Acclaimed actors give reading of GCU students' plays

11 May 2017

Gavin Mitchell and Juliet Cadzow perform 'Automated Hell' in Are You Being Served?

Gavin Mitchell and Juliet Cadzow perform 'Automated Hell' in Are You Being Served?

“I’m playing a lot of sleazy characters tonight,” laughs Gavin Mitchell. “I don’t really have to stretch myself!”

The Still Game star brought the full range of his talents to Are You Being Served?, a series of mini plays written by students and alumni of Glasgow Caledonian University’s MA TV Fiction Writing programme.

Teaming up with BAFTA-nominated Juliet Cadzow and actors James Rottger and Erin McCardie, Gavin performed readings in front of a packed audience at GCU.

He said: “Some of the plays were really funny but some of them were quite heart-breaking and beautiful, so there was a nice breadth and range to the work.

“It’s amazing to hone a complete story into a few pages. To create a start, a middle and an end in such a short space of time is phenomenal.”

The 15 plays tackled a wide range of subjects on the theme of customer service including prostitution, automated telephone lines, death and plastic surgery.

“I think the students have really enjoyed hearing their work come to life,” says Juliet Cadzow, a GCU Cultural Fellow. “I suppose, as a writer, you don’t get the opportunity to hear it aloud so to have it voiced will have been interesting for them.”

MA TV Fiction Writing student Grant Reid, whose comedy ‘The Dress’ took a satirical look at the assumptions made about shop assistants, was delighted to see his work performed.

“When you’ve got people from the industry coming to read your play, it just makes everything come to life,” he said. “It’s incredible what the actors can do in a short space of time.”

Roseanne Kay Davidson’s ‘Separation’ tackled the birth of the American civil rights movement and she believes Are You Being Served? will benefit her as a writer.

“It’s given me a lot of confidence going forward. It was exciting to see what the actors brought to my work. It’s great that scriptwriting and theatre has such a collaborative effort,” she said.

“I thought there was a great response from the audience,” said Professor Ann Marie Di Mambro, lecturer on the MA TV Fiction Writing programme. “There was a brilliant atmosphere in the room and I loved how the actors gave it their all.

“I think the students will realise when they’re writing scripts that they are not only to be read, they are meant to be said aloud. The more they can picture people saying their lines, the better.”