Drop of Moonshine does elderly tenants a lot of good

TENANTS at an Edinburgh retirement home have been transported back in time with a play showcasing Capital life in the 1950s.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 5:00 am

Moonshine on Leith was inspired by the stories of residents at Bield’s Gordon Court home and follows two hairdressers struggling to run their salon out of the front room of their Leith flat.

Written by playwright Laure Paterson and performed by the Citadel Arts Group, the production draws inspiration from stories submitted by ten tenants from the development to Remembering the Fifties: A Book of Living Memories – an 83-page book that was published locally earlier this year.

Residents were joined by pupils from Abbeyhill Primary School for a sneak preview of the play.

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Liz Hare, director of the Citadel Arts Group, said: “The production was only a snippet, so the next chapter for the group is to perform the finished, full-length play – possibly at Abbeyhill Primary School – with the Gordon Court tenants coming along as guests of honour.

“The whole experience on the day was exciting, especially as the play is based on the real memories of the people viewing it.”

She added: “Laure has done a fantastic job translating this into a very funny, emotive play that really does strike a chord with both the young and the old.”

Featuring real items from the era, including washboards, hairdryers and hair pins, the pupils and tenants were encouraged to share memories, learn colloquial phrases from the time period and discuss how they thought the play would ultimately transpire. One tenant who the play struck a chord with was Mary Mair, who has been a resident at Gordon Court since 2011.

Mary, 85, said she was struck by the realism of the production and was delighted to share it with youngsters from the school.

She said: “It’s so special to see this as every item or story here is someone’s memory.

“I loved having the children here too. It was fantastic to speak to them and see them learn about history – it’s their history after all.”

The memories book featured contributions on various aspects of 1950s life, from nights out dancing in the city’s bustling dance halls, to stories of family and home life and the working day.

Creator Laure said: “I felt everyone was making the play and they were almost making it for me, it was a kind of magic.

“We’re all thinking along the same lines for the ending, but the kids had a more interesting take on how it should finish.”

She added: “I really liked their imagination and I liked how they said it could be a happy ending.

“When we do put this into production, I’m definitely making it a happy ending.”

Moonshine on Leith will now be revised and rewritten for performance around the Capital.