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

02/02/16

Tickets are now on sale for an epic theatrical production that marks the finale of Granite, the large-scale arts project launched by Aberdeen City Council and the National Theatre of Scotland 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 graniteaberdeen.com, 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 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).

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam said: "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."

Aberdeen City Council's Deputy Leader, Councillor Marie Boulton, said: "Granite is a fabulous project, which the City Council is funding as part of our continued commitment to supporting the cultural activity and opportunity for everyone living in Aberdeen.

"The City Centre Materplan, sets out a clear vision for the future of the heart of the city, and by working in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland in the delivery of this very special Granite initiative, and the widespread public participation, this is a great example of how this Council is meeting key objectives."

Granite Director Simon Sharkey said:"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."

Derek Henderson, Deloitte's Senior Partner in Aberdeen, said: "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 said:"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."

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 aberdeenperformingarts.com

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