Christine Lindsay

How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?
Live theatre is a terrific vehicle for a playwright to tell a story in his or her own way. We unconsciously work every waking moment.

What do you consider your best work and why?
Dare to Care will shortly be going on its World Premiere Scottish Tour. It’s been through a rigorous workshop process with Stellar Quines Theatre Company. I am totally blown away with the commitment, inventiveness, verve, energy and ideas that the director, the cast, the musical director and crew bring to the table. Although it’s not a musical, it has musicality and rhythmic pieces running through it.

What was your first ever job?
I grew up in a close-knit small mining community in the country. My first paid job in my teens was bringing in the hay bales for Hamilton the farmer near Cobbinshaw loch. We all got the chance to drive the tractor (not allowed now) and our arms were scratched red raw and bleeding from moving and stacking the hay bales. My first proper paid job when I left school was in the Co-op Fleshing Department (Butchery) in West Calder.

What was the contact/opportunity/job offer that you feel has made the most difference to your career?
Getting a commission for Dare to Care after the play had its first airing in a Stellar Quines Rehearsal Room a few years ago.

What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t? 
Three of us teenagers formed a group in our little mining village. We made ourselves cardboard guitars and called ourselves ‘The Shunky Sisters’. Maybe that was my missed opportunity. We disbanded when we grew up but I went on to sing in local pubs. I did eventually learn to play the guitar. Life is full of opportunities every day. ‘What if’ has never been in my vocabulary.

What’s your favourite theatre production?
There are numerous but I always go back to my first experience of theatre that made the biggest impact on me. That is the wonderful earthy rich Scottish dialogue in The Slab Boys by John Byrne. I still rave on about that production to anyone that wants to listen. In 1981 I saw Vanessa Redgrave in the memorable Isadora at the Regent Theatre in Sydney, Australia.

What do you like the best about working in theatre?
To entertain and enthral the paying public. I love the whole inventive process of live theatre, the willingness and commitment of all to do their best.

What do you like the best about being a writer?
I have met all my characters throughout my life and know them, how they speak and how they behave. You can go anywhere in your head as a writer, but there is no substitute for life experience and what you have stored. Playwriting gives you the freedom to create any character then hand that character over to actors who amaze me with their ingenuity and talent to ‘get inside’ the person you have created.

What advice would you give emerging female practitioners in theatre today?
KBO – keep buggering on as Winston Churchill always said. You can go to a hundred playwright workshops but you need the drive of self-motivation to chain your arse to the chair, zone in and write.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?
That’s an easy one. When I physically handed over my script Dare to Care to Muriel Romanes, I hung on to her coat tails. She has generously mentored me throughout the whole process of page to stage.

Reflections from Christine Lindsay following Dare to Care’s development week at the Lochgelly Centre

Reflections from Christine Lindsay following Dare to Care’s development week at the Lochgelly Centre, November 2013

“My play Dare to Care had been commissioned by Stellar Quines Theatre Company and Artistic Director, Muriel Romanes assured me it was now at the stage where it should be developed by professionals and ready for its next journey to rehearsals, then finally fit for its Scottish Tour in the Spring of 2014.

On Monday 4 November 2013 at 8.45am I headed of for the Lochgelly Centre in Fife where Dare to Care was going to be work shopped and put through its paces. I was excited when I steered the car onto the Forth Road Bridge and mesmerised at our magnificent railway structure to my right. I suddenly realised that the bottom of my stomach was ready to fall away. This was uncharted territory for me and I imagined I was going to a place that was something akin to Daniel going into the Lions Den. Questions zipped through my brain. Was the text deep enough? How would the characters stand up to it? Would the script be ripped to shreds? I prayed the director, the actors, the composer, the stage manager and the design artist would go easy on me. I was clearly not a fit person to be driving, as my mind was certainly not on the journey.

Fast forward to Friday 8 November and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I realised that the workshop was the ‘bees knees’ for a new emerging playwright in terms of learning, growing and putting layers on your work.

With Muriel at the helm, Dare to Care was prized from the pages and we all reworked the script. For me, it felt like a collection process was taking place. I collected ideas, collected improvements, but most important for me was that there were specific pieces of text that clearly did not work, that I couldn’t see before. I took copious notes and re-wrote as we went along the journey.

Throughout the week, there were many rich rewarding discussions, questions and answers, dipping in and out, experimenting, areas tightened, areas discarded, trying new things, new ideas and the collaboration from everyone was endless.

The actors and the composer turned the dialogue into real people who walked and talked and sang. Suddenly layers started to form and I could see the play taking a different shape and form. I worked endlessly to keep up with everyone through re-writes and changes. The end was in sight. We all said our goodbyes and wished each other well.

I left with the script in better shape, stronger and more resilient. It had survived the journey. So did I.

Dare to Care – open rehearsals and performed reading

Dare to Care image by Keith McIntyre

Dare to Care
By Christine Lindsay
Lochgelly Centre, Bank Street, Lochgelly, Fife, KY5 9RD

For one week only at the Lochgelly Centre, Stellar Quines will be in residence to develop Dare to Care an exciting, hard-hitting, poignant new play set in a women’s prison.

Director Muriel Romanes will work with the cast to read, discuss and work through the script with the writer Christine Lindsay – a former prison officer at Cornton Vale Prison. Each lunchtime there will be the opportunity to drop into an open rehearsal and observe what happens before a play is finally ready for a full production. On Friday 8 November there will be a performed reading of the script with a post show Q&A.

Dare to Care will be produced by Stellar Quines and On at Fife in spring 2014.

To find out more about the play see the productions section of this website. This week is a unique opportunity to observe how a play is created and to have your say.

Both the open rehearsals and performed reading are free. 

The Open Rehearsals will take place every lunchtime from Monday 4 November to Friday 8 November from 1pm – 2pm. There is no need to book, just turn up and sit in.

The Performed Reading will take place at 2pm on Friday 8 November. This is a free but ticketed event. Either drop into the Lochgelly Centre or call 01592 583303 for a ticket.