HOPSCOTCH Theatre Company was touring 100 Scottish schools with their 100th production: Colin’s CommonHealth Games.
His other work includes writing for the Scottish Opera as well as acting for companies such as 7:84, The Arches and Tangerine Productions. Ross told us:
“We started off small and have remained small. I suppose you could call us a self-funding social enterprise. We are also a registered charity.”
There are two full time members of staff too; the company manager and the administrator. Their aims are, and always have been, to encourage and nurture an appreciation of Scottish culture and the performing arts from an early age.
From their base in Govan they produce three full scale touring productions in spring, autumn and winter that travel the length and breadth of Scotland. From the Borders to Thurso, you’ll see their bright yellow Hopscotch van on its merry way, reaching more than 30,000 young people per tour.
Manager Susan McGregor said:
“Using our bank of educational consultants, we ensure that all scripts tie in with experiences and outcomes of the curriculum for excellence and contribute to the school curriculum, as well as being a wonderful, all round, fun school experience.”
Susan has also assisted on various other arts projects through the years, including band management and other theatre work but is now in her twentieth year with Hopscotch:
“We are just like one big family. And just like any other family we have had our highs and lows. Recently we have started to send the main songs from the shows to the school before the production. Hearing more 300 children joining in with the actors is a real boost.
As far as lows go, we have had our van targeted by vandals and many breakdowns mainly related to bad weather. We just try to improvise the best we can. Our main priority is delivering fun shows to the children hail, rain, or shine.
There was this one time when a Jack and the Beanstalk production set off for Dumfries without any props. In true Hopscotch fashion, the cast tried their best to improvise. Sadly the shops in Dumfries were all out of golden eggs, a musical harp, and a goose.”
Hopscotch has survived through the popularity of their productions among schools and the enthusiasm of all the actors and others who work with them. Their new production called Colin’s Commonwealth Games centres around Colin, a teenager who leads an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. When told the Commonwealth Games are coming to Scotland, he thinks they are irrelevant to him.
The production teaches pupils about the history of the British Empire and the Commonwealth nations along with Colin, the unhealthy teenager who cares more about computer games than the Commonwealth Games happening right on his doorstep.
Their new show was a smash hit. Ross explained:
“Colin’s CommonHealth Games has proved extremely topical and we were sold out within a couple of weeks.”
This was good news for the small company which has never had core funding and has therefore remained small.
Susan: “Some actors who started off at Hopscotch have gone on to do other things. A few were main characters on River City and one even made it to Hollywood. What I really find touching is the messages we get from students who are now at drama school saying they were first inspired by Hopscotch performances at school.
Each production is very different. We are very much actor led and therefore don’t have much trouble filling our roles.”
For more information on Hopscotch Theatre Company, their drama workshops and prices contact Susan McGregor:
Hopscotch Theatre Company
7 Water Row
Tel / Fax 0141 440 2025
Registered Charity. No. SC 022633