YOUR theatre needs you as Eden Court recruits volunteers for its own contribution to the effort to mark World War I’s centenary year.
The theatre’s own Eden Court Collective, a company of young actors aged 16 to 25, have been working with the Highlander’s Museum at Fort George to unearth local and personal stories from the century of conflict that began with the outbreak of World War I 100 years ago this month.
The results will unveiled in A Century Untold, which will be performed at Fort George on Sunday 28th September.
"We have been working young actors from groups across the Highlands," Kati Kozikowska, the manager of the theatre’s education programme Eden Court CREATIVE, said.
"They have been discovering their own personal history, so it has been really interesting for them. We’ll be doing a site specific performance at Fort George and the atmosphere and the buildings will make it really special."
The free performance is not the only new announcement for Eden Court’s autumn season that looks back to 1914 and its aftermath.
Other World War I themed drama comes from professional companies with Our Friends, The Enemy (Sunday 19th October) looking back at the legendary meeting of Allied and German troops in the Christmas truce of 1914 while The Hallowed Turf (Tueday 7th October) tells the story of Walter Tull, a professional footballer who went on to become the only black combat officer in the British army, serving in the trenches of the Western Front.
The conflict also features in Sunset Song (Monday 27th to Wednesday 29th October), a faithful adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbons’ classic book, voted the most popular Scottish novel of all time, by Sell A Door Theatre company, last seen at Eden Court with adult puppet musical Avenue Q.
1914 also features in the film programme with a special screening recreating a night at the cinema 100 years ago with newsreels, travelogues, adventure films, finishing with a rarely seen Charlie Chaplin comedy (Saturday 13th, Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th September).
The other big theme over the coming weeks is the independence referendum, which is inspiring talk, comedy and drama.
Actor and Yes campaigner David Hayman from television’s Trial and Retribution, stars in one man show The Pitiless Storm (Sunday 7th September) as a Labour activist who is forced to re-evaluate his life and beliefs, while award-winning novelist James Robertson imagines what the Caithness-born writer Neil Gunn might have made of the independence debate that is taking place 41 years after his death (Thursday 11th September).
The independence debate has also inspired the new show from comedian Des McLean, Des McLean’s A to Z of Scotland, although it arrives in Inverness long after the independence vote on Friday 14th November.
Also providing laughs this autumn will be return visits by Danny Bhoy (Wednesday 17th September), Ross Noble (Thursday 25th September), Jo Caulfield (Sunday 28th September) and Daniel Sloss (Friday 21st November), the young Scottish comedian who seems to be on the verge of conquering America, or at least US television.
Visually impaired Scottish stand-up Jamie MacDonald has his own headline show on Saturday 13th September, the day before one of the biggest names in British comedy, Monty Python’s Michael Palin, comes to talk about his life and career.
However, there will be changes to how Inverness audiences see the potential comedy stars of the future with the regular Gilded Balloon Comedy Circuit moving from the OneTouch Theatre to the more intimate MacLean Room in the Bishop’s Palace to create an environment closer to a comedy club than a theatre show (Saturday 4th October and Saturday 1st November).
"All the great comedians started their career on the comedy circuit so we are taking it back to its roots," Eden Court programmer Roz Bell explained.
"There will be a bar and it will be up close and intimate, so there will be no escape. It might be a bit hit or miss, but it will be a great chance to see some of those new comedians."
Dance highlights announced this week include a triple bill from former Matthew Bourne protégé David Hughes featuring one piece created for Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and another from Kylie Minogue’s choreographer (Tuesday 11th November), the return of Peter Darrell’s version of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker after a 15 year absence and performed by Scottish Ballet (Wednesday 21st to Saturday 24th January) and a second chance to see sell out success Dance Derby, recreating the gruelling dance marathons of Depression-era America (Thursday 30th October).
Scottish Ballet will also be back this autumn with The Crucible With Ten Poems (Tuesday 30th September and 1st October), inspired by Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible and the poems of Dylan Thomas.
Family shows include spoof detective tale The Falcon’s Malteser, created by Alex Rider and Foyle’s War author Anthony Horowitz (Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th November) while slightly older theatre goers are the target for Tragic (Wednesday 12th November), Iain Heggie’s tongue-in-cheek take on Hamlet.
Aladdin is this year’s Eden Court panto (Tuesday 2nd December to Sunday4th January), but there are panto alternatives for all ages with the interactive and energetic Little Elves Christmas Party (Sunday 30th November) for the very young, One Night in Santa’s Workshop for the under-fives (Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th December) and for grown-up’s the black comedy of Sweeney Todd’s Cut-Throat Christmas where mincemeat is not the only ingredient of Mrs Lovett’s pies (Monday 8th to Wednesday 10th December). All three shows are produced in house by Eden Court CREATIVE.
Musical highlights include 10cc (Sunday 5th October), song interpreter Camille O’Sullivan (Fridayu 31st October), Joan Armatrading (Sunday 19th October), Carrbridge singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni headlining in the main Empire Theatre (Sunday 26th October) and tribute shows to Guns N’ Roses (Sunday 12th October), Michael Jackson (Monday 20th to Saturday 25th October), Johnny Cash (Wednesday 10th September), Patsy Cline (Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th November) and Abba (Saturday 1st November).
If this season’s new shows have whetted the appetite for regular visits to Eden Court, then there is exciting news for next year — one lucky theatre goer will win tickets to every show in 2015.
Anyone making a £5 donation to the theatre will be entered into the draw for Eden Court’s Big Ticket, with up to two tickets for every show, potentially worth £25,000 to the winner, Eden Court chief executive Colin Marr calculates.
"There are 250 shows a years and 750 cinema screenings, so you can go twice a day if you want to," Marr said.
"You can enter as many times as you like before Christmas for every £5 donation you make."
The new Eden Court theatre guide will be available soon from the theatre and other locations throughout the Highlands.