Media Release National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council present

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Media Release
National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council present

Tickets on sale for an epic outdoor theatre event telling the story of Aberdeen

Torry-born Joyce Falconer and Aberdeen panto favourite Alan McHugh join the cast
Headline sponsor: Deloitte

Supported by Aberdeen Inspired, Arts & Business Scotland, Balmoral Group, Mackie’s of Scotland and Creative Scotland

Produced in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts, ACT Aberdeen, Citymoves Dance Agency, Sound Festival, SHMU and University of Aberdeen Music.
Tickets are now on sale for an epic theatrical production that marks the finale of Granite, the large-scale arts project launched by the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council in September 2015. Three performances will take place on a large, custom-built set within the quadrangle of Marischal College, one of Aberdeen’s most iconic buildings, from Thursday 31 March to Saturday 2 April 2016 at 7.30pm.
Devised and written with the people of Aberdeen, Granite tells the story of the city from 1863 to 2016 in just over an hour, transporting audiences from 19th Century Aberdeen across oceans, continents and centuries. The production follows some of the men and women who made the city famous, those who left Aberdeen to find their fortunes and those arriving now to seek theirs. The action will take place in a wide range of settings: from the granite quarries of Kemnay and Rubislaw to the fishing boats and oil platforms of the North Sea; from a night out on Union Street to an ocean voyage on an Atlantic schooner; from the snowfields of Tsarist Ukraine to the football field in Gothenburg that hosted Aberdeen Football Club’s legendary victory in the 1983 UEFA Cup final. Audience members will be seated around a 20 metre long stage, to experience a production that features a live orchestra and choir, aerial performance, dance, video projection and a large cast comprising both professional actors – including Torry-born Joyce Falconer and HMT panto favourite Alan McHugh - and performers from local community arts groups, including Aberdeen Performing Arts, ACT Aberdeen, Citymoves Dance Agency, the University of Aberdeen, Delisto Afroreggae Dancers and the Slovo School of Aberdeen.
Since September 2015, the National Theatre of Scotland has engaged with thousands of people in Aberdeen, exploring the city’s past, present and future. Stories of famous people, unsung heroes, great events, triumphs and disasters have been collected. Across the city, in workplaces, shopping malls, libraries, on the streets, and online, Aberdonians have been asked what the city means to them and how they envision the city developing for future generations. Some of these responses and ideas were presented in a series of performances and installations that took place across Aberdeen city centre in November and December 2015: an immersive radiophonic soundwalk took audience members on a guided tour of some iconic Aberdeen spaces and places, as a specially composed soundscape of choral music, poetry and electronica played through their headphones; famous figures from Aberdeen’s past and the inheritors of Aberdeen’s future were celebrated in a weekend of street theatre performances; in the weekend before Christmas, 60 windows across the bustling city centre shone into life with video portraits of everyday Aberdonians; last-minute shoppers enjoyed pop-up performances from a specially-assembled dance group, who blended traditional Scottish and Russian folk dance to an uplifting soundtrack; online, at, people submitted written and voice responses to a series of questions about their connection to the city. Running parallel to these activities, a collective of writers from Aberdeen’s flourishing writing scene have been working under the guidance of acclaimed playwright and writer Peter Arnott, to create, collect and adapt stories and scenes that will provide the inspiration for the theatrical finale.
Granite_Director_Simon_Sharkey_says'>Granite'>Granite is directed by National Theatre of Scotland Associate Director Simon Sharkey, returning to direct a show in Aberdeen for the first time since the award-winning Extreme in 2011. Joining him is a team of world-class theatre artists, including: dramaturg Peter Arnott (Janis Joplin: Full Tilt and The Cone Gatherers for HMT Aberdeen); set and costume designer Becky Minto (Opening/Closing Ceremonies, Glasgow 2104 Commonwealth Games Associate Designer); lighting designer Colin Grenfell (Black Watch); Sound Designer Philip Pinsky (The Guid Sisters, The Driver’s Seat) video artist Graeme Roger (Culloden Battlefield Artist in Residence); movement director Brigid McCarthy (Dundee Rep Dance Company); associate director Phil McCormack (Jump, Extreme).
Granite Director Simon Sharkey says: “After two years of planning and six months of engagement, this piece of theatre, shaped with the people of Aberdeen, becomes delightfully imminent as tickets go on sale. The real challenge of telling this city’s story begins now. The excitement is tangible: I have an amazing cast made up of some of the Aberdeen community alongside some of our finest actors. The dates are set, and the prospect of the audiences coming through those doors at Marischal College to experience the story of their city is exhilarating. I can’t wait.”
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam says: “This is an ambitious project both in scale and in artistic content, and it really does showcase the city’s immense talent across the creative spectrum. We’re lucky to live in a city with such a rich heritage, which is home to such a diversity of people. Our city is alive with arts and culture and Granite is a great example of public, private and third sector organisations working together with both professional and amateur artists to produce something really special.”

Derek Henderson, Deloitte’s Senior Partner in Aberdeen, says: “It’s hard to believe we’re now coming up to the culmination of Granite – a unique and inspiring initiative that we’re very proud to sponsor. The finale will be a fitting tribute to Aberdeen’s rich history, culture and creativity; just some of the many reasons for supporting this project and for continuing to invest in the city during what are, for many, challenging times.”
Granite actor Joyce Falconer says: “I look forward to performing in Granite and putting on a show celebrating our heritage. We Aberdonians are not always very good at celebrating ourselves, but the city and its people have outstanding stories and culture to share. I love working on ensemble pieces and will enjoy working with all the groups already involved in Granite.”

National Theatre of Scotland Press contacts:

Adam McDougall, Press and Marketing Officer:

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9231 M: +44 (0)7738 153157
Emma Schad, Press Manager:

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9016 M: +44 (0)7930 308018

Joyce Falconer – Actor

In her youth Joyce performed regularly in Torry Academy productions and at Aberdeen Arts Centre. Her pocket money was earned selling pies at Pittodrie in the glory years. She graduated from RSAMD in 1991, where she was awarded the Duncan Macrae Memorial prize for Scots Verse. Since then, she has become a familiar face on Scottish stage and screen, working and touring in many genres of theatre. Her first one-woman show was Scunnered the Seagull. She is known to TV soap fans as Roisin, whom she played for the first five years of Scottish soap opera, River City. Joyce played Jean Guthrie in APA’s first production, Sunset Song, and made her maiden flight as Fairy Godmother in His Majesty’s Theatre’s Centenary Panto. She has been involved with several co-productions for A Play, A Pie and A Pint season at The Lemon Tree, including her own musical The Tale O’ Fanny Cha Cha.

Alan McHugh – Actor

Since graduating from RSAMD in 1991, Alan has worked and toured with the country’s leading theatre companies including National Theatre Of Scotland, The Citizens Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Tron Theatre, The Arches, Wildcat, Borderline, Perth Theatre, Dundee Rep, Aberdeen Performing Arts, A Play A Pie And A Pint, and 7:84. Alan appeared in the National Theatre of Scotland production of Tutti Frutti. For the last 12 years, Alan has written and played the dame in the annual pantomime at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen. Previous credits with Aberdeen Performing Arts include Sunset Song, The Silver Darlings and One In A Million. Other recent credits include The Garden (Sound Festival) and Rachel’s Cousins (BBC Radio 4). Alan will appear in the sold out run of Limmy Live at The Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow. Television credits include Taggart and Take the High Road (STV), double BAFTA Award-winning Limmy’s Show, Rab C Nesbitt, Still Game, Dear Green Place (Comedy Unit), Single Father, Sea Of Souls and River City (BBC).

Simon Sharkey – Director

Simon is Associate Director of National Theatre of Scotland and an inaugural member of the Company’s senior management team. He leads the Learn department and previous work for the Company includes large-scale site-specific productions, including The Tin Forest, Jump and Extreme. He has worked across the world and facilitates international cultural exchanges for the National Theatre of Scotland. Most recently he has been travelling throughout Scotland and internationally, developing a wide range of projects for communities.

Peter Arnott – Dramaturg

Peter was born in Glasgow in 1962. He began his career at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in May 1985 with White Rose. That same month his play The Boxer Benny Lynch opened in Glasgow Arts Centre.

He is the writer of some 40 professionally produced stage plays. He has written songs and screenplays and television and radio scripts, though his main focus has remained live performance, including large and small scale community projects. He has worked extensively with other writers on their work through the Playwrights' Studio Scotland and the Citizens Theatre. His first novel, Moon Country, was published by Vagabond Voices in 2015.
Becky Minto – Set and Costume Designer

Becky is as a set and costume designer who has designed a wide range of productions for mainhouse and touring theatre, aerial and dance performances, and site-specific and large scale outdoor events. She was Associate Designer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for Glasgow 2104 Commonwealth Games. Her designs for the National Theatre of Scotland’s multi-location, Shetland-based production Ignition and Iron-Oxide’s site-specific production of White Gold were selected to be part of the exhibition Make Believe/ UK Design for Performance at the Prague

Quadrennial 2015 and The V&A museum, London.
Philip Pinsky – Sound Designer

Philip Pinsky is a composer and sound designer. For five years he was Associate Artist at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, working on more than 25 productions. He has also provided scores for the Edinburgh International Festival, Chichester Festival Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Almeida Theatre, Dundee Rep, TNM (Montreal), Grid Iron, Stellar Quines, Sky Arts, MTV, Granada and BBC TV and Radio. Previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes The Driver's Seat, The Guid Sisters, Roam and Transform Fife: You tell us what was, we tell you what is. Winner of the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland 2005 and of a Sony Music Award for Extraneous Noises Off for BBC Radio 3.

Brigid McCarthy – Movement Director

Brigid worked as an independent freelance dancer for many years with a variety of different choreographers, moving on to choreographing site-specific work with Dawn Hartley. A pause in performing gave an opportunity to concentrate on teaching which has included being a Scottish pioneering advocate for Pilates, Gyrotonic and Scaravelli yoga. More recently Brigid has been part of creative team/performed in several big scale theatre productions/outdoor shows including Land of Giants in Belfast (2012 Cultural Olympics), White Gold in Greenock (Iron Oxide) and the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony in Glasgow. Ongoing & developing collaborations include working with Rob Heaslip Dance, visual artist Su Grierson and Cuerda Producciones in Argentina.

Phil McCormack – Associate Designer
Working across new writing, classics, and devised work, Phil works predominantly between London and Scotland. Previous credits for National Theatre of Scotland include Jump (Co-Director with Simon Sharkey), An Appointment With The Wicker Man (Staff Director) and Men Should Weep, The Wheel and Nothing To See Here (Assistant Director). Most recent work includes After All This and Paved With Gold for Ovalhouse, and Freak Show for The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Other credits include Assistant Director for The Silence of the Sea, Director/Facilitator for The Tomorrow Project (Donmar Warehouse) and Resident Director for Great Expectations (West End).

Performances at:

Marischal College Quadrangle

Broad Street, Aberdeen AB10 1AB

Thu 31 Mar, Fri 1, Sat 2 Apr: 7.30pm

Tickets £10 / £5 concessions inclusive of booking fee (check with Box Office for concessions info)

Available by phone on 01224 641122 and online at

And in person at The Music Hall, Union Street and His Majesty’s Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct

Seating is unreserved

Performance lasts approximately 70mins without interval

This is an outdoor performance – please dress warmly for the Aberdeen weather

Performance is wheelchair accessible – please advise Box Office when booking

For full details of accessible performances, please contact Box Office

Age guideline: recommended 7+

Toilets on site

Hot and cold drinks available

Nearest parking Bon Accord and St Nicholas Shopping Centre


  1. The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally and works constantly to develop new talent. Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the Company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the Company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the Company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.

  2. In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms. Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms. The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.For more information, please visit

  3. Arts & Business Scotland (A&BS) is a national charity which encourages and promotes new and sustainable collaborations between the creative and business sectors. It fosters dynamic cross sector relationships to enable Scotland to benefit from a vibrant cultural community. The New Arts Sponsorship (NAS) Grant scheme encourages private sector sponsorship of cultural activity in Scotland. Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by A&BS it offers £1 for £1 match funding to cultural organisations which have secured sponsorship from an eligible business.

In total, over £7 million has been invested in culture through NAS with Scottish Government investment exceeding £3 million since the grant scheme began in 2006.

  1. Balmoral Group Holdings Ltd is a privately owned company based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Employing over 600 people, Balmoral has been providing solutions to the oil and gas, marine, construction, environmental engineering and processing sectors since 1980.

  2. Aberdeen Inspired is Aberdeen’s Business Improvement District within the city centre, funded by levy payers. Aberdeen Inspired works on behalf of 700 (approx.) city centre businesses.

  3. ACT Aberdeen is a leading community arts venue run by a small core team of staff and over 80 volunteers, which provides facilities and opportunities for professional, amateur and youth companies and individuals to enjoy an enriching cultural life through tuition, performance and participation, regardless of age or social circumstance.

  4. Citymoves Dance Agency nurtures a diverse programme of dance classes, performance groups, workshops, residencies, targeted partnership projects across Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland. It produces DanceLive – Scotland's only annual festival of contemporary dance which is celebrating its 10th birthday in October 2015. Citymoves' purpose is to make a difference through dance and we aim to forge strong partnerships, increase participation, develop audiences and nurture talent. Citymoves Dance Agency receives strong support from Aberdeen City Council and is a Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisation.

  5. Mackie’s is a pioneering local family business which has diversified into making ice-cream, crisps and most recently chocolate - all under the ‘Mackie’s of Scotland’ brand. Mackie's is a vertically integrated, fourth generation family business who have been farming at Westertown, Aberdeenshire since 1912 and making dairy ice cream in a "sky to scoop design chain" since 1986. Mackie’s are now planning to celebrate the opening of their new chocolate factory at the farm on 7th April. The converted tractor shed is where Mackie’s now make their new range of four flavours of chocolate. Mackie’s recently appointed Chief Chocolate Taster will make their first official appearance to check on new flavour development. See more at www.sweetestjob.couk &

  6. Station House Media Unit (shmu), established as a charity in 2003, is one of the core cultural organisations in Aberdeen, and is at the forefront of Community Media development in Scotland, supporting residents in the seven regeneration areas of the city in the use of a range of media for a variety of purposes.  shmu is actively involved in radio and video production, traditional and on-line publications, music production and digital inclusion programmes. The organisation also supports other disadvantaged communities, both geographic and communities of interest, with an employability and training arm and a programme for offenders, both pre and post-release.

  7. Aberdeen Performing Arts is a charitable trust managing Aberdeen’s His Majesty's Theatre, Music Hall and The Lemon Tree. APA's vision is to reach for the stars in everything we do. Through staging and producing a wide and diverse range of work we aim to touch emotions, lift the spirits and expand the minds of both residents and visitors to the North East of Scotland.

  8. Based at Banchory’s Woodend Barn, Sound organise the annual Sound Festival: Scotland's Festival of New Music, as well as workshops and performances throughout the year. We aim to make new music more accessible through a variety of performances, workshops, talks and other activities, as well as to encourage excellence and experimentation by commissioning and producing new work, and to nurture local and Scottish talent. We do this in partnership with a range of local, national and international arts organisations.

  9. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

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