Here at Stellar Quines, we are all about inspiring excellence in girls and women. And what better way to do that than to work with the excellent and inspiring Caitlin Skinner? This Fringe 2018, Caitlin is going to be working with an as-yet-unformed ensemble of actors drawn from the graduating classes of drama schools across Scotland to devise a brand new piece of theatre. The project is run by the Scottish Drama Training Network and Stellar Quines are thrilled to be supporting it by offering our expertise on various aspects of the process such as auditions, marketing and how to make it through a three-week Fringe run unscathed.

But before all of that activity can start, the creative work of imagining a new play must start and this is where I come in. I’m providing dramaturgical support for Caitlin, which means I am endeavouring to create a space for her where she can ask questions like: What kind of play might this be? What are the questions it might ask, what are the forms it might take?

Caitlin is interested in themes of power and social change, and these resonate strongly for me because of the outreach work I do. But how would they sit with young actors in training? We headed to Glasgow to find out.

We spent the day working with 18 engaged, vibrant, focused students from three different colleges in Glasgow. I was struck by how readily the students took up the material Caitlin provided, by the relevance they found in their own lives, and how they worked together to find physical expressions of some quite abstract concepts. Caitlin placed the emphasis on working physically and visually, which is a refreshing change to my own obsession with language. A further, unanticipated source of theatrical potential came from the four deaf students and two interpreters from the RCS’s BA course in Performance in BSL and English. The coming together of hearing and deaf actors was the real creative highlight for me and for many of other people in the room, opening up all sorts of doors: social; communicative; theatrical.

I left with my mind buzzing; excited by the potential of Caitlin’s ideas and by the energy and enthusiasm the young actors had brought to our day’s work. I look forward to seeing where we go from here.

Catherine Grosvenor, Creative Learning Associate