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National Theatre of Scotland flies the flag for human rights

National Theatre of Scotland is set to take part in a nationwide celebration project for human rights.

Choreographer and facilitator Saffy Setohy and dance artist Joanna Young have been creating a new performance celebrating the art of protest with P5 & P6 pupils from St Teresa’s Primary School in North Glasgow. They have been running weekly creative workshops in the school as part of Fly The Flag, a unique annual nationwide celebration of human rights. The workshops will culminate in a special performance for the local community on 17 June at the Cowlairs Labyrinth in North Glasgow.

Since 2020, artists Saffy Setohy and Margaret Kerr have been working with the children and parents of St Teresa’s Primary School to explore their right to “safe clean routes to school” as part of Sharing Cowlairs – a collaborative arts, ecology and community project supported by the Glasgow Life Artist in Residence programme. The school is sited next to a large area of land which has lain derelict for thirty years, and which the children pass through every day. Heavy fly tipping and antisocial activity is present on the land. However, the children and many other local people care about the area, occupying it in diverse ways and wanting to have a say in its future regeneration.

The project included artistic activities that support children’s learning about sustainability, their local environment, and active citizenship. Through collaboration with the wider community and partner organisations, an old brick structure (a piece of Cowlairs’ history as an important railway junction), has been transformed into a labyrinth and garden.

Building on this existing relationship and as a continuation of the artistic process, National Theatre of Scotland’s Fly The Flag performance celebrates this creative work, as well as the children’s right to occupy the land and share it with other living species. The project launches the National Theatre of Scotland’s new Neighbourhood Project, which will creatively focus on building relationships and creating work with communities close to the National Theatre of Scotland’s building, Rockvilla, in North Glasgow.

Saffy Setohy, National Theatre of Scotland Associate Artist, says:

“I am delighted to be working on Fly the Flag this year. The Right to Protest and Assembly feels crucial in times of deep division and inequality. Art is our protest, and I’m excited to amplify the children’s ideas and voices.”