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My time with the Quines

Meet Adela who is spending a few months with us here at Stellar Quines as an intern. We asked her to share why she wanted to come and work with the Quines. 

My name is…

My name is Adela Martinez. I’m 18 years old and I come from a small town in the South of Belgium. I’ve just finished High School and I’ve been studying drama since I was 11.

A few years ago, I decided to start studying drama as a profession but first, I wanted to take a year off to work in the theatre area, take time to make sure that’s what I want, meet people already working in this sector and also prepare my audition for the theatre school (I already have nightmares about it).

Lucky me, my parents have always been supporting me to do what makes me happy and for now, nothing makes me more enthusiastic than theatre.

Taking a year off also meant the opportunity to travel, to improve my English and above all meet people sharing my interest in drama. So, I started to search for a theatre company that would have been happy to welcome me as a volunteer. I have been sending e-mails for months and most of the answers were negatives. Until one day, I find two who were ready to give me a chance, Strange Town first and then Stellar Quines. I was really excited to have the opportunity to work with both.

So, I’m actually working with Strange Town as a volunteer assistant in some primary schools for after school drama sessions in parallel with Stellar Quines.

Now I’m really proud to be part of this. First of all because Stellar Quines propose a theater of quality managed by women. I have not yet had the opportunity to see one of their productions but all I’ve heard is positive.

I was also happily surprised that their next production is none other than an adaptation of a French novel.

I arrived in Edinburgh with no specific work expectation, what I wanted most of all was learn by realizing several tasks that will afford me to fully understand the various aspects of this profession.

As soon as I met Rebecca, she explained to me all the things I was going to do during my internship. I felt really comfortable because she immediately made me feel useful, which was what I needed.

The hardest thing when you come to work and live in a city, a country you don’t know isn’t the language but (in my opinion) it’s the people and how they make you feel comfortable.

Stellar Quines give me the opportunity to meet actors, writers, directors and a lot more people making theatre happen.

Check back soon for more thoughts from Adela and her time with the Quines.

Two new plays celebrating girls join Tonic Theatre’s Platform series

Tonic Theatre has joined forces with Nick Hern Books to create Platform – an online bookshop where you can access scripts that put the stories of girls centre stage. Aimed at addressing gender imbalance in theatre, Platform comprises big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by young actors.

As our mission and vision is to celebrate the stories and voices of women and girls we wanted to let you know about Platform and we feel this is an excellent resource for teachers and youth theatres that are looking for plays that have strong roles for girls.

On offer from 9 November will be The Glove Thief by Beth Flintoff and Red by Somalia Eaton.

There are many more titles available to buy individually or special offers for bundles of scripts. Check it out and fill your bookshelves!


Jemima Levick

Meet Stellar Quines Artistic Director & Chief Executive – Jemima Levick

Jemima was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Stellar Quines in May 2016. Prior to that, she served as Artistic Director and as Associate Director at Dundee Rep Theatre for seven years. She trained at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and also on a Scottish Arts Council Director Traineeship.

She has won and been nominated for a number of awards and directed more than 18 productions at the Rep, including Great Expectations, The Glass Menagerie, Time and the Conways, The Tempest, The Elephant Man and Beauty and the Beast. 

As a freelance as a director and producer she has worked with a number of companies, including the Royal Lyceum Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Perissology Theatre Productions, Borderline, Grid Iron Theatre Company, Traverse Theatre and Paines Plough.

Most recently she directed the critically acclaimed The 306: Day and this summer will direct her first Fringe show for the company The Last Queen of Scotland.

Hannah Forsyth

Meet Stellar Quines Company Administrator – Hannah Forsyth

The Company Administrator role is key to keeping the office running smoothly and providing administrative support to productions. Hannah works alongside the creative team to ensure that the Stellar Quines office is organised and financial records are kept up to date, allowing the company to carry out ambitious and exciting projects.

Hannah has worked as an administrator in a range of different positions, including bookkeeping within the creative sector and placements with the British Chamber of Commerce and HMRC. She has recently moved to Edinburgh after studying and working in York, and is enjoying living in a country where people can spell her surname correctly.

Hannah particularly enjoys immersive and promenade theatre, and anything that relates to social history. She’s very excited to be supporting a diverse range of projects with Stellar Quines in the future, and is keen to help support gender equality and opportunities for women in theatre.


Shirley Monteith

Meet Stellar Quines Marketing Associate….Shirley Monteith

As Marketing Associate Shirley supports the Producer and Artistic Director at Stellar Quines managing the marketing campaigns for productions and projects. Her main role is to engage audiences in the work of Stellar Quines and to raise awareness of the Company and the artists who work with us. She also liaises with the press and tries and persuade them in the nicest possible way to come along and see our work and then tell the world!

Shirley was Marketing Manager at the Royal Lyceum Theatre before joining Stellar Quines. Working at a producing theatre ticked all the boxes creatively and now working with mid scale theatre companies and experiencing the world of touring is an exciting development. A career highlight has been working with the wonderful artist John Byrne both at the Lyceum and more recently at Stellar Quines on The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy.

Shirley also works with Hearts & Minds, an arts-in-health charity based in Edinburgh and she is on the Board of Trustees of Lung Ha Theatre Company. Shirley studied at Edinburgh College of Art and still paints when not consumed by marketing.


Village Pub Theatre / Stellar Quines event – call out for submissions

The Village Pub Theatre and Stellar Quines are collaborating to create an evening of new short plays to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11th 2017

International Day of the Girl is a global campaign to raise awareness of the inequality faced by girls around the world based on their gender. This inequality includes areas such as right to education/access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, violence against women, unfree child marriage and protection from discrimination.

As part of this event we would like to hold open submissions for playwrights of any level of experience to submit a short play, no longer than 10minutes long that responds to the theme ‘the role of the girl’. We are looking for people to interpret this theme in a variety of ways but roughly we are looking for writers to explore what role girl’s play in our society, how they relate to other people, how other people relate them.

Stellar Quines and Village Pub Theatre will select three of these plays to be performed on 11th October by a team of professional actors and director at the Village Pub Theatre, Leith.

There is a fee available of £100 for the selected plays plus travel. You must be free to attend rehearsals and performance in Leith on 11th October in order to be considered.

Please submit your 10 minute play by midnight on Sunday 24th September using the online form

Please note files will be uploaded to Stellar Quines’ Google Drive. To allow for file upload you will be required to sign in to Google to access the form. If you do not have a google account you will need to create one. If you would prefer not to submit a form via google please email Rebecca Davis with Village Pub Theatre in the subject title (Rebecca is on annual leave until the 18 September and will reply to queries promptly on her return).

Neil Cooper talks to writer Jaimini Jethwa about going back to her roots

JAIMINI Jethwa was one year old when she and her parents were forced to leave Uganda and move to Dundee. That was in August 1972, when Uganda’s larger than life president Idi Amin had ordered the expulsion of all 80,000 Asian Ugandans from the country within a ninety-day period or else face the consequences. Before they left, Jethwa’s father had his own business, but Amin took that and everything else. When Jethwa’s family arrived in Dundee, her father had £7 in his pocket, and they were housed on a council estate in Fintry.

With little memory of the country where she was born, Jethwa and her family were the only family of colour on the estate. Any discussion within the family of who they were and how they ended up there was taboo. Jethwa became a film-maker, has worked on short films for the BBC, and developed specialist skills working with vulnerable young people and adults. Even though she was now based at Abertay University, she still had questions she wanted to ask about where she was from, and why as a child she’d been scared to go outside for reasons she couldn’t understand.

Jethwa was coming up to her fortieth birthday, and was in Spain. Conscious of how her own anniversary tallied with the fortieth anniversary of the expulsion, she found herself writing a poem. It wasn’t a documentary poem like the films she worked on, but was something both more personal and dramatic. Jethwa wanted to expand on this, and, through Creative Scotland’s International fund, visited Uganda. Once here, she talked to people who knew Amin and others who had lived through his terrors.

The result of this is The Last Queen of Scotland, Jethwa’s new dramatisation of the Asian Ugandan experience in response to being forced into exile by Amin’s brutal regime. Produced by Stellar Quines Theatre Company with support from the National Theatre of Scotland and Dundee Rep, the play, like her prodigal’s return, has seen Jethwa to face up to some of her personal demons.

“In a way it was me trying to find Idi Amin,” she says, mid-way through talking about a journey to writing The Last Queen of Scotland that was as much a mental and emotional one as it was physical. “I was reading books and watching films, and just became immersed in everything about him. It was like I was with Idi Amin all the time. He saturated my brain, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. To exorcise the trauma I had to get close to him, so close that it made me sick, because I was frightened.

“It was the same as when I was a toddler, and I was scared to go out because I was frightened of seeing soldiers on the street. I didn’t know where that came from, because, culturally, Indian people don’t like to talk about what happened at all. Indian people are very good at moving forward. It was just something that happened, and then you moved on. I began to become aware of it all when I was about sixteen, and I started to make correlations in my mind. I decided that I had to face up to my fears, and the only way of doing that was by going back to Uganda.”

By this time, Jethwa had met Giles Foden at a symposium in London. Foden’s novel, The Last King of Scotland, was a fictional account of Amin’s regime which went on to be adapted for a film directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Forest Whittaker and James McAvoy. After Jethwa explained to Foden the story she wanted to tell, Foden gave his blessing to the as-yet-unwritten play and its title.

“A lot of people who came from Uganda were sent to Leicester,” says Jethwa, “but we ended up in Dundee. When I started researching Idi Amin and learnt about his obsession with Scotland, it made me think, because he took Uganda off me, and we came here, and then he wanted to take Scotland off me, and I thought, nah, you’re not having that.”

Rather than tell her own story, Jethwa has fleshed out her play with her own fiction of a young woman older than her, and who remains more aware of what was going on when she left Uganda.

“I decided I wanted to do something that was visceral,” says Jethwa, “and which was something that could touch people. This is my love letter to Dundee for giving me a life. It’s a local story in that way, a community story. Dundee was quite a tough city when I first came here, and the play looks at trying to fit in. The character in the play gets into some very dangerous situations, and I think what I want the play to shed a light on is how she comes through that. One of the reasons I wanted to get this story out there is for people who are going through something similar now, and who might be confused about it. It’s also about owning your own history, and to not be ashamed of it.”

As directed by Stellar Quines artistic director and former head of Dundee Rep, Jemima Levick, and performed by Rehanna MacDonald, The Last Queen of Scotland previews in Dundee before forming part of this year’s Made in Scotland showcase at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“We’re living in a different cultural climate,” says Jethwa. “Dundee is a multi-cultural city now, but if you go to the outskirts, like any place there’s still some old school ideas around. Other than that, Dundee has been transformed.”

Jethwa illustrates this with a story that took place just before she visited Uganda. “I was really nervous about going, and I went to the pub and bumped into these black Ugandan people. I was just staring at them, and eventually went and talked to them. It turned out they were at the University and were staying in Dundee. Part of me thought that me going to Uganda was going to be the end of my life, but these people put me in touch with their pals over there, and were really helpful.”

As a film-maker, Jethwa is conscious about wanting her story to reach as wide an audience as possible. If her play was to be filmed, there is so much she could expand on, she says. As a play too, Jethwa wants The Last Queen of Scotland to leave its mark.

“I want to try and open up theatre in a new style,” she says. “So many stories about refugees are restricted to black and Asian theatre, and one of my challenges is to get this to a mass audience. I would like to see it put on in Uganda, as well as other places where there is a big issue of segregation. That story is relevant anywhere. It’s not just about refugees, but obviously where we are politically just now makes that really important as well. There were people coming over here from Uganda who didn’t have a choice where they lived, and who came here with nothing. But it’s not just about the expulsion of Asians from Uganda. It has to have a resonance about human beings anywhere.”

The Last Queen of Scotland previews at Dundee Rep, July 21-22 then plays at Underbelly in Edinburgh, August 3-26, 6.50pm

Neil Cooper – The Herald


Broadway World Q&A on The Last Queen of Scotland

Broadway World asked Director Jemima Levick a few questions about her forthcoming production The Last Queen of Scotland

Tell us a bit about The Last Queen of Scotland.

The Last Queen of Scotland is inspired by writer Jaimini’s experience of the Ugandan Asian expulsion, and her move to Dundee as an immigrant in the early 70’s. It is about how she chose to explore her past in order to be in control of her future – a story of where she came from and where she now belongs. To quote Jaimini it is a ‘love letter to the D… you know, fir giving me a hame.’

This is Jaimini’s first play. Her background is in film making but not in theatre and the play has not been a traditional commission. Jaimini had an idea about what she wanted to write and Jemima Levick (Stellar Quines’ Artistic Director) alongside George Aza-Selinger (former Literary Manager at the National Theatre of Scotland), have spent about four years working with Jaimini, to get to the point of a joint co-commission by Dundee Rep and the NTS, and the play being produced by Stellar Quines.

Having been on this journey with Jaimini we’re all excited to be at a point where we can share this story with audiences.

Why is it important for people to see it?

It’s an untold Scottish story and an important part of Scottish social history. It’s also a story of forced migration and the very human impact that had. Given what we’re living through at the moment this feels particularly pertinent.

At Stellar Quines we want to make work that inspires women and girls, and the play does that. It’s about knowing who you are, and belonging and defeating the powers that be from controlling you.

Who would you recommend comes to see The Last Queen of Scotland?

The play is an exciting new voice, in it’s in Dundonian dialect and it’s a little know story. Patricia Panther who recently provided lead vocals for Basement Jaxx’s latest album, Junto, will also be composing and performing the music.

So I would recommend it to people who are seeking an engaging theatrical experience that will not only entertain but provoke new thinking and hopefully good conversation afterwards. Those who are interested in hearing a new voice from Scotland and finding out about more about this period in history. Anyone who has felt conflicted about who they are and where they belong who will share in someone’s journey to solve that.

What’s next for you after the Fringe?

We’re thrilled to be working on a co-production with The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh and Scottish Dance Theatre of a new stage adaptation of Marguerite Duras‘ The Lover which is an exotic tale of remembered passion fusing spoken word, music and evocative dance.https://www.stellarquines.com/productions/the-lover/ The play will be presented at The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh 20 Jan 2018 – 3 February and tickets are on sale now.

Are there any other shows you’re hoping to catch at the festival?

There are so many! We’re part of the Made in Scotland showcase http://www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com/ this year and we’re certainly going to attempt to see as much as we can from our fellow showcase members.

Timings and ticket information for The Last Queen of Scotland are available on the edfringe website

Help shape the future direction of Stellar Quines

Over 23 years Stellar Quines has grown its reputation as one of Scotland’s longest serving and successful theatre companies with a unique position within the Scottish theatre community.

In a period of change and thinking about our future, Stellar Quines theatre company would like to know more about our audiences based on evidence rather than assumptions – and we need your help.

Please complete our short survey, whether or not you have attended any Stellar Quines plays or other events, or even heard of the company before.

Everyone who completes the survey by 28 Feb will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win £150 in vouchers of your choice. Full prize draw information is at the end of the survey. Your responses to the survey are confidential and your data will not be shared.

Please contact clair@culturerepublic.co.uk if you have any questions about the research.

Many thanks for your support,

The Stellar Quines Team

Stellar Quines & Glasgow Women’s Library Play Amnesty

Stellar Quines and Glasgow Women’s Library have launched a Play Amnesty to showcase female playwriting talent.

The Play Amnesty is a call out for plays written by women. As we both champion female voices we are asking people to donate copies of plays and scripts written by women that have been published, produced and/or performed for a new drama shelf.

To reflect the rich diversity of the Glasgow Women’s Library’s collection plays are sought from female writers of any nationality. The Library is particularly keen to receive plays that have a female focus, or strong roles for women, and writing from the Trans community and Women of Colour. Plays not written in the English language are also welcomed.

Alongside the public Amnesty we will be working with Glasgow Women’s Library to ensure culturally diverse voices are represented in their collection of plays, identifying women playwrights and sourcing plays. The plays will be available to members and will be used by the Library’s Drama Queens Group for readings. The project has the support of two of Scotland’s leading playwrights Linda McLean and Lynda Radley who have commited to donate their work to the drama shelf.

Linda Maclean, playwright:

When I was growing up I didn’t know that it was possible to be a playwright and a woman and alive. And while I comfort myself that things are changing I often meet people who cannot name a female playwright. I am so glad Stellar Quines and Glasgow Women’s Library is having a Play Amnesty.  It is such a positive step towards recording the many plays by women, living and dead, who have contributed to the body of Scottish Theatre, and who deserve to shine.

Lynda Radley, playwright:

I am delighted to donate copies of my published work to Glasgow Women’s’ Library, an organisation I have been aware of since I first moved to Glasgow eleven years ago. Glasgow Women’s Library provides excellent tailored resources including safe spaces for women to learn and to grow, resurrects fascinating local her stories and curates a programme of work that celebrates and challenges. Their values mirror those of Stellar Quines, an organisation I have also had to pleasure of being nurtured by, and I feel honoured that my work will sit alongside that of other female playwrights in Glasgow Women’s Library. 

The Amnesty closed on the 28th February with the drama shelf is to be unveiled on the 8th March to mark International Women’s Day.

Drama Shelf Launch

Glasgow Women’s Library

Wednesday 8th March, 2.00 – 4.30pm – Free – all ages welcome.

Tea and cake served from 1.30pm

A launch event at Glasgow Women’s Library will include readings by the Library’s Drama Queens group, and workshop sessions with playwright’s Linda McLean and Lynda Radley and a discussion and Q&A with Stellar Quines Artistic Director Jemima Levick.

Come along and join in championing and celebrating the stories of women and girls.

Thanks to Playwright’s Studio, Tron Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Dundee Rep Theatre, Shetland Arts & Horsecross Arts for supporting the project and collection of plays during the Play Amnesty.


You can still post plays & scripts to:

Play Amnesty 

Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy St, Glasgow, G40 1BP


Play Amnesty Press Release

Results of PiPA research published – 8 out of 10 parents turn down work

The results of the research carried out by Parents in Performing Arts (PiPA) have been published and reveal the astonishing, but possibly not surprising fact that eight out of ten parents turn down theatre work owing to childcare possibilities.

Over 950 people responded to the survey and 81% of those who are self employed have had to turn down work and 57% of people who are employed had also declined work due to caring responsibilities.

The full results were published in The Stage today and make for interesting reading.

Stellar Quines is pleased to be part of the nationwide consortium.