Edinburgh theatre takes flagship project to India

The Traverse Theatre has taken its 'Class Act' education programme to Mumbai.
The Traverse Theatre has taken its 'Class Act' education programme to Mumbai.
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SCOTTISH artists have jetted off to India to inspire the next generation of playwrights as an Edinburgh theatre launches its most ambitious teaching programme to date.

The Traverse Theatre’s flagship Project, Class Act, will be working with schoolchildren in Mumbai to introduce them to theatre and foster a love of the stage from a young age.

Now in its 26th year, the Class Act team has been turning secondary school pupils from diverse backgrounds across Edinburgh into playwrights since 1991.

The new destination marks the furthest afield the project has ever run, having already completed successful launches in both Russia and Ukraine.

Working with Mumbai-based RAGE Productions, artists Nicola McCartney, Stef Smith and Emma Callander will collaborate with Indian artists to turn a group of 64 secondary school students from the city into playwrights.

The students will take part in playwright-led workshops and script development sessions, creating, developing, rehearsing and producing plays which speak to the world in which they all live.

Their work will then be performed by professional actors before a live audience on January 23 and 24 at the city’s Prithvi Theatre.

Sunniva Ramsay, Traverse Theatre’s creative producer (Learning), said the scheme provided young people with the chance to explore their creative voices.

She said: “Not only do these young writers create plays, but also provocations, inspiring Traverse playwrights, directors and actors with their creativity and unique perceptions of the world.

“Working with young people from across Mumbai will be an exciting and enriching experience and we’re delighted to be working with RAGE Productions to find out what the young people of Mumbai want to say, right now.”

Playwright and director Nicola McCartney added: “Class Act is a project which, in my experience, changes lives for young people involved.

“Every time I do the project it changes mine. I am thrilled to be part of this team, and look forward to learning from theatre artists in Mumbai and most of all the young people we will work with together.”

Class Act Mumbai is part of the British Council’s UK/India 2017 season and is supported by the British Council, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Since starting in Edinburgh back in 1991, in its 26 years the project has worked with a total of 80 schools, 1601 young playwrights and produced 881 plays. Its plays have been brought to life by actors including Molly Innes, Colin McCredie, Kevin McKidd, Ryan Fletcher, John Kazek, Cora Bissett and Katrina Bryan.

Students from Mumbai taking part in the project will be in the 15 to 18 age range.