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Forging friendships across the sea

The performances are over, the food’s been eaten, the drinks have been drunk, the curtain’s come down on Birsay Drama Club’s first visit to Fintry and the verdict is in in: HUGE SUCCESS!

Despite a very early start to catch the 06:30 ferry on Friday, the Orcadians arrived looking remarkably perky. The perkiness continued through two rehearsals, a full buffet dinner in the hall (beautifully co-ordinated by May) and a slightly unsteady trip to the Fintry Inn!

Saturday morning saw some of our visitors head off with Josh for a tour of Knockraich Farm with Katy Rodger, then we had more rehearsals in the afternoon - mainly to get our own FADS performers, who had been drafted in to cover some parts, properly acquainted with ‘Henry the Tudor Dude’ - what a giggle. Following some re-fuelling with high tea at the Sports Club, it was wonderful to see the hall fill up to maximum capacity for the evening’s performances of three one-act plays.

We kicked off with ‘Henry…’, which was a right royal, musical romp through Henry VIII’s reign. While Birsay’s players did a truly grand job, I fear their efforts may have been overshadowed by our own German-playing, moustachioed, ‘118 118’-style pair, Andy Barr and Josh Frazer. It’s going to take some time to recover from their rendition of ‘Wundebar Anne’… :D

The second play, ‘The Passing Place’, was a complete contrast. Written by Birsay’s Issy Grieve, it told the story of the last part of a sponsored walk, being undertaken by four women in memory of a loved one. Beautifully acted and funny, touching and moving in equal measure, there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. The triple bill ended with the FADS comedy, ‘Mother Figure’, and wonderful performances once again by Laura, Jeannie and John left the audience on a high.

Then the Big ASS (after-show social) kicked off – and what a night it was. More food from May’s catering corps, plenty of drinks via the FADS bar and, best of all, surely the finest show of talent this side of the Campsies. Martin got the party pieces going with a very funny rendition of ‘Yoga Fart’ (who doesn’t love a cacophony of flatulence?!) and then the floodgates opened. There was singing, dancing, reciting – and, yes, more drinking and laughing. Iona Macleod gave us a beautiful solo rendition of one of her favourite songs, then got the rest of the Birsay crew up on stage for a group blues number, before Paul and May wrenched back the reins for FADS. Clog dancing, accordion and guitar playing, showtunes…on we joyfully went until 1:30am…

The whole weekend was full of good things, with old friendships refreshed, new ones formed and the bond between two drama clubs, over 300 miles apart, undeniably strengthened.

The final word goes to Margaret, captain of Birsay’s thespian ship: “We had such a wonderful weekend, which passed much too quickly. The welcome we got was second to none, with great hospitality and a fantastic audience. It was a pleasure to catch up with old friends and also make some new ones, who all seem to want to come to Orkney, so I think that is a certain return visit for you next year. Just to finish by saying how much we all enjoyed this venture and can’t wait to do it again. You aren’t going to get rid of this lot in a hurry!”

See all the photos and a few videos here.

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