From Culloden to The Citz

As the house lights dimmed on the main stage of Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, the young audience screamed with nervous excitement. From the moment Scott Miller, the leading player in Vox Motus’ Dragon, stepped onto the darkened stage, the auditorium was silent, including 20 lively pupils of Culloden Academy!

Thanks to Go See Share funding from the Highland Youth Arts Hub, our Higher/NPA Drama class travelled by coach from Inverness to Glasgow to watch the performance and attend a Question and Answer session with Artistic Director Candice Edmunds. A requirement of our course is to study a piece of live theatre, and after hearing the world-famous Dragon would be playing in the equally renowned Citizens Theatre, we were set on making the trip a possibility.

We knew the price of transportation, in addition to tickets, would be expensive for both the school and our personal contributions, so the funding we received from Go See Share was a great help in allowing us to keep the trip affordable. We piled onto the bus at Culloden, and four hours later we arrived in the heart of the Gorbals.
We had previously watched a BBC documentary about the revolutionary work the Citizens Theatre had been doing, but no pupil had visited before. It did not disappoint. Despite its ordinary outside appearance, the building hides an artistic front-of-house and a beautiful auditorium, and a relaxed, authentic atmosphere that seems unique to the “Citz”.

Our teachers had raved about the production, but only as we watched the innovative puppetry and listened to the spellbinding score did we understand their enthusiasm. Dragon follows the story of Tommy and his family as they deal with the death of his mother. Vox Motus collaborated with the Tianjin People’s Theatre from Shanghai, whose puppetry skills personify Tommy’s grief into a “dragon”. The production has won a UK Theatre Award and is enjoyable for all ages, dealing with upsetting themes both sensitively and imaginatively.

After the magical performance, we were lucky enough to meet Candice and talk about the creative process, information which will be incredibly useful in our exam preparation! We could also gain insider knowledge and advice about the theatre industry, which was invaluable to those hoping to pursue performing arts as a career.

Back on the bus, we shared our favourite scenes and characters while heading back to Inverness, albeit after a speedy stop to MacDonald’s. We felt incredibly lucky to travel from Culloden to the Citz, and it was one of the most special experiences we shared as a class. As I reflect on our trip, I am extremely grateful to Candice, for her kind words of advice, our teachers, for giving us this opportunity, and the Highland Youth Arts Hub for making it all possible.