Preview: STAG’s New Talent Nights 2019

Credit: STAG

Max Kelly
Deputy Culture Editor – Travel

A sneak peak at one NTN show prior to the extravaganza!

New Talent Nights (NTN) is Student Theatre at Glasgow’s first show of the year, made especially for new students. “It’s a fun, fast-paced, friendly production for everyone to get involved in.”

For the New Talent Nights – a theme/show is picked and over the course of three nights – new directors put their own spin on a classic. This year the production that is being reinterpreted is Peter Pan. 

This year’s shows are on from the 13 – 15 October starting at 8pm at the Queen Margaret Union. It’s a great way to get over the early week blues and enjoy some exciting and playful theatre.

The Glasgow Guardian has spoken to some of the directors behind the three shows; Ellen Wilson & Lewis McDermott; and Tigerlilly Bloggs & Jessica Miller:

GG: First off, could you tell us a little bit about your adaptation of Peter Pan? 
EW: “Our adaptation takes place 16 years after the events of the original story took place. Wendy, John, Michael and the Lost Lads have all grown up back in London and are leading boring normal lives when one day, they receive a mysterious invite to a wedding… the wedding of Peter Pan! They all travel back to Neverland one more time for an epic stag and hen do before the big day! But trouble is lurking around the corner, waiting to ruin the wedding… 

LM: Think Peter Pan but 18+… LOST LADS OI OI!!!

JM: Our adaptation of Peter Pan is set at a festival called Nevaland. Pan, Wendy, and her siblings go to the festival as “one last hurrah” before Wendy and Pan part ways for uni or in Pan’s case – anything but uni. The story follows them as they encounter many strange characters such as Tink, an old friend of Pan’s, and her friends; Hook, Tinks ex and general dodgy guy who thinks he’s a “big man”, and his gang; The Lostboyz- Pan’s favourite band headlining at the festival, and many more! 

GG: Have you been involved in any other directing roles or is this your first time? 
EW: “This is my second time directing a show – my first time directing was with a play I wrote for STAG Nights Shadows last year called “Jeanie fae the Neeps”. Both have been very different experiences but they’ve both been really fun as well! NTN has been particularly fun because I’ve met so many new and talented people through it and I can’t wait to see what they go on to do next with STAG.”

LM: “This is my first time directing but certainly not my last! I took up the opportunity on a whim and because I knew I was going to be working with Ellen I thought it would be a great introduction to writing and directing – which it definitely was! Now, because of how much fun I’ve been having with directing NTN, I have two more plays in the works for STAG’s next festival (STAG Nights), and maybe some stuff lined up for semester two…”

JM: This is my first role in directing but I am loving the experience and challenges that come along with it! 

GG: How exciting has it been directing/co-directing your own version of this story?
EW: It’s been a really interesting process adapting the original story into our own version because I’m so used to starting a story from scratch whereas all the foundations were also created here – we just had to build on it! We’ve enjoyed looking at each character and how they have been portrayed in previous adaptations and seeing what we can use again for our story or what we can change or update for a modern audience. We’ve also got the cast involved with helping to decide how each character and plotline should be portrayed which couldn’t be done if we weren’t basing our work off an original.

LM: Ellen and I were at a bit of a crossroads. We had so many ideas that we knew could be funny to watch and great fun to write that we didn’t know what to do! But having chosen “stag night/hen do” as our theme has allowed us to recreate the characters in a new, fun, and (hopefully) entertaining way! It’s been a blast!!

JM: It has been hugely exciting co-directing this play. It has been such a collaborative experience as we really wanted the cast to make their characters their own and enjoy the experience as much as possible because that’s what NTN and STAG is all about! It’s amazing to see your work come to life and I’ve loved getting to know my lovely cast along the way!

GG: How did you get involved in STAG? What advice would you give to people who are trying to get into student theatre?
EW: I first got involved in STAG through my own NTN two years ago. It was a brilliant experience because I was instantly thrown into a fun project with loads of new friends doing something I absolutely love. I’d advise that anyone wanting to try student theatre at Glasgow University should absolutely give NTN a go!

LM: My first experience with STAG was actually last year’s NTN – where I played Glinda the Good Witch of the North (of Glasgow). Since then I’ve become addicted to theatre – whether it be acting, directing, or participating in the audience!! I would definitely suggest to all newcomers to try our for NTN next year – or, if you can’t wait that long, come audition for STAG Nights in the coming months!! We’re happy to have you in our community so please come and join!

JM: I joined STAG last year in my second year through NTN! I had so much fun during it and made so many great friends that I’m still so close with now! I would say to anyone wanting to get involved to definitely join STAG – U of G has some amazing performance societies so there’s a great variety of societies if they want to try anything from musical theatre to stand up!

GG: Finally, what‘s your favourite adaptation of J.M Barrie’s original work?
EW: The Disney film obviously!

LM: HOOK starring Robin Williams is a classic!!

JM: While I love the live action film I just love the songs too much so I’d have to say my favourite adaptation would be the Disney one! 

Throughout the three nights you can expect a fresh and entertaining interpretation of J.M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan. You’ll see a whole host of new faces and rising stars of student theatre – don’t miss out on this magical experience that these talented new casts have put so much effort into!


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