Watch: Traverse Theatre’s Class Act brings Edinburgh Gary Tank Commander, Fresh Meat and The A Word star full circle

Pupils from five Edinburgh secondary schools - Craigroysto​n​, Craigmoun​t​, Forrester, Broughton and​ the​ Royal High – ​will see their scripts brought to life at the Traverse Theatre this week by a company of professional actors led by Greg McHugh, best known to millions as Gary, Tank Commander.

By Liam Rudden
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 2:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:22 pm

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Each script​ produced by the pupils, ​be it play, poem, or song​, is part of the Traverse’s flagship Class Act programme​, which celebrates it​s 30th anniversary ​this year.​

Placing professional playwrights and artists into each school, Class Act supports students to become writers and storytellers, providing both the artistic support and safe space necessary for participants to express themselves freely and imagine without inhibition.

Edinburgh's Greg McHugh

This year's scripts ​cover topics​ as diverse as mental health, current politics, warring superheroes, ghost stories, a​s well as ​everything in between​ and are a frank, sometimes hilarious and always insightful reflections of the hopes and concerns of ​the Capital​’s young people.

​The event brings ​McHugh, himself a ​Class Act alumni​, full circle.

In an exclusive interview for the Evening News, the actor who attended St Thomas Aquins recalled, “The reason this scheme is important to is because when I was 16, I took part in this scheme, which involved writing a short play and actors came into our drama class and acted out the terrible short play that I had written. I didn't realise what a huge effect that was going to gave on my life but basically I do what I do now because of this scheme.

“Twenty-five years later, as an actor, I’ve come back to perform some fantastic writing by young people from all areas of Edinburgh and different backgrounds and I've been blown away by the creativity.”

Click on the image to watch the full interview.

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Joining McHugh, who also starred in Fresh Meat, The A Word and Guilt, to perform the pieces are Shyvonne Ahmmad, Hannah Donaldson, Laura Lovemore, Elena Redmond, Manjot Sumal, Chloe-Ann Tylor and Martin Donaghy​.​

Wezi Mhura and Robbie Gordon, the Traverse’s ​c​reative ​d​evelopment ​p​roducers, ​comment​​, ​“This year’s Class Act sees around 30 short pieces for audiences to enjoy, all written by the young people of Edinburgh, it’s a truly brilliant and wild selection of work.

“​This year there has been 150 young people and over 30 artists involved. For the first time ever, we are working with a brilliant ensemble for two weeks, including some of Scotland’s best actors and some Class Act alumni too and we believe this might be our biggest published collection of plays we’ve ever produced for Class Act.

“​We can’t wait to welcome people as we takeover Traverse 1 for two nights to perform these exciting new works​.​”

Class Act pairs established playwrights, storytellers, directors and musicians with students from secondary schools across the city of Edinburgh to empower young people to tell their own stories, creating original short plays, poems, and songs that are then performed on the Traverse’s main stage. Since its inception Class Act has produced ​more than a ​1,000 new short plays.

You can experience the work of Scotland’s next generation of​ ​creatives​ at Traverse 1 on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March at 7.30pm.​ Tickets £5/£3 are available here​

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