Published: 18/01/2013 10:33 - Updated: 18/01/2013 11:35

Morna's play ready to set sail

Written byby Chris Saunderson

MORAY actress Morna Young’s first foray into writing has taken a major step forward.

Morna (28) has completed her first play, ‘Lost at Sea’, which tells the story of the fishing industry through the eyes of one fictional family.

Fishing is still the most dangerous job in the UK, with 50 times more risk of being killed than any other profession. This is the story of two brothers experiencing the extremes of the industry: while one is lost to the ocean, the other makes his fortune.

Inspired by the loss of Morna’s own father, Donnie, to the ocean, it is a personal tribute to the fishing communities of the North-east of Scotland. Her grandfather, Daniel, was also a fisherman.

She has been awarded development funding from Creative Scotland which will allow her to progress production of the play. Funding has also come from the Arts Council for Moray with support from Moray Council.

A development week will take place at Lossiemouth Town Hall from February 25 to March 1, which will include open rehearsals and a rehearsed reading, open to the public, on Friday, March 1 at 7pm.

Morna is in the process of casting for the play, which will be directed by Muriel Romanes, artistic director of the Stellar Quines Theatre Company in Edinburgh, who has been Morna’s mentor for the project.

With more than 35 years’ experience as an actress and director, Muriel’s acting credits include ‘Take the High Road’ and the iconic film, ‘Gregory’s Girl’. She is a former associate director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.

Glasgow-based Peter Arnott, who has written more than 40 plays, including adaptations of ‘The Silver Darlings’ and ‘Cone Gatherers’ for His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, will serve as dramaturg for the play. He is also mentoring Morna through the Playwright’s Studio of Scotland.

“I am up to my eyes in organisation now, casting actors and sorting logistics, but I think it will be a really exciting week,” said Morna, who hails from Burghead.

She has carried out a series of interviews with people from local fishing communities as part of her research, and although the play is fictional, many of their comments have ended up in the final script.

“The reason I interviewed lots of different people was that I wanted to capture the lives and the stories,” she said.

It will be based in a fictional village in the North of Scotland, and will chart the story from the 1970s to the present day.

“It spans about 40 years of history and will be told through the eyes of one family,” she said.

A joint production between Stellar Quines, Out of the Darkness Theatre Company and Moray Council, it is hoped to take the finished play on tour around Scotland.

“Early in the process, Muriel asked me if I wanted to be in the play, but I decided that I wanted to focus on the writing, so I have taken a step back in that respect.

The actors will be drawn from local talent and the Central Belt, and the development week will give the Moray public, local drama groups and schools the chance to see a play being brought to life in the development process.

There will be open rehearsal slots during the week, in which people can observe the theatrical process. “Because the play has been developed and written in Moray and inspired by the area, I wanted to give an opportunity for people to be involved in the next stage of the process,” said Morna.

Anyone interested in attending open rehearsals should send enquiries to mornayoung@live.com

“A rehearsed reading is basically the first step towards a full production,” said Morna. “It is the first live reading of the play, but will feature some images, music and lighting to give an idea of what a full production could be like.

“Development week is an opportunity for the script to be workshopped with actors and to begin the process of lifting the text from page to stage.”

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