by Kelly Craig
A Scottish Suffragette Musical is the latest play by Kilmarnock-based production Company, Theatre Alliance. Following the recent success of their dance theatre production, Knockshinnoch, depicting the experience of the 116 miners who were trapped underground in the New Cumnock mining disaster of 1950, Theatre Alliance return to the stage in June to tell the story of Scottish women who sacrificed their lives for equality.
Artistic Director, Marlisa Ross, is passionate about telling stories that are often untold.
“We must recognise the trauma in the fight for equality,” says Marlisa. “We hear a lot about the Suffragette movement south of the border, but the stories of women here in Scotland, their bravery and determination and how they sacrificed their lives for equal rights, must be told.”
Silenced looks at the Suffragette movement post 1911, when women in Scotland took action with the bomb at Kibble Palace in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, the attempt to blow up Burns Cottage and setting fire to the Western Meeting Club Stand at Ayr Racecourse. Marlisa was inspired to celebrate the sacrifices made by the women and depict their reaction to the barbarity of their circumstances.
“Women were desperate. Reason hadn’t worked and the women felt the only voice that they had left was a violent one,” she tells me as she recalls the force-feeding and torture endured by the suffragettes. “We must never lose sight of how bad it was.”
Marlisa Ross and Musical Director, Stuart Bird, joined forces after lockdown to develop Theatre Alliance. Bringing together a wealth of experience in the world of theatre, and with shared views on the artistic direction, their partnership has enjoyed great success since its inception just a few short years ago. Developing drama where dance is a key aspect of the narrative is at the heart of their productions, and sharing stories that evoke an emotional response from the audience drives their success. With a strong ensemble cast, the future for Theatre Alliance will focus on original production delivering stories on stage that will engage and resonate with communities. It’s an exciting time for the company and an exciting time for Theatre in Ayrshire with bold, innovative plays like Silenced taking shape right on our doorstep.
Silenced is on 16th & 17th June at Websters Theatre, Glasgow. For tickets visit www.theatrealliance.co.uk.