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Theatre in a fish tank

SHETLAND Youth Theatre is to undertake its most ambitious challenge so far when 30 young actors perform a work by a leading Scottish playwright in a huge outdoor fish tank.

The youth theatre group has performed in many unusual locations over the years, including a motor garage and the ruins of a castle, but this month’s show at the former shore station at Lerwick’s Ness of Sound is their most adventurous yet.

More Light is by Bryony Lavery, whose highly acclaimed boxing play Beautiful Burnout is enjoying a successful run at Edinburgh’s National Theatre of Scotland. It is set in the tomb of China’s first emperor and focuses on the concubines who were buried alive alongside him.

It is the companion piece to Lavery’s Red Sky, which the theatre group took to the National Theatre in London after performances in Scalloway and Edinburgh.

Director John Haswell described it as “a beautiful play that examines how a group of young women discover a sense of liberation and empowerment in the most appalling of circumstances”.

Explaining the choice of venue, he said: “The play is both epic and intimate. As it is set in a tomb, the company wanted to perform in a venue that embraced the audience in the alien surroundings.

“The old fish tank at the former shore station is hugely exciting. It is a massive space with a fascinating acoustic. The cast will be in the tank for the whole length of the production with the audience on the outside looking in.

“There is a sense of the audience being voyeurs as they witness the women’s situation, and also of being archaeologists looking into the past.”

The cast of 30 young actors have been working intensively for several weeks on the production, while stage designers have been hard at it to ensure that the shore station is ready for the event.

More Light will be performed on four nights between Thursday 26 August and Sunday 29 August. It lasts 90 minutes and the able-bodied members of the audience will be standing outdoors throughout so are asked to wear suitable clothing.

Tickets are priced £8 (£6 concessions) and are available from Shetland Box Office on 01595 745555.

“All we need now is some good weather” said a member of the company