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Eye On Health Services In Caithness

13 October 04           7:84Theatre
Private Agenda Hitting Health & Education Issues With The Words Of People Involved
7:84 Theatre Company's play Private Agenda acted out the words of real people working or campaigning in the public services.   The view from the public as portrayed in the play was that Public Finance Initiatives and Public Private Partnerships was a whole series of failures providing poorer services whilst at the same time delivering big profits for the companies involved.  From the Bank of America owning 90% of the shares in the Sky Bridge to the poor services and costs at the Royal infirmary Edinburgh moved from a central handy location in Edinburgh to the outer limits of the city awkward to get to and poorly set up inside with for example orthopaedics department at the farthest end of the hospital from where public transport arrives ensuring anyone with a walking problem has the farthest to walk.  Unhappy staff from nurses. and porters to teachers in new schools that lacked the facilities of the older schools - for example no common rooms for fifth and sixth year - no lockers requiring the carrying round of books and belongings by pupils.  the hospital campaigns were well to the fore with North Action Group members and young mothers words ringing out about the potential downgrading of the maternity unit at Caithness General.  Those one hundred miles to Inverness echoed in other areas asking that ministers take trips in the back of ambulances to experience every pothole in the transfer from Perth to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.  The sense of frustration in areas where winning a campaign meant having to do it all over again a couple of years later as Health Boards seemingly relentlessly return to try again where they failed to get their own way previously.  All this and more made humerous by the absurdity of the the health board statements and company bulletins interspersed amongst the public's own views.
Following the play there was "Public Space" a chance for the audience to ask questions and debate any issues.  the cast kicked of with short quote from one of the many people in the play and Bill Fernie set out where he thought north Action Group was in the campaign including the refusal of the health board to extend the consultation period describing some of what had happened.

19 August 04
Mortgaged up to the eyeballs?   "Private Agenda"  A New Play By 7:84 Theatre
North Action Group's Message To Have National Coverage In Theatres All Over Scotland
North Action Group Hails 7:84 Theatre Group's Latest Production - "When they start writing plays about you the message is getting through."  

Lorenzo Mele's directorial debut for 7:84 Theatre Company puts Scotland's public services under the spotlight.  Highlighted in the play covering issues surrounding current changes in health services will be the growing campaign to save Caithness Maternity services.  North Action Group is delighted to have been able to supply input to this new play which will feature the grassroots campaign.  North Action Group will supply material to be handed out to audiences all over Scotland about the Caithness maternity issue.  The play which tackles several controversial topics is likely to raise the public profile to the top of the politicians agenda.  This well known prestigious theatre group is well known for tackling issues important to people and their communities

What is it really like working in Scotland's public services today? Will the much heralded Private Finance Initiatives sweeping across Scotland save the day or sink the nation into debt?

Who better to answer these questions than those at the heart of the matter?

The campaigners and teachers, pupils, midwives, doctors, porters, nurses, technicians, accountants and senior managers toiling in our public services have created Private Agenda.  Based entirely on true stories gathered during interviews in 2004, 7:84 Theatre Company's Artistic Director, Lorenzo Mele, has travelled across Scotland to go beyond the jargon and discovers that the truth really is stranger than fiction.

This is a surreal and maddening journey that starts with a trip over the Bridge to Skye, uncovers corporate cuts in Caithness, finds fighting in Fort William and pillaging in Perth's Royal Infirmary. Private Agenda goes behind the scenes at the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and examines the blueprints of the new schools popping up on every corner, in every town.

"They had the opportunity to create something state of the art and what we got was state of the B & Q."

Directed by Lorenzo Mele and featuring Tom Freeman (Romeo and Juliet), Anita Vettesse (Educating Rita), Laura Smales (The Chrysalids) and Keith Macpherson (The Trial - how new labour purged George Galloway), Private Agenda is the voice of our public services, a voice that has gone unheard. Until now.

After every performance of Private Agenda, 7:84 will create Public Space. This will be an opportunity for audiences to air their views face to face with an invited panel including MSPs, local councillors and campaigners.

Tour Dates and Venues are attached.

For further information, photographs and to schedule interviews with the company, Lorenzo Mele and the cast please contact Marianne Maxwell, 7:84's

Marketing Manager on 0141 334 6686 (office)  0776 650 2423 (mobile)  marianne@784theatre.com

Tour Schedule
Paisley Arts Centre Thursday 2nd September (PREVIEW)
Paisley Arts Centre Friday 3rd September (OPENING NIGHT)
Paisley Arts Centre Saturday 4th September
Ryan Centre Stranraer Tue 7th Sep
Palace Theatre Kilmarnock Wed 8th Sep
Carnegie Hall Dunfermline Thurs 9th Sep
Brunton Theatre Musselburgh Fri 10th - Sat 11th Sep
Gordons School Huntly Tue 14th Sep
Lossiemouth High School Lossiemouth Wed 15th Sep
Deeside Theatre Aboyne Thurs 16th Sep
The Lemon Tree Aberdeen Fri 17th Sep
Dalrymple Arts Centre Fraserburgh Sat 18th Sep
The Arches Glasgow Tue 21st - Sat 25th Sep
Cumbernauld Theatre Cumbernauld Wed 29th Sep
Theatre Royal Dumfries Sat 2nd Oct
Perth Theatre Perth Tue 5th - Thurs 7th Oct
Aros Portree, Skye Sat 9th Oct
Mill Theatre Thurso Tue 12th Oct
Nevis Centre Fort William Wed 13th Oct
Ballachuilish Village Hall Ballachuilish Fri 15th Oct
Corran Halls Oban Sat 16th Oct
Traverse Theatre Edinburgh Tue 19th - Sat 23rd Oct