Carlisle Railway Station was the venue on Saturday 24th May for Centre Stage Theatre's submission toThe Great Yes, No, Don’t Know, Five Minute Theatre run by The National Theatre of Scotland.
Centre Stage is currently working on a theatre piece based on the 1000's of mainly women who worked at HM Factory Gretna during the First World War and the Five Minute Theatre was an opportunity for the group to try out a site-specific theatre piece of work.
Carlisle railway station was chosen because of it's position as the transport gateway to Scotland and it's role a the transport hub for the munitions factory 100 years ago. Carlisle railway station has over 1.7 million passengers a year many travelling to and from Scotland.
Virgin Rail is very supportive of Centre Stage's work and allowed the group to perform and film in one of the main waiting rooms – a room with features over 150 years old. They have also invited the group to perform at the railway station to create other events in the future.
The performances were not advertised beforehand but announced only minutes beforehand on the station announcement system. At times passengers were already in the waiting room when the performance involving a cast of eight aged 15-30 started.
The drama was performed 6 times at the station to an audience ranging from less than one....(someone had to catch a train) to over 20 people.
The work which was devised by the group from a framework suggested by Judith Johnson and Chris Jones and put together by the participants in a series of site specific workshops held at Gretna Munitions Workers Institute (now the Community Centre), Gretna railway station platform and Carlisle railway station.
The piece explored the theme of independence, the right to vote, now and 100 years ago during the First World War with a bit of Burns thrown in!
From 5pm on Monday 23rd June 2014, there’ll be 24 hours with live theatre from Scotland and beyond on the theme of ‘Independence’ where Centre Stage's work will be online.
Centre Stage Theatre is based in Langholm and part of the First World War Centenary Partnership led by The Imperial War Museum. Their project First World War – Then and now.... HM Factory Gretna 100 years on is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Holywood Trust.