120 Edinburgh Youngsters Create Multi-Artform Production During Pandemic

Strange Town, the Leith based performing arts charity for 5-25 year olds, announces that  their large scale multi-artform project involving theatre, movement, spoken word, film and sound – Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten – will culminate in a live promenade performance and video installation event.

The 5 month project,  Strange Town’s most ambitious production to date, has involved more than 120 of Edinburgh’s young people aged 8 – 18, with support from the company’s emerging young playwrights and directors, and guided and mentored by industry professionals.

Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten, that was inspired by the question Can Young People Change the World? has been created by, and will be performed by, members of the eight Strange Town Youth Theatre Groups from across the city. The result is responses  addressing a broad range of relevant topics.

Where possible, the eight groups have met for weekly online digital drama workshops and face-to-face creative sessions to explore the question and to create, write, film and record material. The groups have also worked together with members of the new Strange Town Young Writers Group who have both developed the work the groups have devised and written their own additional scenes. Choreography and movement have also played a big part in the project, with 70 young people from the company having been involved in a professionally choreographed movement piece, involving Zoom rehearsals and final performance being recorded on participants’ mobile phones.

 To maximise the opportunities audiences will have to experience the live performance and video installation, the 60-minute promenade event will be presented to 20 socially distanced audience members three times a night in three separate spaces. The whole audience will come together to experience a live performance from just six actors before being split into two separate groups to watch film and listen to audio material. 

Additionally, a site specific eight-minute video will be projected on a wall next to the St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Pochaev, on Dalmeny Street, which will include a specially choreographed movement piece. This will also be a ticketed event for socially distanced audiences. Rehearsals for the live performance are now underway with a drastically reduced number of actors working to strict guidelines, while video and sound design and editing is nearing completion.

Co-creative director of Strange Town and producer of Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten, Steve Small, said, “The Gen Z project is a testament to the hard work put in by everybody involved in the company. Despite the challenges and difficulties of the pandemic, watching the enthusiasm, skill and pride with which the production team has undertaken this task and having seen how the young people have adapted and risen to the challenge, as well as the range and quality of the work they’ve produced, it’s impossible not to feel massively encouraged. Despite the dark days of the lockdown restrictions, we hope better days are coming. People will always find a way to be creative.  

“Thanks to the funding from Creative Scotland, Generation Z: The Future is Unwritten’s mix of indoor and outdoor and digital work means that everyone will be able to enjoy it wherever they are. We hope it will create some much-needed hope and enjoyment for 2021.”

The event will take place at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh, on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 June 2021.

On 26 and 27 June there will be an opportunity to pay to view a film of the live event together with a variety of additional video, audio and written material developed by the groups.

Irene Brown

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