Divided City: New Musical Stage Production

Media Release
9 March 2011
For immediate use

World Premiere of new musical stage production challenges Glasgow’s schoolchildren to confront religious and racial intolerance

The Citizens Theatre and Glasgow City Council Education Services today announce a joint Youth Music Initiative project to stage a new musical theatre production of DIVIDED CITY. Adapted from the novel by award-winning author Theresa Breslin, the show will feature a cast of over 50 school children drawn from Glasgow Secondary Schools. 

This will be the first stage version of the novel which 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.

Two pupils from every secondary school in the city have been invited to form the cast of the production, and, in doing so, reflect the novel’s message of tolerance and friendship. A rigorous rehearsal schedule takes place during March and April leading up to 4 performances at the end of May, including two shows performed to Glasgow primary and secondary schoolchildren. 

The production will feature an original score composed by Claire McKenzie who has received critical acclaim for her recent work on the Citizens Christmas productions.

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 her novel adapted for the stage:
“DIVIDED CITY is one of my most popular and talked about books and is very close to my heart. It’s going to be thrilling to see it on the stage and it will have an authenticity and truth because it’s performed by Glasgow kids themselves.”

Co-produced by the Citizens Theatre, 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. By involving a large cast of S2 schoolchildren it will not only benefit the young people taking part in a fully-staged production on the main stage of the Citizens Theatre but also resonate all the more with the young people who come to watch the show. Theresa’s novel provides us with a great story and with a new musical score written for the project, this will be a high quality production with a powerful message.”

Bailie Jean McFadden, Executive Member for Education, said:
“For the last decade excellent and important 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 and 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:
Fiona Ross | Public Relations Officer | 0141 287 0918 | fiona.ross@glasgow.gov.uk
For Theresa Breslin:
Georgia Lawe | 07780523038 | georgialawe@gmail.com

- Notes to Editors –

• Theresa Breslin is available for interview
• Tickets for these performances will go on sale on Thursday 24 March, 2011.

Public performance: Wed 25 May, 7.30pm
Schools performances only: Thu 26 May, 10am &1pm
Box Office: 0141 429 0022 | citz.co.uk

Press performance: Wed 25 May, 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

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. 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. 

What the press said about DIVIDED CITY & Theresa Breslin

“He was aware of how difficult it might be for them, given their differences in background and culture, but this vibrant mixture was the essence of Glasgow.”

“An outstanding writer… simply superb” THE INDEPENDENT

“Compelling ... this humane and edgy story prickles and nudges the reader towards tolerance and understanding of other communities” TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

“with all her teenage novels, Breslin has a powerful point to make, without telling readers what to think” THE SCOTSMAN

“A cracking good read ... characters we both

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