Awfy Huge Fantastic Variety!

Ten years ago, the Festival Theatre began an initiative to celebrate  the artistic abilities of the pupils at Pilrig Special School. Since then, the project has spiralled into an amazing, creative endeavour, with stunning input from no fewer than 12  state-funded special schools in Edinburgh.

It would be impossible to single out any of the groups for special praise but as many as possible deserve a mention. Braidburn School’s The Finatics, with imaginative vocals supplied by Richard E Grant, and Kaimes School’s ‘Peggy the Pirate’ with its amazing costumes. There was the singing from Kayleigh McKenzie of Prospect Bank School, (working with Andy Gray), and the dancing from St Crispin’s School – filmed expertly by Graham Kitchener.

Redhall School, produced by Cat Sheridan, gave us ‘Joey the Shy Monkey’, and then Woodlands School took the baton with State_Us_Quo, a musical quartet of Ryan Brown (lead guitar), Mike Eusepi (drums), Scott Herbert (piano) and Robert Bruce (bass guitar).. Leo from the Harmeny School sang his heart out with Hello (original track by Adele) as part of’ The Confused Clown’s Party Invitation, working with Melanie Jordan.

Panmure School produced Walk Like A Man, produced by Cat Sheridan and Jane Mcinally. Back to where it all began, working with Dance Base and Dawn Taylor, Pilrig Park School’s contribution  had the audience enthralled.

Brilliantly presented and directed by comedian/actor/panto legend and River City Star, Andy Gray ,with, on the night, Grant Stott whose experience ranges from Radio Forth to Scotsport on STV. The evening performance on 22 June in the Festival Theatre produced that most rare of Edinburgh Audience reaction – we stood up at the end, cheered and some of us yelled ‘Bravo’.

The Dream Team who put this together were the Andy/Grant comperes, producer, Cat Sheridan, lighting design, Sulie Wood, sound design, Ruari Dunn and stage management, Izabell Martine. The philosophy of child-led creativity really worked and each group was supported by a Festival Theatre Engagement Artist. The photographic images were done by Greg Macvean.

Awfey3The hours of work and dedication to produce this show are almost beyond imagination, although imagination was of the highest level. I know the Theatre wants to thank all the staff and support staff at all the schools and groups with which they have worked for their help. Richard E. Grant for his ‘fabulous vocals and a huge thank you to the Cordis Charitable Trust for their contribution towards the show.

Performed at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh.


About Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.
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