In preparation for starting our project Saintees on Stage, I've been thinking a lot about community casts - that is, a group of people who come together to perform a theatre show but they're not professional performers, and it's likely that the majority of them may never have even tried acting or performing before.
Today I'm going to take you back in time to 2012, so I can tell you about one of the best community casts I've seen.
Here We Stay was a production created and performed by refugees, asylum seekers, and other Glasgow residents. The project was created by the Citizens Theatre and Scottish Refugee Council as a curtain raiser for the hit production Glasgow Girls.
Combining music and theatre, it weaved the real-life stories of its cast together to create a beautiful, moving, passionate reflection on seeking asylum, the inhumanity of the UK asylum system, and the battles and joys of forming a new life in an unfamiliar place. I was amazed by the performers. I had never seen a community cast carry a whole show before - and it was a detailed, complex show. Their performances were honest, open-hearted and they masterfully took the audience on a journey. I can remember not wanting to leave the theatre at the end of the show because I knew I'd seen something special and I didn't want to leave it behind.
I heartily recommend watching the short documentary that was created to give a little insight into the making of the show. You can watch it here.