Stellar Quines and Citizens Theatre present a new filmed version of Fibres

Fibres cast photo by Jassy Earl

Stellar Quines and the Citizens Theatre have announced that a new filmed version of their 2019 co-production, Fibres, will be premiered online this November.

Reuniting the original cast and creative team, the production, which previously toured community venues in Scotland to critical and audience acclaim, will be reimagined for a digital audience thanks to funding from the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund. It will give more people the opportunity to enjoy this funny and moving play by Frances Poet that puts a vital spotlight on the untold story of the women affected by exposure to asbestos.

Maureen Carr and Jonathan Watson will reprise their roles as Beanie and Jack at the heart of the story. Directed by Stellar Quines Artistic Director, Jemima Levick, this will be the first full-length production to be filmed and offered online by the Citizens and Stellar Quines.

Written by award-winning playwright Frances Poet, Fibres uses wit and humour to explore the deadly legacy of asbestos in the Clyde shipyards, giving voice to the stories of women and families affected. The bittersweet comedy told by four characters who show a very Glaswegian resilience and wit, is a moving tribute to those who continue to suffer today as the health crisis continues to unfold.

On reimagining Fibres for an online audience, Jemima Levick commented, I’m thrilled to be bringing Frances Poet’s brilliant play back to life in a new filmed version, and working again in partnership with the Citizens Theatre and supported by Action on Asbestos. As with so many theatre projects, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented our planned UK tour of Fibres. This feels like an opportunity for us to approach the piece in a new way, blending the two art forms of theatre and film to tell this story with all the humour and heart that the original contained. I’m particularly pleased that audiences right across the UK can see it, especially those living with Mesothelioma who, with lockdown restrictions, might not be able to attend if it were in their local theatre. 

“Fibres, explores the deadly legacy of asbestos, placing women’s voices at the centre of that story, and, in doing so, offering insight into an experience rarely told. While set in the west coast of Scotland, I have no doubt that this story will resonate with families in and around industrial cities across the world and, with one health crisis living alongside another, offers a new perspective to this already important story.”

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director of The Citizens Theatre added, We had a fantastic audience response to the original tour of Fibres, with many both entertained and moved by Frances Poet’s brilliant script. Now in the middle of a very different health crisis, we are pleased to be able to reimagine the production for an online audience – so even more people are able to experience this hilarious and important story”. 

The original cast will reunite including well-known stage and screen actor Jonathan Watson who recently resurrected his Fibres role of Jack for National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival in A Mug’s Game. He is joined by Maureen Carr known to young audiences for her role in CBBC’s Molly and Mack and to the nation as ‘ugly sister’ Edith in Still Game and baddie Theresa O’Hara in River City. The cast is completed by Suzanne Magowan and Ali Craig.

The project is supported by Action on Asbestos, a charity established in 1984 by men who had been diagnosed with an asbestos disease to provide practical advice and support to others affected by this condition.

Phyllis Craig Director and Senior Welfare Rights Officer of Action on Asbestos (formerly Clydeside Action on Asbestos) stated, “Our charity is delighted to be in a position to support Stellar Quines and the Citizens Theatre to film the fantastic play Fibres so many more people can learn of the reality and devastation that previous exposure to asbestos can cause to a family. Today we are seeing so many more people being diagnosed with an asbestos condition simply because they went to work. No one should ever have to deal with an asbestos condition on their own. I would urge everyone to take the opportunity to watch this play.” 

Fibres will premiere online in November. More details to be announced on the Citizens Theatre website.