‘Scotland’s shame’ tackled by Maddiston children

Claire Harvey, Marco Palmer (centre left) and Clive Donaldson and the kids. Picture: John Devlin (140542A)
Claire Harvey, Marco Palmer (centre left) and Clive Donaldson and the kids. Picture: John Devlin (140542A)

Children in Maddiston are combining the old firm, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Hit Man And Her’ in a new play to combat sectarianism.

Around 17 children are currently rehearsing ‘Love And The New Firm’ before their big curtain-up in May when they will perform the production for the community.

Tutors from the Nicolls and Dimes Stage School in Alloa and Central Scotland Regional Equality Council (CSREC) are working with the youngsters, all primary school age, to help them understand the evils of sectarianism – dubbed “Scotland’s Shame” – and help future generations break down religious barriers.

Claire Harvey of CSREC, who is pulling it all together, said: “The play is anti-sectarian themed and is designed to educate the children but let them have fun while they are doing it.

“This way they will learn something and get to take part in something that’s a bit bigger. Hopefully what they learn they will remember for a long, long time and form positive attitudes they will have when they are adults.”

The children might be too young to know who the man putting them through their dance routines is, but people of a certain age will remember him as a dancer on eighties TV show ‘The Hit Man And Her’, Clive ‘Wiggy’ Donaldson.

Marco Palmer, who co-wrote the show with Rory Mhorr Nicoll, said the children are really getting stuck into their parts and can’t wait for the big show.

“I was given the task of writing this play with Rory. I am the main writer but it’s his concept and he obviously helped put the Scottishness into it because I’m an American, although I was aware of the tensions between the religions.

“We tried to do a loosely based ‘Romeo and Juliet’ type story set in a very divided community but with a happier ending to show that sectarian problems can be solved.

“The children have been absolutely great and are really enjoying it and have been brilliant at learning their lines and getting into their characters.”

The show will be performed in Maddiston Community Centre on May 23.