From Fresh Start for the Arts
Blood Orange is described by writer and director Graham Main as the “most honest and challenging” piece ever created by Dumfries Youth Theatre. It premiers as part of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland’s Satellite Weekends and takes a gritty look at racism and other dark issues of contemporary life.
Where many EAFS events address the natural environment and the threats it faces, this work tackles the social environment and the challenges our young people confront in their daily lives. Nice bit of reinterpretation there, especially as a subject like racism is so closely entwined with the festival’s central themes of land and power.
For Fresh Start, as one of the EAFS funders, Blood Orange is an excellent example of how we are trying to encourage more young people to engage with the arts. And a quick chat to Graham reinforces just how much the play is achieving on this front. The creative process has had a huge amount of input from local young people. This included workshops during which they talked in depth about troubling subjects extending from racism and violence through to the the 21st century obsession with body image.
The ownership young people have of Blood Orange is truly impressive because it extends way beyond the eight characters on stage. Indeed the stage design itself is by Alix Adair, as her first involvement in the world of theatre. It was also the theatre members who negotiated the arrangements for a venue – Chancer’s nightclub. The setting has particular resonance as Chancer’s is a former fruit and veg warehouse, and the central character is a young man whose family were once greengrocers. The plot follows events when he heads off with a group of mates for a night out.
Graham says that the idea of a play in a nightclub is getting excellent feedback and the indications are that it will pull in quite a lot of people who might not normally think that theatre is for them. There are also hopes that the play (which is for over 16s only) will later be staged elsewhere in the country.
The production, which is supported by the Holywood Trust, takes place on 22 September. Tickets are available through Midsteeple and Ticketweb at £9.50. Show times are 6pm and 8pm. See www.dumfriesyouththeatre.com
PS You can now visit the Fresh Start website at www.freshstartforthearts.com/