Treading The Borders

…great writing performed by professional actors in interesting venues

Commemorating Flodden

Posted on Aug 13, 2013 in News

Treading The Borders Theatre Company was established in 2011 with various aims and objectives; one of the most significant being to encourage and support writers living in the Scottish Borders and to give them a platform for their work.  It was soon clear that a number of writers were keen to be included in this process and I wanted to give as many as possible the opportunity to have a vehicle for their individual talents. With this in mind I decided to establish a way of working where we would throw ideas into the collective ‘pot’, then discuss, revise, edit and rework to achieve the best possible end product. Choosing a specific topic that would generate a wealth of material was the next issue and, while there are almost endless possibilities, the project TOWARDS FLODDEN started to have a life of its own moving forward with a progression that has, for a variety of reasons, been eminently satisfying.

  • It is topical with a particular relevance to the local area and has generated an interest and enthusiasm from various funding organisations and the general public but it was more than that…
  • It is a vehicle for a number of writers that have been mentored by Treading The Borders – writers, and actors, that are worthy to have a platform for their ideas and talent but it was bigger than that…
  • It is a challenge to organise a number of writers to work collectively to achieve one theatrical voice in a way that is fresh and exciting but it was wider than that…
  • It is a project that looks at history and requires debate and accuracy and ideas but it was deeper than that…
  • It might challenge the view of why we commemorate such events but it is not as simple as that…

On one occasion I went to Flodden field and considered all of the above. It was sunny with clouds scattered across the sky, a father was explaining one of the descriptive panels to his young son and the noise of farm machinery harvesting the field filled the air. I thought about the men that died years ago and the significance of so many places in the world that have a particular relevance simply for what they remind us of… Agincourt, the Somme, Belsen… to name, sadly, but a few. And that is the point… it is not necessarily the bigger picture but how that reminds us of our own humanity… the mistakes we make… how we deal with tribulation and adversity. It is about mortality on a grand scale that touches our souls in an individual way so the essence of all the above is about love, compassion, memory and remembrance… of how to bring a vast concept down to where it is more accessible and relevant to us personally.

That concept has engaged, challenged, impressed and emotionally touched all those involved in the process. The first workshop took place in June 2012 led by experienced writer and director, David Napthine, and from there we have written pieces, taken part in further workshops and held on to the dream that all the time, effort, ideas and process itself would lead to a script worthy of performance. Following discussions with Creative Scotland we were asked to complete the writing and offer a rehearsed reading before submitting a further application for a full touring quality production. As we wished to connect to the commemoration of Flodden more fully it was decided that we should do a number of staged readings throughout the Scottish Borders. If funding allows, for 2014 we anticipate that a full quality production, touring further afield, will have a resonance with a number of other events – the politics of the forthcoming referendum, the commemoration of Bannockburn and World War One. Sadly, the battle for power often leads to tragedy, always has an impact on society, constantly provides a platform for debate and discussion… and will continue to create thematic content for writers in differing genres everywhere.

JANE HOUSTON GREEN
Artistic Director
Treading The Borders Theatre Company

August 2013