You Tell Us What Was We Tell You What Is
Pilmuir Works, Dunfermline
National Theatre of Scotland Learn
Co-directed by Ben Harrison and Jemima Levick
"I wouldnít say never work in a factory because factories are a job. Just get intae yer heid that youíre in there tae work, youíre not in there tae make friends.You are in there to actually work, and as long as you can work, you will do okay. You go in there, and youíre not willing to work, whatís the point in being there? Itís a job, Iím willing to do it, go in, do the job, and youíll always find if youíre a hard worker, no matter what happens, you will get the recognition at the end, you will get the recognition that youíre due. Just because you worked. If youíre a worker, you will go places."Irene You Tell Us What Was We Tell You What Is
Created with 40 students from Woodmill High School in Dunfermline, with 25 in the performance company and 15 in the design and technical teams, this was a very ambitious meditation on the credit crunch and what it means to be 14 in Dunfermline today. Scripted from material from the students own lives, their musical tastes, their political and social opinions, this NTS Learn production took over the vast abandoned spaces of the Pilmuir Works, the site of the former and much-missed Dunlops Factory which closed in 2005. Reminiscences from former factory workers created a thread that connected the teenage material back to the site.
"Kyle: I only realized there was a credit crunch when Woolworths closed. Damn, that was a good shop.
Aimee: To start with I thought the credit crunch was like folks munching their credit cards..."
The production animated the vast ground level of the warehouse, some 500 square metres of space, various storage areas and the ballroom on the first floor, former place of workers' parties, a breath of relaxation and life in the midst of the tyranny of factory labour.
"Our work is quite heavy and dirty you see'The Dunlop's Song'
We donít get much money
Between you and me
But if you buy British
As much as you can
We wonít need those rubbishy
Tyres from Japan
Tooraloo, Tooralee, itís
Dunlops for ever and good quality"
The project was Ben's first working with teenagers since the 2002 Almeida Theatre production Caledonian Road. Co-directed with Jemima Levick, with a score by Philip Pinsky, dynamic choreography from Fleur Darkin and stunning installation design by Becky Minto, the piece was a true celebration of the much-misunderstood contemporary teenage voice. The piece opened up a space for imagining a future far from the industrial origins of the town's workforce but considered the idea of the work ethic in our globalised contemporary situation.