Full house for North Edinburgh’s Big Night Out

Posted on 04/12/2013 by

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There wasn’t a spare seat in the theatre for North Edinburgh’s Big Night Out, organised by local group Power to the People, at North Edinburgh Arts last week. Over a hundred people from North Edinburgh and beyond enjoyed an evening of song, poetry, dance and drama.

Power to the People evolved from North Edinburgh Social History Group, local people who trawled through a huge volume of archive material to produce ‘Never Give Up’, a history of community activism in North Edinburgh.

Power to the People took this a stage further, and last Friday’s event was not only a celebration of the succesful conclusion of the course but also an opportunity to encourage wider activism.

Guests and visitors had an opportunity to visit art and photography exhibitions and view a video slideshow in North Edinburgh Arts’ galleries and cafe area before taking their seats in the theatre

There was a raft of strong performances on a special evening. North Edinburgh’s very own Timebank Choir got the show off to a rousing start and this was followed by poetry from Ian Moore and Anna Hutchison, two founding  members of both the Social History and Power to the People groups.

If the early part of the programme was dominated by North Edinburgh’s more mature activists, the stage belonged to the next generation when students from Craigroyston Community High School performed a medley of music, prose and drama which almost brought the house down. The future’s bright …

The Craigroyston kids were a near impossible act to follow, but North Edinburgh’s Womens International Group did just that with a moving interpretation of a work by Pastor Niemoller.

The evening was not limited to performers from North Edinburgh, of course, and Scots machair Liz Lochhead was a very welcome guest. Scotland’s national poet remains as popular as ever and national treasure Liz delighted an appreciative audience with some of her earliest poems as well as her latest epistle – written especially for a cinema opening the following evening and hot off the press. North Edinburgh heard it first!

The talented Penny Stone brought a memorable evening to a fitting finale by leading the audience – young and not quite so young – in a medley of popular protest songs.

CLD worker Lynn McCabe, who supports the Power to the People group, said: “The group wanted the Big Night Out to achieve a number of things: celebrate the end of the Power to the People course and share what we’ve learned with a wider audience. We also wanted people to have a good night out and to  enjoy the entertainment.

“The Big Night Out also gave us an opportunity to promote the arts and to raise awareness about the Referendum – we hope the event will promote further discussion and debate.

“It was great that the young people from Craigroyston played such an active part on the night and we would like to attract more young people as well as others of all ages who are not already involved.

Our hope was that the audience would leave feeling inspired, motivated to get involved and more committed to equality and defending what’s important. The Power to the People group wanted to get the message across that change is possible, that there is an alternative and that we can change the world!”

The group would like to thank:

  • Jade and Subie for giving up their free time to produce their art work for the big night out   (this was done on a voluntary basis outwith their course)
  • Helen Foster at Scran  and Claire the IT  tutor at Royston Wardieburn for supporting the Power to the People group learn how to use this important resource to prepare the exhibition
  • The Scotsman Publications, Gerry McCann and Duncan Brown for allowing us to use their photos for free
  •  Craigroyston Community High School for encouraging and supporting their pupils to participate in this community event
  • The timebank choir
  •  All the staff at North Edinburgh Arts
  • Royston Wardieburn Community Centre for paying for the transport to get people here and back tonight
  • CLD for  providing worker support  and finance towards the cost of the event
  • Plton Central Association
  • Liz Lochhead for giving up her time to join us here tonight
  • Joel Venet for filming the event
  • Dave Pickering, MC for the night
  • And finally, the Power to the People group for organising the event

The group will evaluate the Big Night Out when they next meet – changing the world may take a little longer!

Some Big Night Out pictures:

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STOP PRESS: Joel Venet has prouced a short Big Night Out highlights video. You’ll find it on YouTube at North Edinburgh Fights Back – it’s called Celebrate2

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