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 Living Memories

 

 

Reminiscence has always been at the heart of Citadel Arts Group’s work. 

 

Many of the plays we’ve produced have been inspired by Living Memories.  Recently we have contributed to and devised our own projects in which we enabled older people to share their stories. Knowing these memories are valued, recorded, transcribed and  preserved in the form of a booklet or a dramatic script enormously enhances the confidence of frail elderly people, some in the early stages of dementia, and gives them great pleasure.

 

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PROJECT UPDATE

 
WOMEN AT WORK  
WOMEN AT WORK, Citadel's latest living memory project was held in Jameson Place Shelter Housing, a Port of Leith Housing Association (POLHA) centre where we have lots of old friends. It was our 4th and largest POLHA project and focused on the fascinating and varied work memories of 11 women from Leith. This was a joint project with Edinburgh Art Festival and inspired by the Dazzle ship moored in Leith docks. Many of the Dazzle designs, painted onto our ships in WWI to confuse the enemy, were produced by women, and Ciara Phillips' original commissioned design for the Leith ship is called 'Every Woman'. A lovely book of the work memories was launched on 11 Jan in Jameson Place with pupils from the nearby Gaelic School presenting the women with portraits and illustrations of their stories.  
 

WW1 Dazzle Ships

In September, 2016, a trial reading of a new project, researched and written by Alan Mountford, based on the World War 1 dazzle ships, took place.  The reading was in Leith's Thomas Morton Hall with Trinity P4 pupils and tenants from the Port of Leith Housing Association Sheltered Housing.

They all enjoyed a draft of an early scene, random arts giving will support the project to develop a play about the WW1 Dazzle ships for Leith Festival 2017 and we are seeking further funding. This is a joint project with Edinburgh Art Festival.

 

 
   

 

 

EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL

 

On 29th February 2016 we launched 'Everyone has a Story to Tell', a book of powerful and moving memories from Rowan Alba in Leith, The tenants are all older men with a history of homelessness and alcohol dependency. Their stories were some of the most candid and disturbing that we have encountered, The project was supported by Age Scotland.

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A SONG and a LAUGH

A Song and a Laugh' : 24th Sept 2015 Citadel launched another book of living memories from the Seagrove Centre for dementia sufferers. A class from St Ninian's Primary came along to help us celebrate the occasion with their drawings and drama inspired by the older people's stories.

 

DANCING DAYS

 

October 2014 saw the launch of 'Dancing Days', a book of living memories of 7 tenants from Hermitage Court in Leith. This gave us a hat trick of projects from Port of Leith Housing Association Sheltered Housing complexes, the other being Jameson Place and St Nicholas Court. Thanks to our funders Tesco Community Fund who supported the work at Hermitage Court

 

 

 

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Age Scotland Member Group of the Year - Citadel Arts Group

 

On 1st October 2013, Citadel Arts Group received the Age Scotland Member Group of the Year Award at a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament.  Left to right: Laure Paterson, playright; Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief Executive; Liz Hare, Artistic Director; Cecilia Rose, playright; Alan Mountford, playright.and David Urqhart,

The Age Scotland Member Group of the Year Award is sponsored by David Urqhart Travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Never Forget the Stories!

 Dec 2013, saw the launch of our longest living memory book of reminiscences collected in the Kirkgate Community Centre, Leith.  The group members, from a wide range of ages from 60s to 90s, shared memories of their lives in Leith and far beyond. Their stories inspired Laure Paterson to begin a new play project, ‘Leith at War’, in which the older people will be our script consultants and helpers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HMS Cossack returns to Leith 17 February 1940 after rescuing the        

British prisoners held in Graf Spree's supply ship Altmark                          

 

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The Robertson Trust is funding more living memory work with older people with dementia in Midlothian. A joint project with Volunteer Midlothian - Community Links Dementia Project is taking place in Dalkeith's Welfare Hall. On 12th March, the group were treated to  the premiere of Cecilia Rose's 'A Night at the Pictures' with Mark Kydd, Rob Flett and Laverne Edmonds as the formidable Mrs Brodie who insists on singing when the projector breaks down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cecilia Rose and Brenda Marr have been working with a group, who meet at Westfield Park Day Centre, Midlothian, under the auspices of Alzheimer's Scotland. Memories were collected into a book as usual, but the launch play was given a performed reading by the old people themselves.

 

In September they enjoyed seeing actors Mark Kydd, Rob Flett and Sharon Erskine read a longer version of Cecelia's 'A Night at the Pictures' which will soon be rehearsed to take into plder people's centres. Our funders for this project were Lloyds TSB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stories and Memories from Nicholas Court

 

 

 

 

In June 2013 Citadel finished another living memory project in Leith at St Nicholas Court Sheltered Housing. Their book of memories was launched with some nostalgic violin music by Laure Paterson, and a singsong in which tenants were joined by P6 pupils from Trinity Primary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two Memory Book Launches in One Week

 

Citadel has just completed two living memory projects and launched illustrated books of the participants’ reminiscences.

 

The first project was in Leith’s Jameson Place Sheltered Housing where nine tenants met with Liz Hare, Laure Paterson and Warden, Elaine Edwards to share memories of growing up – in Leith, Crail and even south of the Border! Vivid reminiscences ranged from the traumas of the War years to bringing up baby.

 

The resulting book of memories was launched on 27th June with story telling from Jemima Sinclair and poetry readings from the pupils of St Mary’s Primary. 

 

The P6 pupils who starred in Citadel’s recent Leith Festival show, reprised some of their songs and scenes for a group of residents and families.  

The project was funded by the Robertson Trust and the Cooperative Community Fund.

 

Wedding Photo taken beside the Water of Leith in 1997 of Walter and Marilyn Paterson.  

Walter and Marilyn both live in Jameson Place and contributed their memories to the project.

Westfield Park Living Memories

On 29th June 2012, Citadel launched another book of memories of clients from the Midlothian Day Care Centre at Eskbank. The stories of this well-travelled group range from memories of Cairo and Cambodia to South Africa and Zambia. The participants told us: ‘It’s been absolutely wonderful and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.’

‘I’ve enjoyed it very much listening to other people talking about their lives.’

‘I was learnin the things I’m forgetting all about.’

‘I’ve enjoyed it. It makes you feel how different your childhood was from someone in the city.’

People opened up and spoke more confidently, shared their humour, appreciated hearing one another’s experiences and clearly enjoyed taking part.


 

Funding for the project came from The Robertson Trust and Dalkeith Rotary whose new president attended the launch and enjoyed seeing a performance of Cecilia Rose’s ever-popular ‘Jimmy and the War’ with group members, staff, carers and relatives. We hope this will only be the first of many projects in Eskbank.

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Midlothian Community Hospital

 In July 2011 Citadel finished a living memory project in a new venue for us – the Occupational Therapy Department of the brand new Midlothian Community Hospital.  Working in close co-operation with the OT staff, we ran a pilot project, stimulating and collecting the memories of a group of patients with memory loss and other disabilities.

 Their stories were compiled into an illustrated booklet which was launched in July with a performance of Laure Paterson’s Gold Rush, fresh from its successful run at Leith Festival.  The participants, their relatives and the staff told us how enjoyable and stimulating the whole experience had been:

‘interesting to hear people’s memories’

‘The book is excellent. . . enjoy it every time I read it’

‘I felt like I was part of the play’

Our funders were Midlothian Small Projects Regeneration, Dalkeith Rotary, and Voluntary Action Fund Community Chest.  With further funding, we hope to continue our association with Midlothian Hospital and deliver a longer project there. The OT staff are keen to welcome us back.

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Penicuik Play Project

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In 2010 Cecilia Rose and Liz Hare carried out the Penicuik Play project.  Memories were recorded, transcribed and corrected by the old people themselves; Cecilia then wrote short simple scripts which they were able to read aloud themselves – even providing the sound effects! These impromptu readings not only gave great amusement but also an opportunity for the participants to use their literacy skills and so avoid losing them.  This work was supported by our partners, WEA, and Midlothian Adult Literacy and Numeracy Initiative (MALANI).

In 2009, Cecilia and Liz have just completed two similar projects: one in Pentland House, Penicuik, with a new group of residents; another in Kirkliston Community Centre.  As one Pentland House resident said: ‘This makes everyone into an individual’. Both these Citadel Arts Group initiatives culminated in the production of a memory book, and included opportunities for the old people to have fun reading a script based on their own stories, as well as experiencing a short live theatre performance by Citadel actors.

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At the launch of the Penicuik Memories book, the residents enjoyed seeing Cecilia Rose’s play, ‘Jimmy and the War’ and hearing Citadel’s co-founder, Millie Gray, share her own wartime memories. Pupils from nearby Cornbank Primary attended this event and chatted with the old people after the show. 

We even re-united a wee boy with her great aunt, now a Pentland House resident!  In Kirkliston Community Centre, Caroline MacKellar, Mairi Jayne Weir and Ian Watt performed Laure Paterson’s Gold Rush musical comedy, ‘There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills’. Again local primary children shared the experience and chatted with the old people afterwards.

Our sponsors in Penicuik were NHS Lothian and Penicuik Common Good Fund.  In Kirkliston we were funded by Awards for All.  

Midlothian County Council

LEITH COMMUNITY CENTRE

 
         
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories of the Sea at Leith Dockers Club

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Another cheering evening of Leith history in the company of the folks at Citadel Arts.

Image of Stories of the Sea

 

Andrea McKenzie as Eva and Charles Donnelly as Norman Wilkinson Stories of the Sea

Photo Alan Thomson

It’s marvellous what can be achieved by a community theatre company in a community space with a little

 ingenuity and a lot of hard work. For their eighth outing at the Leith Festival, Citadel Arts Group have pulled off

 another impressive double bill that celebrates Leith, gives a nod to local history, and sends a packed house

 home with a chuckle and a swell of local pride.

 

Dazzle takes its inspiration from one of Leith’s popular recent residents – Ciara Phillips’ stunning Dazzle Ship.

As writer Alan Mountford explained to us, local woman Eva Mackenzie was one of the artists who worked on

the original ships, which were designed to distract German U-boats during World War I. Citadel regular Andrea

 McKenzie takes on the role of Eva, a plummy North Berwicker, who likes to break the fourth wall for some

local banter with her audience. Her pal Lizzie (Megan Fraser) is a rung or two down the social ladder, but the

 pair bond over art, adventure and love interests.

 

Meanwhile, Charles Donnelly and Gregor Davidson are kept busy switching between the different male parts

, mainly men of the sea of various ranks. Donnelly’s a new face for Citadel, a very impressive addition to the

 team, whose experience shines as Eva’s prospective suitor, Norman Wilkinson. The play uses their relationship

 as its central thread, with the Dazzle project and the horrors of the war as the backdrop. Despite the tragedy

of loss that war brings, it’s mainly light-hearted, daft in places (Davidson does a dappy, self-deprecating King George V)

 and sometimes takes a permissible short-cut (it’s difficult to believe the conversation convincing the navy to invest

 in the project passed quite so smoothly). There’s some nice sound and lighting effects, dazzle-related props and

 backdrop, and good use of the space, under the direction of Liz Hare. Not the hardest-hitting exploration of war

 you’ll ever see, but fun, informative and well-performed by a strong cast.

 

Jim Brown’s Whit Aboot The Wimmen?, directed by Mark Kydd, fast forwards a few decades to the 1960s.

 Mum (Laverne Edmonds), daughter Annie (Rachel Keiller) and grandad (Donnelly again) gather in a typical

 Leith parlour. Grandad’s a little overkeen on the booze, but it’s the women who face the biggest struggles –

 Mum frets over her neglectful husband and lost youth and opportunity, Annie her teddy boy boyfriend

(Charlie West) who’s got an eye for the ladies. Luckily, Annie’s brassy friend Shona (Kirsty Punton) is on hand

 to keep them straight. It’s the call of the sea that keeps their men from treating them better. The whaling life

 takes them away to the Arctic, makes them distant, leads them into bad habits.Like its predecessor, it’s chirpy

and easy-to-watch with a distinctive local flavour. It’s more a snapshot of a family than a complete story arc.

Little changes for the characters in the 45 minutes. All the same, there’s some funny lines, appealing characters

and nice musical interludes.

Citadel continue to find interesting aspects of Leith life to explore and heartwarming evenings like this

continue to do them, the Dockers’ Club and Leith Festival great credit. Long may it last.

 

 

 

 

WOMEN AT WORK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOMEN AT WORK, Citadel's latest living memory project was held in Jameson Place Shelter Housing, a Port of Leith Housing Association (POLHA) centre where we have lots of old friends. It was our 4th and largest POLHA project and focused on the fascinating and varied work memories of 11 women from Leith. This was a joint project with Edinburgh Art Festival and inspired by the Dazzle ship moored in Leith docks. Many of the Dazzle designs, painted onto our ships in WWI to confuse the enemy, were produced by women, and Ciara Phillips' original commissioned design for the Leith ship is called 'Every Woman'. A lovely book of the work memories was launched on 11 Jan in Jameson Place with pupils from the nearby Gaelic School presenting the women with portraits and illustrations of their stories.

 

For more information  on the book launch click on the link below.

http://nen.press/2017/01/23/women-at-work-leith-women-tell-their-stories/

 
 
 

 

 

  WW1 Dazzle Ships

In September, 2016, a trial reading of a new project, researched and written by Alan Mountford, based on the World War 1 dazzle ships, took place.  The reading was in Leith's Thomas Morton Hall with Trinity P4 pupils and tenants from the Port of Leith Housing Association Sheltered Housing.

 

They all enjoyed a draft of an early scene, random arts giving will support the project to develop a play about the WW1 Dazzle ships for Leith Festival 2017 and we are seeking further funding. This is a joint project with Edinburgh Art Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Us

 

 

Contact Us

 

 

 

 

Citadel Publications

Copies can be ordered of

the living memory

books about

Leith Hospital Recalled (£8.00),

 

Jamieson Place,

St Nicholas Court

Sheltered Housing and Leith Community Centre

(£5.00)

 

and the film

'The Right to Vote an A'That'

about the

Scottish Suffragettes

(£10 plus p and p)

 

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