A musical that sounds interesting

17th February 2012 at 00:00
Divided City adaptation unites young Glaswegians. Julia Belgutay reports

A cast of children from Glasgow took to the stage earlier this month for the musical adaptation of Theresa Breslin's novel Divided City.

On the main stage of Citizens Theatre, about 40 young actors, aged 13 and 14 and from schools all over Glasgow, acted out the well-known tale of two boys' friendship transcending their football loyalties and the sectarian divide.

Original songs for the musical were composed by Claire McKenzie, who also incorporated team songs well known to Celtic and Rangers supporters. A band of about 14 pupils and teachers supported the performers on stage. Last May, the musical was shown to audiences for the first time, with tickets selling out immediately. Its second run this month proved no less popular.

Theresa Breslin's award-winning novel is already part of the curriculum in many schools in Glasgow, and the musical added to the learning experience the book provides, said Guy Hollands, one of the directors: "It is very much a different experience, it's not a substitute for reading the book. It is either a great introduction to the book, or a refreshing way to look at it," he said.

There was no risk of the integral message being lost in the stage production, Mr Hollands said. "If anything, that might be even more explicit in the production, because of the visual images."

King's Park Secondary pupil John McGeary, 13, said the production was the best thing in his life: "The message of the play is anti-sectarianism, and not to judge someone by the top they are wearing or the team they support."

Abbie MacNeil, 14, a Glasgow Gaelic School pupil, said: "It gives out a good message, and everyone I have spoken to who has seen it has said it's a brilliant show."

The musical was organised by the Citizens Theatre and Glasgow City Council in cooperation with the Youth Musical Initiative.

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