On Common Ground


25 – 31 July 2014 (no performances on 27 and 28 July)
Gorbals Rose Garden

Meet at the Citizens Theatre from 6.30pm, procession leaves at 7.30pm sharp. Event finishes at 9pm.

A cast of over 150 Glaswegians brought together by the Citizens Theatre will be joined by First Nation storytellers from Canadian Theatre company Debajehmujig to create a landmark outdoor event taking place in the Gorbals from 25 – 31 July 2014 as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.

The Citizens Learning team have recruited the biggest community cast to date including performers, musicians, choir members and volunteers supported by a professional creative team to present five performances in the Gorbals Rose Garden which will be free to audiences.

The show is a celebration of Glasgow’s distinctive cultural identity and the changing face of the Gorbals and an insight into the history, traditions and beliefs of the Debajehmujig Storytellers, a theatre company based in Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Canada. On Common Ground will explore the universal themes of community, family, and the natural world using music, song and live theatre.

Each evening, audiences will gather in the Citizens Theatre foyer to find out more about life on Manitoulin Island through exhibits, music, and arts and crafts. There will then be a 300 strong procession of audience members through the Gorbals with live performances and music lining the route to the Gorbals Rose Garden. There performers, a live band and choir will perform On Common Ground in a specially-built fully accessible performance area.

Describing how the project came about, Co-Director Elly Goodman said “Since meeting Debajehmujig at the International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam in 2011, we knew that we wanted to work together. Our shared commitment to the power of stories that bond communities makes us ideal partners. Through Festival 2014 we have the opportunity to create a spectacular event that celebrates the best of both of our cultures and to connect as commonwealth countries.”

On Common Ground performers have been recruited from call-outs to the public to get involved and from within the wide range of community groups that the Citizens Theatre Learning team works with throughout the year. Rehearsals have been taking place over the past two months to form the On Common Ground cast, orchestra and choir.
Co-Director Neil Packham said “Having just worked with a large community cast for Sports Day on the Citizens’ main stage in June, I’m really looking forward to welcoming even more adults, children and young people to join us as we create this special event. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the huge variety of people that we work with, who come from all walks of life, to come together and produce something really memorable for our local community.”

This large scale community event is the vision of a dedicated professional creative team including Co-Directors Elly Goodman, Neil Packham and Debajehmujig Artistic Director Joe Osawabin, Designer Janis Hart (promenade, puppets, set), Music Director Karen MacIver and Choir Manager Shelly Coyne with costumes designed by Anna Cocciadiferro and the Citizens foyer installation by Neil Haynes.


For more information, interviews and images, or to request tickets, please contact Keren Nicol, Senior Marketing & Press Officer .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 0141 418 6233.

Citizens Theatre and Debajehmujig Storytellers present
Dates: 25 – 26 and 29 – 31 July 2014, 6.30pm

Audio Described and BSL interpreted performances: 29, 30, 31 July
Press Performance: 25 July 6.30pm

Tickets: Free, but must be booked in advance
Telephone: 0141 429 0022
Online booking: citz.co.uk
In person: Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS. 10am – 6pm, Mon – Sat and to 8pm on performance evenings

Directors Elly Goodman and Neil Packham
Debajehmujig Artistic Director Joe Osawabin
Musical Director Karen MacIver
Choir Manager Shelly Coyne
Designer Janis Hart
Debajehmujig Artistic Director Joe Osawabine
Debjehmujig Producer Joahnna Berti
Debajehmujig Elder Jeannette Corbiere Lavell
Debajehmujig Performers: Curtis Kagige (performing as Pukawiis), Bruce Naokwegijig (performing as Chibiabos), Joe Osawabine (performing as Debajehmud), Josh Peltier (performing as Mudjeekawis), Jessica Wilde-Peltier (performing as Sky Woman -Giizhgokwe)

The Citizens Theatre’s Learning team has an international reputation for excellence and in the last decade have successfully managed over 1,000 small, medium and large-scale projects working with a wide range of community groups in Glasgow and further afield. They place particular emphasis on work with marginalised groups and disadvantaged communities.
On Common Ground will bring together many of the groups and organisations that Citizens’ Learning Team work closely with such as Bridging the Gap, Scottish Refugee Council, Turning Point Scotland, Gorbals-based community music initiative Givin’ it Laldie, supported accommodation organisations, Gorbals Healthy Living Network, Gorbals youth project Way to Go Cafe and Gorbals schools amongst others. Many of the participants will have been homeless, had addiction issues or come from challenging environments.

‘De-ba-jeh-mu-jig’ translates as ‘storytellers’ from the Cree and Ojibway language.
Debajehmujig was founded in 1983 by Shirley Cheechoo, a Canadian Cree Artist, playwright, actor and film maker. As a young emerging artist on Manitoulin Island she recognised that Native people, particularly the youth, had no way to see themselves and the stories of their lives reflected in their own communities. From 1983 – 1988 Shirley built an incubator for Aboriginal artists, actors and playwrights originating from Northern reserve communities. Today, the company is located in a multi art creation centre in historic Manitowaning, Manitoulin Island with head offices remaining in Wikwemikong First Nation, Canada’s only Unceded Indian Reserve.

The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a national celebration. Culture 2014 will showcase dance, theatre, music, visual arts, comedy and much more in the run up to and after the Commonwealth Games, with Festival 2014 transforming the Host City at Games time. The Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life, and Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding.


Elly Goodman │Co Director
Elly is the Community Drama Artist at the Citizens Theatre.  She has made theatre and led creative projects with a huge range of community and educational groups for 25 years in Scotland and internationally, collaborating with groups in Sweden, USA ,The Netherlands and Canada . Her work with the Citizens Learning team has enabled her to lead projects and make theatre with asylum-seekers and refugees, adults with addictions and in recovery, homeless organisations, university students, school pupils and prisoners. She has co-directed a number of large scale, main stage community theatre productions alongside her colleague Neil Packham and works with the Citizens Theatre Community Collective. She also co-directed the award winning production of Divided City, working with large scale secondary and primary school pupil casts in Glasgow and in North and South Lanarkshire. She has spent a number of years making theatre in prisons, internationally and in Scotland and is currently working on a three year residency in HMP Barlinnie exploring drama, creative writing and performance with prisoners.

Neil Packham │ Co Director
Neil Packham is the Community Drama Director at the Citizens Theatre. During his 13 years at the theatre he has co-directed large scale community productions on the main stage including Ice Cream Dreams, They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Grapes of Wrath, a community opera On a the Rim of the World and, most recently, co-directed Sports Day with Guy Hollands. He has directed many other studio shows including Fair Friday, My Clydeside Valentine, and annual ‘Wicked Christmas’ productions. He has been involved in international collaborations in Sweden and the Netherlands. He is currently involved in a 3-year residency in HMP Barlinnie with colleague Elly Goodman and was co director with her on Platform 2:10 performed in the prison chapel with a cast of inmates and prison staff.  He works regularly with asylum seekers/refugee groups on projects including Here We Stay and Belong. Neil leads the Citizens Young Co., a theatre company for 18-22 year olds and has directed 14 productions with them, next year they will be celebrating their 10th year. On Common Ground for Festival 2014 is the largest production he has ever been involved in and has opened up many fascinating new challenges.

Janis Hart │ Designer
Janis has designed for many and varied theatre dance and opera productions and worked as an art director in film. Theatre credits include residencies / associations at Plymouth Theatre Royal, Theatr Powys, Worcester Swan Theatre, London Bubble Theatre co, South Hill Park Art Centre and Derby Playhouse and freelance work has included companies and spaces all over Britain. Recent productions have included award winning ‘ Seven Deadly Sins’ for Scottish Opera/ Company Chordelia, and ‘ Dance Derby’ also for Scottish Opera/ Company Chordelia She enjoys working in interesting and unusual spaces - which have included an abandoned hospital in Birmingham, the banks of the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, Methil Docks, and many of London’s urban and green spaces.

Karen MacIver │ Musical Director
When it comes to music, Karen MacIver is a bit of a chameleon – weaving many musical styles into her work and happy to be undefined by genre. Karen started out in her 20’s playing for an all-girl country and western band, then onto jazz and rock tours finding herself two decades later catapulted onstage as pianist with classical orchestras. The On Common Ground Orchestra is the perfect vehicle to get musicians of all kinds together, enjoying the thrill of making great music. Karen sees herself as the arranger of musical ideas discovered together with members of the Orchestra.

Shelly Coyne │Choir Leader
Originally from Devon, with musical spells in Lancaster, Gateshead and Edinburgh along the way, Shelly has been humming and whistling her way up to Glasgow, encouraging everyone she meets along the way, to come and sing! Shelly is the Project Leader of Givin’ it Laldie, a Community Music project routed in the Gorbals and is passionate about the positive impact for individuals and communities of being involved in community singing.

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