wonderful production and an innovative use of song and dance to get an important message across to young people. For the last decade excellent anti-sectarian work has been developed and delivered in Glasgow schools and across our communities.  This includes the use of Divided City as a resource in many of our schools and I know that many youngsters will now be delighted to see this unique show. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the pupils who get the chance to take part. Glasgow City Council will continue to develop work which explores the values and attitudes that underpin sectarianism in our city and challenge and change behaviour inherent in sectarianism.  It is important that we all work together towards creating a society where everyone feels respected and valued.”

The Youth Music Initiative is funded by Creative Scotland and supports more than 300 projects each year.  Dave McDonald, Youth Arts Manager for Creative Scotland, said: 
“This production is a powerful example of how the arts can explore social issues that many of the young performers and their families may be faced with. Creativity plays a vital role in children and young people’s development, it allows them to explore and learn about a broad range of issues whilst at the same time developing their musical and acting skills. This production is one of a number of fantastic music projects that forms part of Glasgow City Council’s youth music initiative programme. Its wide reach ensures that it’s engaging with all communities across Glasgow, UNESCO City of Music, including those who may not always have an opportunity to access and participate in the arts. The participants may discover a lifetime musical passion but if they don’t then the experience, memories and thrill of performing on stage at one of Glasgow’s most iconic venues will certainly stay with them forever.’

- ENDS -

Further information, interviews or review tickets:
For the Citizens Theatre:
Cat McNaught | Marketing Manager | 0141 418 6233 | cat@citz.co.uk
For Glasgow City Council and Sense Over Sectarianism:
Fiona Ross | Public Relations Officer | 0141 287 0918 | fiona.ross@glasgow.gov.uk
For Theresa Breslin:
0141 775 0580 | breslinweb@ntlworld.com

Notes to Editors
• Theresa Breslin is available for interview
• Tickets for these performances will go on sale on Tuesday 22 November, 2011.

Listings
Tue 31 January – Sat 4 February 2012
Public performances: Thu 2 – Fri 3 Feb, 7.30pm; Sat 4 Feb, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Schools performances only: Tue 31 Jan 1pm; Wed 1 Feb 10am & 1.30pm; Fri 3 Feb 1pm
Box Office: 0141 429 0022 | citz.co.uk

Press performance: Thu 2 Feb, 7.30pm
*please note this is a non-professional production performed by Glasgow schoolchildren

Creative Team
Written by Theresa Breslin
Adapted by Martin Travers
Directed by Guy Hollands and Elly Goodman
Original music by Claire McKenzie
Designed by Carter Ferguson

A short film about the production is available to view on the Citizens Theatre’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swXAFwf-Rrg

The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland. The Citizens company was founded in 1943 by James Bridie and the Citizens Theatre was permanently established in 1945. Since then it has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres. The Theatre has a strong reputation for delivering a pioneering range of creative participatory projects and places a special emphasis on work with children, young people and socially excluded adults.  By placing arts, culture and creativity at the heart of learning the theatre seeks to provide opportunities at the theatre and in communities and schools across Scotland, for young people and adults to engage with drama.

DIVIDED CITY, published in 2005 by Random House Children’s Books is a story of prejudice and friendship following two boys on and off the football pitch. It has won two major literary awards, been shortlisted for a further eight and garnered critical acclaim. In 2008, it was chosen for the Irish One Book Cross Border Community Reading Project funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.

Theresa Breslin is the critically acclaimed multi-award winner author of over 30 books for young people whose work has appeared on television and radio and is read world-wide in many languages. A former mobile librarian, Theresa won the Carnegie Medal for Whispers in the Graveyard, her compelling novel about a dyslexic boy, and this year won the Carnegie Medal Children’s vote. Recently one of her books set the Guinness UK record for the longest Reading Chain. In Divided City, Theresa dedicates “This book is for Glasgow.”  Visit www.theresabreslin.co.uk or www.facebook.com/theresabreslinauthor .

The Youth Music Initiative was established in 2003 to put music at the heart of young people’s lives and learning. It’s delivered by Creative Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government who will maintain their commitment next year with a further investment of £10m to bring the total to £77.5million. Each year the YMI supports over 300 projects covering all musical genres, age groups (0-25yrs) and teaching methods. Scotland’s primary school children now have access to one year’s free music tuition through the YMI. 

PARTICIPANT AND AUDIENCE FEEDBACK

“I had a great time the production was brill. I’m a very proud mum and Glasgow has very talented kids!”  Kelly Herity.

“I enjoyed this so much. Projects like these are so important because they give young people the chance to experience new things and make new friends. This will stay with me forever.”  Participant.

“I love how, not only do we learn how serious sectarianism is, we also get to act it out and show others.” Participant.

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