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Caithness News Bulletins September 2003

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2nd October, 7.30p.m. - - 3rd October, 1.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. - in WICK HIGH SCHOOL
4 schools - 250 children - 10 songs - 3 performances

Grey Coast Theatre are now well into their second week with the P6's and P7's from North, South, Hillhead and Pulteneytown Primary schools rehearsing their ambitious brand new production, The Song Of Wick. 250 pupils are collaborating with Grey Coast's professional team to produce the show which is an epic ten song cycle charting Wick from its earliest times when the brochs were being built, through the often violent middle ages to the boom years of the herring fishing, the Second World War and up to the present time and beyond.

The words for the songs have been written by Grey Coast's Artistic Director George Gunn and the music has been composed by Andy Thorburn of the well known band "Blazin' Fiddles" and is directed by long time Grey Coast collaborator Eric Tessier-Lavigne.

"Everything is coming together slowly, which is part of the rehearsal process," said George Gunn. "The four drama workers have all been working extremely hard and the children are fearless and full of energy. The support the theatre company has received from all the teachers in the four schools has been outstanding. Grey Coast could not have asked for more."

Theatre is the art of the possible and the logistics of performing the Song Of Wick in Wick High School are challenging. Brian Smith, originally from Thurso and one of the Grey Coast Stage Managers said, "The main problem we face is in marshalling the children on and off when each class comes to perform their own individual song. We're trying to keep it simple but the Wick High School stage presents problems because it is quite deep but very flat so our main priority is making sure the children are seen and heard. Other than that it's the usual business of lights and props."

Whatever the practical challenges in mounting The Song Of The Wick Grey Coast want the emphasis and focus to remain firmly on the children as this project represents the latest manifestation of the company's long term commitment in providing high quality theatre for the children and the broader community of the far north.

Meanwhile the children just enjoy the experience. Reese Coghill (10) of P6two of North School agrees. "It's good because we have fun." Andrew Harper, of the same class, takes a slightly different vie. "It's good because parents will come to it", he said. Kirsty Smith, also of P6two from the North School like the singing. ""It's good for us doing the play," she said, "Because we are learning the high notes and the low notes."

Some pupils from Hillhead take a rather more philosophical view. ""I think The Song Of Wick is great," says Simon Hoy of P6, "because it will bring back and make real the history of Wick." Andrew Ploughman, also of P6 in Hillhead, strikes a confident note. "I think the performances will be a great success and lots of people will come and see Wick as it was hundreds of years ago."

What is certain is that The Song of Wick will be a unique experience and it will be performed in Wick High School at 7.00pm on Thursday 2nd of October and at 1.30pm and 7.00pm on Friday 3rd of October. The performances are free but you will need a ticket which can be booked by phoning Grey Coast Theatre on 01847 890 840 or by contacting North, South, Hillhead and Pulteneytown Schools.

or see www.greycoast.org.uk