It was premiered as part of Tramway Presents and Take Me Somewhere Festival 2019 after being developed through Imaginate’s PuSH EU Lab residency since 2017. It received widespread attention, receiving both a five star and a two-star review, with the latter absolutely disgusted by the work. It was also nominated as Outstanding Dance Performance at the Herald Culture Awards 2019. The show is one glorious hour of ten-year-olds tearing up the floor. Ultimately it is a deeply challenging but accessible work; on face value it has kids doing death defying stunts, smoking and drinking and dressing up in lingerie. Scratch the surface and it reveals some troubling truths about adults’ attitudes towards how we safeguard children.
In The Interests Of Health And Safety Can Patrons Kindly Supervise Their Children At All Times
IN THE INTEREST OF…. features ten children, high scaffolding, French torch songs and some very scabby mattresses. A deranged disco of a show, it examines society’s reluctance to let children take risks.
“Don’t look now; but out on the more adventurous edges of theatre-making, the idea of theatre performed by professional actors for a paying public is approaching meltdown, and not only because of the pressures of austerity. Artists are also increasingly raising questions about who has the right to tell other people’s stories; and now, as part of the Take Me Somewhere festival, the Tramway hosts a spectacularly brilliant new young people’s show by Glasgow company 21 Common, co-directed by Lucy Gaizely and Gary Gardiner, and inspired by their furious reaction to a health and safety sign in the Tramway itself, asking patrons to “kindly supervise their children at all times”.
In The Interests Of Health And Safety Can Patrons Kindly Supervise Their Children At All Times (*****) is an unforgettable one-hour explosion of theatre, in which a team of ten children aged 9-12 – dressed at first in striking red boiler-suits, and by the end in simple black leotards – use every ounce of their own unstoppable energy, wit and presence to stage what is almost an Extinction Rebellion-type protest against an over-controlling society. Supervised by three fraught male parent-figures, they mime furiously to loud and naughty French torch-songs, perform dangerous-looking leaps involving a high platform and a pile of mattresses, mimic adult smoking, drinking and flirting behaviour with uncanny accuracy, and generally have the best time imaginable; while also delivering a beautifully disciplined and good-looking show, perhaps just brilliant and unsettling enough to begin to change a nervy and – for children – oppressively cautious world.”
— JOYCE McMILLAN, SCOTSMAN
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
‘Necessary discomfort coupled with sheer exhilaration! This is a show for adults and some of them might find it challenging, there is very loud music and a high level of uncontrolled exuberance.
In the 80’s it was normal for kids to be out all day long with absolutely no supervision. We skint our knees, got up to nonsense, secretly glugged our Dad’s beer and climbed just about anything we could find! Sometimes things went our way, sometimes we failed. The modern idea of ‘snowplough’ parenting, where adults remove all obstacles from their child’s path to ensure constant success was not something we experienced as youngsters. Indeed, the parental phrase of ‘Get out of my sight’ was commonplace. We hope this work will make the audience think about that and see with clarity how we as adults are potentially damaging kids’ future responses to reality.’
LUCY GAIZELY, 21COMMON