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Wheatley boost for East End drama group which gives people a voice

Wheatley Homes Glasgow has given Nae Drama funding to help the group to continue rehearsing and to cover staff costs.

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Wheatley Homes Glasgow is helping a community drama group to give people a voice.

Nae Drama, based in Calton, writes and performs their own material, tackling issues, such as poverty and health, which affect people in their communities. They’ve written two hard-hitting plays – ‘UC – It’s Easier’ about Universal Credit, and ‘Check Them Out’ about cancer screening – and performed them at venues in Glasgow, Blantyre and Stirling.

Scotland’s largest social landlord – part of Wheatley Group – has now stepped in with some lifeline funding to help them to continue rehearsing and to cover staff costs.

Nae Drama, which is open to all, was set up by Wheatley Homes Glasgow tenant Margaret Anne Gachagan, from Cranhill, and other volunteers in 2017.

Members learn how to write a script, direct and act through workshops with professionals, and use their writing and performances to help give people a voice.

The group is currently looking for community venues to stage their shows.

Margaret Anne, director and community co-ordinator with Nae Drama, said: “We want to give the community a voice on issues which affect them.

“Drama is accessible and a good way of getting information across. We’re grateful to Wheatley for the funding.

“‘UC – It’s Easier’ was one of our first plays and came from the anger people on benefits feel about how they’re treated. We wanted to channel that.

“When we perform, we ask the audience to think about what they’re feeling, and we’ll often discuss issues with them. It’s very participatory, very interactive, letting people in the audience express emotions.

“The group is a great way of building people’s confidence and helping them be more assertive. We tell people they’re not alone.”

Writer and performer Caroline McLean, a Wheatley Homes Glasgow tenant from Blackhill, got involved in Nae Drama in early 2020.

She said: “There’s no feeling like performing on stage in front of other people.

“It’s really helped my confidence. I wrote a piece called 'The Rag and Bone Man', and it was performed over Zoom last year by three professional actors.

“I was elated. I could hardly believe it, to see professionals performing the first, and only, thing I’ve written. The feedback has been fantastic.”

Jehan Weerasinghe, Managing Director of Wheatley Homes Glasgow, said: “Nae Drama gives a voice to communities hit by Universal Credit. All the actors, writers and directors have been touched by welfare reform in some way. 

“It was inspiring to see local people’s take on policies that disadvantage the most vulnerable in our communities. We are happy to help.”

Nae Drama rehearses every Wednesday at Calton Heritage Centre. The group is always looking for community venues to perform in. To get involved, or if you can help, email naedrama19@gmail.com

 

 

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