Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre launch REP STUDIOS, a new digital platform showcasing a season of theatre, dance, and music, celebrating Dundee’s distinctive cultural voice within a wider world facing change and evolution driven by these unique times.
REP STUDIOS provides employment for 84 Scottish based freelancers over 5 months and builds on last year’s digital output which employed 55 freelance artists and creatives.
Rep Studios further cements Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre’s identity as one creative organisation with a strong commitment to public service. This new digital space will feature new work from both companies’ ensembles, co-productions and work conceived specifically for online sharing, including some of the highlights from Dundee Rep’s 80th anniversary season, cut short by the global pandemic. This new online platform is designed to reach and engage wider audiences thanks to its digital and accessible nature, recognising that the arts should return stronger, while placing equalities, environmental and civic responsibility at the forefront of recovery.
The first season of Rep Studios will present everything from dance, musicals and gigs, through to folklore, storytelling and footballing legends – all reflecting the wonderfully diverse communities that give Dundee its distinctive voice, which resonates with audiences far afield. This season of work is made possible by support from our core funding partners Creative Scotland and Dundee City Council together with the support of the Scottish Government through the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund.
As well as the much-loved Dundee Rep Ensemble, who recently celebrated 20 years, and Scottish Dance Theatre’s company of international dancers, 84 Scottish and Scottish-based freelance arts professionals are involved in this first season, ensuring much-needed work for the highly skilled workers fundamental to the creative ecology within the sector, all of whom have been hit extremely hard by the global pandemic.
Launching the first season of Rep Studios today Artistic Director (Dundee Rep) and Joint-Chief Executive Andrew Panton said:
“Using technology in the way we have has of course been a necessity during this global pandemic. When an arts organisation is forced to close its doors but needs to continue to talk to audiences, then digital platforms are the only way. It is that very necessity however, that has given rise to innovation, allowing us to now reach wider and more diverse audiences, offer more accessible content, and explore a range of hybrid artistic forms of output that we simply wouldn’t have considered 12 months ago. Rep Studios therefore gives us the chance to share stories which are firmly rooted in our fantastic, creative city but which speak to the wider world. We hope football fans around the world will join us to enjoy something they couldn’t in person when they tune in to see our 80th anniversary season hit Smile, about Dundee footballing legend, Jim McLean.
“We know for sure there is a range of content available online but we hope with Rep Studios we can offer something really distinctive that will stand out and also live well beyond the end of this current pandemic.”
Artistic Director (Scottish Dance Theatre) Joan Clevillé said:
“It is a joy to be able to celebrate the launch of our new digital home with two digital creations. I am thrilled by the artistic possibilities that this new platform will offer us and I cannot wait to reconnect with our audiences in Scotland, the UK and across the world. Rep Studios will allow us to remain outward looking whilst upholding our commitment to the environment, and exploring more sustainable ways of sharing our work with international audiences. It is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to the journey ahead!”
THE PROGRAMME FOR THE FIRST SEASON OF REP STUDIOS
Marking the opening of Rep Studios is the return of the 80th anniversary season’s smash-hit Smile (16 April – 16 May) which saw Dundee Rep packed out with brand new theatre audiences, recreating a thrilling atmosphere usually found on the terraces at Dundee United’s home ground, Tannadice Park. Filmed on the Rep stage, Smile focuses on the controversial and highly respected figure of Jim McLean, a Scottish footballing legend who took Dundee United to new heights. Written by Philip Differ ('Only an Excuse?'), directed by Sally Reid ('Scot Squad') and with Rep Ensemble’s Barrie Hunter reprising the title role, this funny and surprisingly honest play reveals a Jim McLean not many knew – the one that makes you smile.
Scottish Dance Theatre is celebrating this year’s International Dance Day in style with the digital premiere on 29 April of Thin h/as h/air choreographed by company member Pauline Torzuoli. This poetic solo work is inspired by two natural phenomena: “Itla-okla”, the long hanging moss growing on South American tress, and “hair ice”, the ephemeral ice formations that appear on dead wood in Scotland and at other northern latitudes. This digital premiere will be an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the in-house choreographic talent within the company.
A natural continuation from Where are you, Dundee? which was created by and for the people of Dundee, This is for you Dundee is a free to access mini-festival of new work created by 26 freelance artists and creatives engaging with the people of Dundee in celebration of their resilience during an extremely challenging year and exploring the transformative power of performing arts. As part of this mini-festival, six special projects will take place in the audio and digital spheres between 14 and 23 May. Crossing art forms and exploring a wide range of themes, This is for you Dundee offers something for people of all ages, with accessibility at its core and aspects of the festival, using non-verbal storytelling and dance with all projects captioned.
The Dundee Rep Ensemble presents the world premiere of Sinder, an original piece of digital performance from an all-female creative team including Associate Directors Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore, Molly Taylor ('Love Letters to the Public Transport System', 'Extinguished Things') and film-maker Kim Beveridge ('Sonic Cinema'). Sinder is the result of a direct creative conversation with women from across Dundee on the impact of a global pandemic on local lives. This is a verbatim piece that attempts to bring together a diverse range of stories, experiences and perspectives in order to capture and record a collective moment of herstory.
Delivering on our strategy of bringing music events to the fore and continuing our work with freelance artists, Dawn Sievewright ('Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour', 'Glasgow Girls') and John McLarnon ('My Left Right Foot', 'Local Hero') have collaborated with Rep Artistic Director Andrew Panton to present 3M MIXTAPE (part one) (May). This special lockdown project forges unique creative connections as it brings together incredible and diverse Scottish music talents to collaborate on a variety of duets. Filmed live and shot across different locations throughout Scotland that have changed their significance during lockdown, artists include Reuben Joseph, Eleanor Kane, Christina Modestou, Sally Clay, and Martin Quinn. 3M MIXTAPE will blend original music and covers from a wide range of music genres and will feature guest appearances from some of the original artists including Boy George.
The Life and Times (17 - 18 June) will see the full ensemble of Scottish Dance Theatre dancers returning to their home stage of Dundee Rep. The piece will be broadcasted live from the stage at the Rep in a single, continuous shot by Edinburgh-based video artist Tao-Anas Le Thanh. The Life and Times will be a cinematic, live dance experience, re-uniting Scottish Dance Theatre with its followers across the world and celebrating the uniqueness of every member of the company.
Dundee Rep and Eden Court Highlands presents Islander, a reimagining of the award-winning two-hander folk theatre show conceived and directed by Amy Draper with music and lyrics by St Andrews-born writer and composer Finn Anderson. Originally presented as part of Made in Scotland 2019 showcase at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this critically-acclaimed environmental show continued its success with an off-West End run and a BBC Radio 4 adaptation. The Rep Studios reimagining of Islander for camera stays true to the show’s beautiful folktale storytelling and score.
Area of a Circle (28 May) offers a unique insight into the world of 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award-winner Kathryn Joseph who relocated to Dundee just before the global pandemic brought the world to a standstill. In this special, live-streamed event, Kathryn will be joined on stage by fellow Dundee musicians Su Shaw (SHHE), Andrew Wasylyk, and Sion Parkinson. Area of a Circle will feature these artists performing live and offering their thoughts on the past year – the impact of the pandemic on their music and the wider music industry – as well as celebrating the profound influence Dundee has on their creative output.
Every Map Has A Scale (Chapter 2) is a continuation of Scottish Dance Theatre’s ongoing live-research project aiming to connect Scottish Dance Theatre more deeply with communities in its home-town of Dundee. In this part of the work, each dancer from the company invites an individual from across the city to create a new duet. This is a celebration of community, connection and the importance of dancing together. The project is led by Associate Directors Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore with creative practitioner Amanda Lowson and filmmaker Genevieve Reeves.
Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre are committed to making Rep Studios content accessible and affordable with reduced rates for those who can't afford to pay the full price and many free events across the season.