Falkirk dancers who have all the right moves

Pam and Neil McNelis from Hallglen are performing in Reasons to Dance
Pam and Neil McNelis from Hallglen are performing in Reasons to Dance

Eight months of intensive research, recording and rehearsal is coming to a climax this week when the latest National Theatre of Scotland production makes its debut in Falkirk.

The stage is set for the Reasons to Dance production, which stars a cast of 72 local performers.

This week the Falkirk Herald had a behind the scenes look at the production which is on at City nightclub in Princes Street until Saturday.

The story has been created from real life experiences gathered by the production team from community groups of all ages - from mother and toddlers to pensioners.

The production aims to create one party night, one night of dance which covers all the areas which the team have come across in their research.

It starts with the characters getting ready for their nights out, and then uses quite specific Falkirk locations as the venues for some of the dancing.

It then moves through onto meeting a partner, before the poignant scenes of thinking about having one last dance.

Along side the actors in the show, performers from NRG dance school will be performing a dazzling routine to open the show.

Four of the shows stars took time out from rehearsals to chat to the Falkirk Herald.

Hallglen couple Pam and Neil McNelis first heard about the show through their Scottish country dancing class.

Pam (73) said: “I had to work hard to persuade Neil to come along because he was very unsure at first.

“However, once he came along he really enjoyed it.

“We’ve met so many nice people, of all different ages, and the National Theatre staff have been so good and patient and kind.

“Now we realise how much work goes on behind the scenes when putting on a production.

“It’s a very different venue, but it’s the right venue - we’re very lucky to be in a venue like this.”

Wendy Ross (40) was at her weekly ‘Stitch and Bitch’ craft class when she first heard about the plans for the production.

She said: “Staff from the National Theatre came along to talk to us about the project and it sounded really interesting.

“I did a year’s drama course at Falkirk College in the mid 90s so I’ve always been interested in theatre.

“I’ve really enjoyed taking part and meeting so many new people, and seeing the show all come together in the end has been great.”

Owen Griffiths’ role in the show is as a young man who spends his time perfecting his dance moves in hope of impressing the ladies. And despite limited dancing experience, he manages to pull off an impressive Michael Jackson routine.

The Bo’ness boy said: “Dancing isn’t something I’ve done before but I’m enjoying it.

“I really like that it’s a community project and I have loved being part of it.

“The prospect of actually getting on stage is always daunting but I’m really excited too.”

Reasons to Dance is on at City Falkirk until Saturday.

Tickets are available from the Steeple box office on (01324) 506850 for a £3 deposit which is refundable on the night.