Media Release: National Theatre of Scotland Youth Theatre Festival opens July 3


National Theatre of Scotland, in partnership with macrobert, Stirling, presents EXCHANGE 2012

A packed week of new youth theatre productions featuring groups from Scotland, Ireland and New York City

macrobert, Stirling: Tues 3rd – Sat 7th July, 2012

TICKETS ON SALE NOW FROM and 01786 466666

NOW in its sixth year, the National Theatre of Scotland’s Exchange returns for a week-long festival of youth theatre at macrobert arts centre in Stirling from Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th July, 2012.

Seven youth theatre groups from all over Scotland, and across the world, will come together for an exciting week of workshops and masterclasses, and to perform seven new pieces of theatre to a public audience.  The groups have worked in collaboration with a team of accomplished theatre-makers and creatives.

This year’s participating groups are:

  • The Citizens Young Co., Glasgow (creative partner Jen Edgar)
  • macrobert, Stirling (creative partner Gary McNair)
  • Rusty Boat, Port Glasgow (creative partner Lynda Radley)
  • Knox Academy, Haddington (creative partner Brian Hartley)
  • The Saber Players, Uncommon Charter High School, Brooklyn, New York City
  • Seanachas, Skye (creative partner Graeme Roger)
  • Play Havoc, Buckhaven, Fife (creative partner Thomas Small)
  • Kildare Youth Theatre, Kildare, Ireland

Working closely with leading creatives, and given access to unique theatre master classes along the way, each group has been encouraged to explore new approaches and to take risks in their theatre-making.  Based at macrobert in Stirling, the 100+ participants will continue to exchange ideas, share experiences and build relationships over the course of the week.

They’ll attend a series of workshops introducing skills, techniques and information relating to a range of theatre-making specialisms, including Chinese Opera, Film & Video in Theatre, Short Attention Span Theatre, Movement, Theatre Critics, Audience Participation, Theatre Design and many more.  For audiences, the result of this seed-planting, cross-pollination and firing of imaginations is a programme of groundbreaking new work, with two groups each night unveiling their creations.

Since the inception of Exchange, National Theatre of Scotland has worked with over 500 young theatre makers from Skye to Kolkata, Dumfries to New York City, run over 60 workshops and seen the creation of 41 devised productions. Inspired by the programme, numerous Exchange participants have gone on to pursue careers in theatre and the arts; having participated in Exchange 2010, four boys from Eastwood Park Theatre went on to form The Real Men Company, performing their popular show Real Men Dream in Black and White at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2011 and touring with the National Theatre of Scotland’s current community engagement project, Jump.

In addition to the young people’s productions, Exchange typically features two performances from established theatre-makers.  This year offers a double bill of new National Theatre of Scotland productions from exciting young talents, Gary McNair (Count Me In –  also touring Fife and Glasgow this September) and Molly Taylor (Love Letters to the Public Transport System – also playing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August).

Exchange 2012 also sees the return of ExchangeTV, which, for the first time ever, will be live-streaming every Exchange2012 performance, as well as broadcasting a nightly highlights package from the previous day’s events. ExchangeTV offers aspiring young filmmakers the opportunity to acquire filming, editing and broadcasting skills and experience. Each night, between perfomances, Exchange TV broadcasts a round-up of the previous day’s activities, including workshop and performance footage, cast and crew inteviews along with quirky, fun pieces exploring the local area. Catch up with ExchangeTV at and watch each performance live at

In the foyer at macrobert this year, a photography exhibition entitled Exchange: A Snapshot illustrates how the festival has grown and developed over the past six years. Photography by Eamonn McGoldrick, Ewen Weatherspoon and Tim Morozzo.

Gillian Gourlay, Director of Exchange 2012, said:

‘Now in our sixth year, the energy and excitement surrounding Exchange is constantly building, with 2012 no exception.  We have over 100 young theatre-makers coming together from all over the country, and beyond, to share skills and experiences that will influence their theatre making for years to come and it’s a great feeling to know we have played a part in that. I can honestly say, I look forward to Exchange Festival week every year as much as I do Christmas, it’s that much fun!’



Venue:            macrobert, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dates:             Tues 3rd – Sat 7th July

Times:             7.30pm and 9pm each night (Friday one show only at 7.30pm)

Tickets:           £6/£4 conc. (double bill tickets – Friday one show only, tickets £3/£2)

Box office: or 01786 466666

Please note:   Recommended age guidelines listed below for each show



Tuesday 3rd July

7.30pm:  This Is What We Ask  by The Citizens Theatre Young Co.

The Citizens Young Co. explores how young people today journey into an adult world in which they are confronted by a mass of challenging and sometimes bewildering questions.

How do I find my place?

Will I ever have the prospect of meaningful employment?

How can I remain true to myself?

How do I express my anger?

How can I make a difference?

What and who do ‘they’ want me to be?

Am I invisible?

Recommended age guidelines:  14+

9pm: Do Not Feed the Trolls by macrobert, Stirling

I really hope your skirt gets stuck in your knickers

I really hope you grow up to be as fat as your mum

I really hope he says no

That would be nice….LOL

Inspired by our ability to revel in the misfortune of others Do Not Feed The Trolls is a provocative and darkly entertaining piece of theatre that celebrates those moments in life when you just can’t help but crush the soul of your fellow human being.

Recommended age guidelines:  16+

Wednesday 4th July

7.30pm:  Sweet by Rusty Boat, Port Glasgow

Life is made sweet by the cherry on the top, the icing on the cake, or an ice cream on a hot summer’s day.

The rushing feeling of a sugar high has helped us deal with bad days and celebrate milestones, but what happens if you look beyond the sugar sweet adverts, peel back the wrapper further, or cut a little deeper into the cake?  Are you left with a bitter-sweet taste or a longing for more? Rusty Boat Theatre Company invites you to join them in a theatrical and thought provoking performance into the world of sugar and spice and all things nice.

Recommended age guidelines:  10+ 

9pm:  Hansel House of Horror by Knox Academy, Haddington

Hansel is found wandering the forest outside the hospital and has been interned by Nurse Kirkbride – her task is to find out why he speaks nothing, and what actually happened to the young Mr Hummel to leave him so terrified. Weaving together Greek Choral work and Physical Theatre, we bring this classic fairytale to a modern audience. Welcome to Danvers State Hospital and to the story of patient 206… Hansel Hummel.

Recommended age guidelines:  15+

Thursday 5th July

7:30pm:  Count Me – written and performed by Gary McNair

Gary can’t get his head around politics.

We are all born into a political system that none of us signed up to. Do we have to like it or lump it, or can we do something about it? Does our vote really count? In our democracy, do the people really have the power?

McNair’s talent for turning hilarious gambits into instances of genuinely moving and profound insight ….is a joy to watch.”

The Herald

Recommended age guidelines:  suitable for all

9pm:  Love Letters to the Public Transport System – written and performed by Molly Taylor

In this fast-moving world where no one stays around for long, Love Letters to the Public Transport System seeks to find and thank the people who transport us daily; to friends, to lovers, to work, to moments of significance in our lives.

this fragile and utterly beautiful piece of work reminds us of the reason we’re alive. ‘

***** The Herald

Recommended age guidelines:  suitable for all

Friday 6th July

7.30pm:  Grab the Land by The Saber Players, Uncommon Charter High School, Brooklyn, New York City

This fast-paced performance interweaves vignettes of absurdity and slapstick with moments of poetry and drama, and erases the line between fact and fiction, all in an attempt to understand what it truly means to be American.  Grab the Land wrestles with stereotypes of the American teenager, unpleasant truths of the nation’s history, and crucial questions of race and identity.  Grab it before it’s gone!
Recommended age guidelines:  suitable for all ages

Saturday 7th July

7.30pmFight or Flight by Play Havoc (formerly known as Kinetic), Buckhaven, Fife

“It’s simple – do you stand up for what you believe in or do you turn and run?”
Recommended age guidelines:  12+

9pm:  The Leaving by Kildare Youth Theatre, Ireland

It was the year of the Leaving, the year we got Jaeger-Bombed, the year I kissed a boy and you kissed a girl. It was the year Gavin died in a laneway not far from here. And all of us are suspects.

A group of friends searches for answers, as they relive the night of their end-of-school debs party, and navigate a drink-fuelled mess of mistakes, misunderstandings and murder.

Recommended age guidelines:  14+



1.  The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.  Since its launch in February 2006, the National Theatre of Scotland has been involved in creating over 160 productions in 125 different locations. With no building of its own, the Company takes theatre all over Scotland and beyond, working with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. It takes place in the great buildings of Scotland, but also in site-specific locations, airports and tower blocks, community halls and drill halls, ferries and forests.  The company has performed to over 710,000 people, across three continents.

2.  National Theatre of Scotland’s Exchange programme is a platform for communication and creativity for young theatre-makers where the aim is:

  • to facilitate a national and international exchange between young theatre-makers
  • to open up opportunities to view international work
  • to devise and produce new work by, and for, young people
  • to share young people’s performance skills and experiences
  • to stimulate new ideas and provide support to help these ideas become a reality

3.  macrobert offers a huge variety of activities for all ages in the heart of the University of Stirling Campus ranging from live performances, movies, an workshops, exhibitions, birthday parties, a fully licensed café, bar and restaurant to one of Scotland’s top pantomime offerings for the festive season. The very best in live entertainment combined with an excellent choice of movies sits alongside some of the most exciting programming for children and young people in Scotland; all presented in a relaxing family friendly venue with facilities second to none. 2012 has seen macrobert produce its own critically acclaimed work, from the hit Imaginate show Mikey and Addie (currently on tour across Scotland) to Educating Ronnie, Joe Douglas’s astonishing true story receiving its world premiere at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the prestigious Made In Scotland showcase.

For further information contact Adam McDougall, Press and Marketing Officer at: or on 0141 227 9231

Visit us online at

Follow the National Theatre of Scotland Press Office on Twitter:  @NTS_press  #Exchange2012

MEDIA RELEASE posted by the National Theatre of Scotland. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Phone: 0141 227 9231