Scottish Independence play for school pupils

Youngsters are making a drama out of a constitutional crisis. Picture: comp
Youngsters are making a drama out of a constitutional crisis. Picture: comp
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TARTAN-CLAD dinner ladies serve haggis for breakfast, lunch and tea while it’s a radio blackout for the “too English” One Direction.

Welcome to Scottish Independence – as performed by a company of pint-sized actors.

Dubbed Aye or No?, the satirical play boasts a cast of 20 young children from schools across Leith and splits the audience into Yes and No camps from the off.

Spectators of a similar political hue sit divided on opposite sides of the auditorium but can cross the floor at the end if swayed by the characters on stage.

Play director Andrea McKenzie, 33, said she wanted to showcase a children’s perspective of the fiery Scottish independence question.

“We hear a lot about the referendum debate from both sides but all I hear is ‘what’s in it for me’?” she said. “No one was talking about what it means for kids looking at it from their point of view and what it means for their future,”

“The play features live Scottish music and may be quite patriotic at times, but the main message we are trying to achieve is that we should all be proud of ourselves and of Scotland – irrespective of whether you think it should remain part of the UK or not.”

Scoring the performance are classic anthems like Flower of Scotland but there are political twists given to choruses of traditional nursery rhyme such as: ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’, which becomes ‘Go Go Go to Vote’.

Ms McKenzie added: “Of course kids can’t vote but what we are all deciding is these kids’ future and that’s the main issue.”

The budding thespians, aged between five and 13, are all pupils from Victoria, Lorne, Leith, Ferryhill, Buckstone and Stenhouse Primary Schools, many of whom are making their stage debut.

But Emma, five, of Lorne Primary, is an old pro: “I look forward to the drama group every week, I get to do new things like ‘the scarf game’ and doing scenes.” Six-year-old Ally said he feels like he has a “new talent” since joining the drama group and bagged “a good part in the play”.

Proud mum Barbara Yearwood, who has three children performing, said: “They are really excited to perform. They like the subject as they are aware of the independence vote; and they think the songs are funny.”

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said the level of creativity displayed by Aye or No would be “much more likely to continue” on the back of independence vote. “If Scotland votes No, the script and cast governing Scotland would continue to be determined at Westminster,” he said. Pro-union campaigners Better Together declined to comment.

Aye or No? will be performed as part of the Leith Festival on June 20 and 21 at 5.45pm in the Leith Hub.