Summer school in the ‘Kingdom that danced’

Rehearsing for the show
Rehearsing for the show
Share this article

A new theatre project which was launched last year saw older people in Fife enjoy sell-out success on the local stage.

And following the success of ‘Dancing Days’, Fife Performance Ensemble return with a new piece of work for 2014, ‘In the Kingdom That Danced’.

Preparations are well underway for the production and next week a ‘summer school’ will provide the perfect opportunity for more people in an older generation to get involved.

The week-long ‘summer school’ aims to provide a great opportunity to learn new skills, have some fun and meet inspiring like-minded individuals.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know your two-step from your tango, the project is free and open to all - the only pre-requisite is that participants must be over 60.

Building on a series of performance workshops in June and July this year, ‘In The Kingdom That Danced’ will be part of Luminate 2014, Scotland’s Creative Ageing Festival.

And it involves working with older people from five areas of Fife, including Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, culminating in a large scale production in October at the Glen Pavilion in Dunfermline.

The summer school at the Adam Smith Theatre, which starts on Monday, August 18, provides an amazing chance to not only be a part of this fantastic production, but to learn new skills, make new friends and get involved in the arts, from the joy of singing and dancing to telling the stories of Fife.

Alan Lyddiard, who is running the project again this year, said: “Last year we arrived in Fife in September and by the end of October we’d made a show.

“This year we have more ambitions and want to invite more people to get involved and take it gently and build it up.

“We have weekly workshops with people to develop their skills and now we’re taking it to the next stage, having an intensive set up to raise the bar a bit and get people working on a regular basis to get more material for the show.

“We’ve had a great response and we’re up to 50 regulars now which is pretty amazing.

“They are regularly turning up for classes and workshops.

“Although we’ve a lot of women, we are looking 
for more men to come along.

“The summer school is important and I hope it is an annual event.

“I’m hoping we can run a summer school next year with more teachers and participants.

“During the summer holidays there are summer schools run by youth theatre companies with workshops and classes and I’m looking at that model but for older people.

Molly McWatt, from Glenrothes, sums up the benefits and joys of participating in the project.

She said: “I retired at 66 and never had a chance to do anything like this before - but now I am singing and dancing every week, meeting new friends and loving it.”

The initiative also offers the chance to revive the forgotten pleasures of performance.

Bob Christie said: “I was resident vocalist with the Jack Taylor band at the Burma Ballroom from 1962, gave it up for many years, joined the army and had a career in education.

“Now I’m enjoying singing again with the Fife Performance Ensemble.”

Alan explained more about the production planned for October as part of the Luminate festival.

He said: “It tells the story of 12 princesses that go out every night and dance and come back exhausted. It’s an old fable.

“Our princesses are in their 60s, 70s and 80s but can still dance!

“We’re going from ballroom to start with into the wildness of ceilidh.

“We’re telling a story but also creating an event that the audience can join in with.”

And Alan’s pleased to be back working with the people in Fife.

He added: I’m feeling really at home back in Fife.

“It’s a great place to be and I’m loving working with the older people. They have so much energy and enthusiasm and always want to be doing more things.

“They are amazing; they keep you young.”

The summer school kicks off with a series of workshops taught by seasoned industry professionals from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Monday to Wednesday, and continue with a chance to put these new skills into action, developing a new show on Thursday and Friday evening from 6.00-8.00 p.m.

The summer school concludes with the sharing of the week’s achievements on Sautrday, August 23 at 10.00 a.m. and a chance to impress an audience of all ages.

For more information about Fife Performance Ensemble and In the Kingdom That Danced contact Alan Lyddiard by emailing or contact the Adam Smith Theatre.