Budding actors from one of Kirkcaldy’s most deprived areas, who were encouraged to try acting to give themselves a voice, are about to stage their first production.
Behind Closed Doors is the inaugural piece of performance theatre by the Linton Lane Theatre Group which has been working with theatre group Grassmarket Productions for the past eight months.
The Linton Lane theatre workshops started in March after centre manager Mandy Henderson and Councillor Judy Hamilton saw Grassmarket Projects’ Dogslife at the Edinburgh Festival and were so impressed that they raised funding to bring it to Kirkcaldy’s Old Kirk for two performances last year.
This led to a concerted effort to find additional funding to allow Grassmarket Projects, a community theatre company based in Edinburgh, to come to Kirkcaldy to run theatre workshops at Linton Lane to encourage people who would otherwise have little access to theatre to try acting and explore issues that are of interest to them.
It was particularly aimed at young men who may be at risk of offending, but is open to anyone living in the town.
And since it started it has attracted a large number of new faces along to the centre to see what it’s all about.
“We come to Linton Lane every Monday and Thursday for our theatre workshops, and each time we have a core number of 15-20 people, with others coming and going,” explained artistic director Jeremy Weller.
“We’ve been really welcomed into the Linton Lane community and now consider ourselves part of the family.”
Mark Traynor, producer, added: “People who have been coming along to the workshops have told us it is great to have an outlet like this where they can come and be themselves and explore issues which are close to their hearts – be that joy, frustration, anxiety or whatever – through drama.”
And Paul, one of the actors, who joined the group in June and will be performing in Behind Closed Doors, added: “I had never done anything like this before, but I thought I would come along and see what it was all about and I have really enjoyed taking part.
“I discovered that I am quite good at acting and it has given my confidence a big boost.”
So much so that Paul is now working at the centre and says his life has changed for the better.
“Now it has given my life some structure and I don’t just sit around the house all day doing nothing,” he said.
Behind Closed Doors was written by the actors themselves, based on some of their own experiences.
It explores the idea of what goes on behind closed doors which people read about but never get to see, including the young people’s vision of what love is and how they deal with it.
“It is a nice piece of work which can be developed into something bigger – a work in progress,” said Jeremy.
“We have definitely seen that taking part in the workshops has been beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing, and they come out of the sessions on a high because we do have a lot of fun.”
Mark added that they couldn’t have achieved all that they have so far without the support of Fife Council and the team from the Corra Foundation which helps groups obtain funding, as well as the team at Linton Lane and Councillor Hamilton (pictured).
“This is something that we would love to continue doing as we are not here for a short-term solution,” he said.
“While this community may not be the wealthiest in Scotland it is very wealthy in the huge source of untapped creativity it has,” said Jeremy.
“At the beginning we were seeing people coming through the doors quite shy and reserved and over the months we have seen them coming out of their shells and becoming performers.”
Behind Closed Doors will be staged in the Linton Lane Centre on November 30 at 7pm and tickets are available by calling the centre on 01592 643816.