Two timely artistic projects by Hannah Lavery online and on stage in Edinburgh

Two urgent digital artworks to be presented at Festivals in Edinburgh in August from award-winning poet, playwright, performer and director Hannah Lavery.

Two timely artistic projects by Hannah Lavery online and on stage in Edinburgh

Article Source: National Theatre of Scotland
First Published: 26 July 2021 13:09
Updated: 26 July 2021 13:11

Lament for Sheku Bayoh a co-production with Edinburgh International Festival and the Lyceum Theatre, to be performed live on stage, and accompanied by free digital version for one week (25 to 31 August) and soon to be launched education resource and access to the digital version for schools.

Thirteen Fragments – a short digital artwork and co-production with Royal Society Edinburgh to be presented alongside a panel discussion in response to the RSE commission addressing how Scotland can emerge from the
pandemic.

National Theatre of Scotland’s Associate Artist, Hannah Lavery, brings two urgent and compelling pieces of work to live and online audiences in August 2021. Thirteen Fragments and Lament for Sheku Bayoh are both timely, contemporary responses to recent events: the experience of women in Covid and the death of a black man in police custody in Scotland.

World premiere digital artwork Thirteen Fragments, created in partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, features spoken word and movement and explores female resilience during the pandemic. Thirteen Fragments is presented online as part of the RSE’s summer events programme, Curious from 9- 27 August.

Acclaimed production Lament for Sheku Bayoh is a powerful and artistic response to the tragic death of Sheku Bayoh. It is presented live on stage at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh during the Edinburgh International Festival from 25 - 28 August and online from 25 – 31 August as part of Edinburgh International Festival At Home in partnership with abrdn.

Hannah Lavery is an acclaimed spoken word artist and playwright. Most recently she created Disco with Mum for National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival series. Her acclaimed autobiographical solo show, The Drift, about identity, belonging and grief produced by the National Theatre of Scotland toured Scotland in 2019 and was featured as part of Ghost Light, for the Edinburgh International Festivals’ My Light Shines On programme in 2020.

National Theatre of Scotland and The Royal Society of Edinburgh present
Thirteen Fragments


Writer, performer and director Hannah Lavery, Composer and musician Beldina Odenyo/Heir of the Cursed, Choreographer and performer Natali McCleary, Filmmaker Beth Chalmers

Commissioned by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) as part of its Post Covid-19
Futures Commission 

A short digital artwork featuring spoken word and movement exploring female
resilience in Scotland, will premiere online on 9 August during the RSE’s summer
events programme, Curious, which runs during August 2021.

Thirteen Fragments is a co-production between National Theatre of Scotland and the RSE; a new short digital artwork featuring spoken word and movement, created by award-winning writer and performer Hannah Lavery collaborating with musician Beldina Odenyo, choreographer Natali McCleary and filmmaker Beth Chalmers. The project has been commissioned as part of the RSE Post Covid-19 Futures Commission.

Thirteen Fragments is an artistic response to the RSE’s Covid Commission which
addresses how Scotland can emerge from the Covid pandemic as a more equitable
society and is rooted in lead artist Hannah Lavery’s experience of the last year as a woman of colour. RSE Fellows have informed research on the piece including Talat Yaqoob (consultant and researcher on women’s equality and race equality) and Zinnie Harris (playwright, screenwriter and director).

Thirteen Fragments is a spoken word dance piece where bursts of poetry sit within an original soundscape alongside shards of song and of movement. The coming together of Beldina Odenyo’s music, Natali McCleary’s movement and Hannah’s words sees the poetry take shape and given physical life, reflecting individual responses of the artists. Intimately filmed by Beth Chalmers, the piece explores the meaning of female resilience in Scotland today and aspirations for the future. Thirteen Fragments of anger, of love, of death, of exhaustion and of hope.

An accompanying digital panel discussion event involves Hannah Lavery in conversation with Talat Yaqoob and Zinnie Harris, Their discussion, which takes the film as starting point, focuses on some of the themes that the work highlights including the impact of Covid on women and wider society and the role that art and creativity play in the pandemic.

Hannah Lavery says: "Inspired by the work of the RSE fellows, I wanted to make a film that would speak to the experience of women and especially women of colour, using poetry, dance, music and film. I have been so lucky to have been joined by a dream team of women collaborating with dance, music, and film to create a provocation and also a meditation on the time we are living through and what that means for us all as we look toward the future."

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, CEO of the Royal Society of Edinburgh said: “Creativity sparks debate and dialogue which is why this collaboration between the RSE and the National Theatre of Scotland is so important. This piece explores the impact of Covid on women and questions whether it has changed attitudes and mindsets. It represents a valuable contribution to the work of the RSE’s Post Covid Futures Commission connecting with key themes including resilience and inclusivity and we are very much looking forward to
premiering it in August as part of our summer events programme, Curious”.


Thirteen Fragments premieres online as part of the RSE’s summer events programme,
Curious on 9 August 2021 at 7.30pm with an accompanying panel discussion. The event is free and ticketed.

Booking links for premiere
RSE Eventbrite and National Theatre of Scotland
.
Following the premiere, Thirteen Fragments and the digital discussion will be available to view on the RSE’s Curious and National Theatre of Scotland’s websites.


Lament for Sheku Bayoh

Written and directed by Hannah Lavery

Designer Kirsty Currie, Composer Beldina Odenyo, Lighting Designer Emma Jones, Movement Director Natali McCleary, Video Designer Ellie Thompson

Cast: Saskia Ashdown, Patricia Panther, and Courtney Stoddart

At the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Festival with performances from 25 – 28 August 2021 and online from 25 to 31 August.

Opening Performance 25 August 2021

A young black man lost his life. Six years ago. In police custody. In Scotland.
Soon after 7am, on a Sunday morning - May 3rd, 2015, Sheku Bayoh, a 31 year-old gas engineer, husband and father of two died in police custody on the streets of his hometown, Kirkcaldy in Fife.

Lament for Sheku Bayoh is an artistic response to this tragedy, an expression of grief for the loss of the human behind the headlines and a non-apologetic reflection on identity and racism in Scotland today.

Written and directed by acclaimed spoken word artist and theatre-maker Hannah Lavery, Lament for Sheku Bayoh was originally commissioned and presented as a rehearsed reading by the Lyceum Theatre, supported by the Edinburgh International Festival as part of the 2019 International Festival’s You Are Here strand. In November 2020 Lament for Sheku Bayoh was performed live on the Lyceum stage and streamed to paying audiences at home.

Now being performed on the Lyceum Theatre’s stage for a live audience as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, Lament for Sheku Bayoh urgently questions, is Scotland really a safe place?

The digital stream of the production as filmed on the Lyceum’s stage in 2020 is available to watch online for free from 25 – 31 August as part of Edinburgh International Festival at Home in partnership with abrdn. See eif.co.uk/at-home for information.

After Sheku Bayoh lost his life in 2015, his family launched a campaign seeking justice and answers about the manner of his death. In 2019 it was announced that a judge-led inquiry into the case would be held, with a view to establishing the circumstances behind the case. In 2020 it was announced that the remit for the inquiry would include examining whether Mr Bayoh's "actual or perceived race" had played any part in his death. The Sheku Bayoh Inquiry, chaired by Lord Bracadale, continues to this day with “focus and determination.”

A resource pack, which will launch the National Theatre of Scotland’s new education portal will be made available to schools throughout Scotland from 25 August. Working closely with writer Hannah Lavery, cast members and other industry professionals, the three co-producers have curated a range of audio, visual and written articles which will support teachers in facilitating positive, constructive conversations around the themes of the play exploring the wider social, historical and political aspects of Scottish identity and enriching the pupil experience of the production.

The resources have been developed with input from poet and facilitator Clementine E Burnley and includes tools from organisations such as Training for Change and The Anti-Racist educators.

Writer & Director Hannah Lavery said:
"I hope that Lament for Sheku Bayoh will be the beginning of a journey for audiences; that it will leave them with questions that they want answered and that it will give them an energy to pursue a better Scotland. And for some of us it will be an opportunity to be seen and heard and to have an experience and a knowledge of this country shared.

I think it's important for us to be able to talk about Scotland in an honest way, and to not turn our head away from the things that might feel uncomfortable or challenge the idea we have of ourselves. It's important for us all to see Sheku Bayou as a human being- hugely loved, full of promise and with dreams for his future- and to take a moment to really mourn his loss."


Dates: Wed 25 to Sat 28 August, 7.30pm and Thurs 26 & Sat 28 August, 2.30pm
Tickets: £22 (concessions available)

Online Booking: eif.co.uk
Access: BSL Interpretation by Jacqui Beckford on Wed 25 Aug, 7:30pm.
Audio Description and Captioning on Sat 28 Aug, 2:30pm.





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