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The focus of this year was on developing talent and increasing performance opportunities and strengthening collaborative partnerships.

Peformance Highlights included:

 Lysistrata Project  RBC, Dumfries

In March Bamboo Grove was the first Scottish group to commit to this worldwide theatrical act of dissentagainst the impending invasion of Iraq.  Our programme, practical as ever by the constraints of time, size and potential particpants, featured 8 short dramatic pieces by local writers (including one who was subsequently been elected to the Scottish Parliament) and an abridged adaptation of Aristotle’s “Lysistrata” by Cally Phillips entitled “War in Seven Easy Stages.

The event was live and unrehearsed! George Bush and Tony Blair were greatly in evidence (behind masks) and while it didn’t stop the war, it did raise consciousness, express dissenting views and raise some money for peace charities as well as linking us with a worldwide movement.

 from ‘War in Seven Easy Stages’ (Cally Phillips)

One To One with William Buckland (OUDS) Produced by Amanda Walker, Directed by Ilan Goodman. Cast: Buckland – James Copp, Jane – Rachna Suri.

Cally Phillips was commissioned to write an imaginary dialogue between William Buckland (the father of geology) and a modern scientist to form a promenade interactive drama which would be a key part of the Oxford Museums Schools Science Fair at the Oxford Natural History Museum in March 2003.The play was directed and performed by Oxford University Drama Students.

 Triptych Weekend at the Brigend Theatre, Dumfries. Three of Cally Phillips plays given staged readings over one weekend in March (and appropriately for pieces questioning the very nature of ‘time’ it was the weekend the clocks went forward)

The Three Plays were:

Love is an Urban Myth directed by Marc de Launay

When Time Stands Still directed by John Mitchell

The Other Side of the Mountain  directed by Cally Phillips

Love is an Urban Myth.

First performed in 1999 as rehearsed readings at  Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Tron Theatre Glasgow, directed by Nic Bone.

Directed for Triptych weekend by Marc de Launay. Cast   Stephen McCole and Samantha Young .

Dave and Sarah meet after fifteen years. What has changed? What didn’t they say? What won’t they say now? A non-linear exploration of life, love and the games we play to protect ourselves.


Cally Phillips “This play starts just before the end deliberately to challenge the audience to make sense of the relationship they then experience in a different way, a way more akin to the way we understand relationships in real life. The mysteries at the beginning are all resolved throughout the journey of Dave and Sarah’s relationship, and the end is a whole new beginning, open to a range of audience interpretations.”

When Time Stands Still.

First performed in December 2002 at Corpus Christi College Oxford.  Directed for Triptych weekend by John Mitchell. Cast: Mark Gowland, Jean Pierre de Rosnay and Melanie Goldblatt.

A love triangle that is completely out of this world. A kitchen sink drama set on a Martian space-station, where in the 48 minutes that “don’t exist” a romance develops, with devastating consequences.

(photo from the Oxford ‘version’)

Cally Phillips “I don’t know why more plays aren’t set in spaceships or off world. This isn’t a sci-fi play, but the enclosed setting provides a good theatrical environment to discuss a lot of contemporary issues and to play around with the question – you can take the man out of the world, but can you take the world out of the man.”

The Other Side of the Mountain.

First performance at Triptych weekend. Directed by Cally Phillips. Cast: Kristian Hart and Bevan  Connell.

The longest journey is the moment from life to death. Two men on a remote mountain in China make an amazing discovery – and learn how to die.  On an expedition to prove the “existence” of the Daoist sage Lao Tzu, two men struggle to make sense of choice and destiny as death becomes a practical rather than a theoretical challenge.


Cally Phillips “I first had the idea for this play over 10 years ago, but it took a long time to find the right setting for the themes. It was harder than I ever imagined it would be to write, because it deals with death and it has some really deep things to say about the relationship between the purposes of life and death, never mind the amounts of Chinese philosophy that had to be consumed to make some sense of the character’s situations.

July/August saw  ‘The Red Tree’ (NOF Funded Project youth project at Ryan Centre, Stranraer) Workshop leader Mona Keeling.  A week long series of workshops leading to performance in which the participants gained experience in devising, writing, movement, voice and improvisation.The project provided an opportunity for young people in the Stranraer area to engage with drama in a new and exciting way.

The Red Tree was a 30 minute drama devised by the participants which asked questions about the world, the way it is, and how we might change it.

Bottling our emotions

It takes one man to start a war, and many lives to end it.

September saw Crichton  ‘Playwrights Live’ at the Brigend Theatre, Dumfries and Swallow Theatre, Whithorn . 4 monologues and 4 short plays were performed by actors Jo Johnson and Lisa Gardiner.

The Trouble with Socks (Mary Smith)

One Hand Clapping (Vivien Jones) winner of the 2002 Monologue Competition

For the Sake of Big George (Jim Baillie)

Sister (Vivien Jones)

Clowning Around (Jackie Baldwin)

Dead Men Tell (Alison Reid)

Memories (Jackie Galley)

The Box (Chris Carruthers)


Ability Day. A day of creative expression for people labelled with disabilities in the Dumfries and Galloway opportunity offering the opportunity to explore their Abilities.

Wheelchair Drama Group performed ‘Wheelchair Gangsters’ at Ability Day. The project was run in collaboration with Capability Scotland.  The group was exclusively wheelchair users. The reasoning behind this was simple. In most life situations, drama workshops included, wheelchairs pose particular challenges to complete social interaction (eye level being one of the most obviously relevant to drama)  The project therefore worked to develop basic dramatic skills and techniques in a setting where everyone could experience a ‘level playing field’. The aim was to give group members confidence to integrate with mixed ability groups as well as perform in their own right.

ABC Drama Group was founded in 2003 out of a local People First Group with an interest in drama.  They performed ‘King John’s Journey’ as their first drama piece at Ability Day.

Food for Thought Drama Group first came together in 2002 to work on a project entitled “Who is Normal?” as a presentation piece at a Building Healthier Communities event.  The collaboration with Bamboo Grove started when the play was turned into a short video and the group went from strength to strength, producing other dramatic works including “Roadhouse to Recovery” (performed at Ability Day) and “3 Men and a Box” (performed at SensAbility Day, 2004)


Down the Line (partnership with OUDS/ Oxford Education.)  Produced by Lucy Burns, directed by Lisa Maule.  A workshop project with Oxford secondary schools culminated in a performance at the Burton Taylor Theatre

The issues of the play are still relevant to contemporary society, but in “Down the Line” Butlers have become bodyguards, ladies maid’s have become personal assistants and the aristocracy are footballers and pop stars. As such, themes such as “what’s natural is right” and the hierarchy of social convention are explored by and for young people in a context readily available to them


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