Dinner, drinks and a trip to the Perth Theatre - sounds like a pretty perfect mid-week night out to me! So last week my mum and I decided to head down to Perth’s very own vibrant Latin American restaurant, Gringo's before catching a performance of Glasgow Girls at Perth Theatre.
It was our first time at Gringos and it didn't disappoint - from the Frida Kahlo murals on the walls, to the cosy-yet-lively vibe of the place - not to mention the moutwatering tapas selection on offer - we both unanimously agreed we'd found a new favourite dinner spot. After indulging in some tapas and wine we headed down to Perth Theatre in the chilly night air.
“We are the Glasgow Girls, we’ll show them how to do it / We’ll show the world how to get up and do it / The Glasgow Girls are one and all / Together we are strong/ Together we are strong!”
So the anthem of the ‘Glasgow Girls’ bursts into life: bold, defiant and
unapologetic. It’s a rallying cry that captures the spirit of what’s to come over
the next two hours, sung with a passion that reignites the story and
continued legacy of the Glasgow Girls for new audiences every night.
Based on the real-life activist group the Glasgow Girls, this performance
follows seven young pupils at Drumchapel High School as they take a stand
against the detention and subsequent imminent deportation of their friend Agnesa, and her family. Their scope widens from Agnesa’s case, to the rights of all children of asylum seekers, as the girls come to realize that there are many “Agnesa’s” across Scotland - and the U.K. - facing the same perilous realities of detention and deportation.
By working with asylum seekers to give a platform to their lived experiences, Glasgow Girls offers a chance for the voices of a group who are so often excluded from conversations about them, to be heard.The real-life Glasgow Girls formed in 2005, and it’s a stark reminder of the
times we live in that their story is ever-more relevant today. While much
coverage is given to the horrific child-detaining practices of the U.S. government – and rightly so – some may be surprised to hear that similar practices go on in Scotland too in our own Dungavel “Immigration Removal” Centre, as is referenced in the play, where 249 migrants and asylum seekers are currently imprisoned.
The questions Glasgow Girls raises in regards to activism and organising, are
still relevant today. How can we maintain hope and resistance amidst these
bleak times, when there seems to be so much overwhelmingly unjust in the
world? Can we really make a difference, or is there any point at all?
The answer it provides is a resounding, absolute, yes. There is a poignant
moment within the play where the Glasgow Girls seem defeated, and
grapple with these very questions. However, they are provided with a
reminder that although there is still a long way to go, they can’t discount the
progress they’ve made toward ending forced deportations and child detention. That all of their actions, large and small have played a part toward the future they want to see.
Glasgow Girls reflects the potential of theatre to both illustrate and make an effective commentary on social issues. This is both in the attention they raise in the wider public, and in
conversations closer to home. A really interesting aspect of the play to me
was, how they show the various ways in which the girl’s activism caused in
some cases, tensions within their own households and how they dealt with
that. It effectively highlighted how the conversations we have with the people
closest to us can at times be the most uncomfortable, but also the most neccessary.
The thing that stands out to me about Glasgow Girls is that it breaks the fourth wall both metaphorically, and at some points for comedic effect quite literally. It reflects the potential of theatre to both illustrate and make an effective commentary on social issues. Throughout the play, Scotland Refugee Council were present to collect donations - just one example amongst many of the power of the arts to help create change in our communities.
By working with people who have sought asylum to give a platform to their lived experiences, Glasgow Girls offers a chance for the voices of a group who are so often excluded from conversations about them, to be heard. A particularly powerful moment is found in the girls delivering a monologue about the tumultous emotions experienced as you're being forced on a flight away from your home. It provides a heartbreaking perspective that is often erased from mainstream discourses.
In telling the story of the Glasgow Girls, an open invitation is extended. If we
too, work to being unafraid to speak out in our day to day lives, and to use
whatever power we may hold - big or small - to make a difference and stand in solidarity with the people around us, then in our own ways, we can be Glasgow Girls too.
Colin review's Pitlochry Festival Theatre's 2019 production of Arthur Miller's allegorical play about the Salem Witch trials.
July 8th Monday 2019
Jim Mackintosh is Perth's premier poet, we take a look at his recent retrospective, Flipstones, in this week's Small City review.
July 2nd Tuesday 2019
Colin headed to Solas Festival at Errol Park at the weekend and enjoyed music from Kobi Onyame, HYYTS, Solareye, Stina Tweeddale and much more.
June 24th Monday 2019