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Playing a new role; STOW MUST GO ON: THE STAGE IS SET FOR STUDENTS TO TREAD THE BOARDS.

Byline: Marjorie Calder

A bit of acting up at Stow College has produced dramatic results for teamwork and morale, reports MARJORIE CALDER

STOW College does not have a performing arts department, but this is no drama for lecturer Stephen Langston.

Stephen is the energy behind the college's forthcoming production of Arabian Nights and he makes no apology for turning students of more mundane disciplines into theatre luvvy- darlings for the duration.

Of last year's Stow production of Wallace, he says: "It served as an extra- curricular activity and was great for staff and student development.

"Morale was sky high when Wallace was on and the place was going like a fair. But it also provided excellent practical experience for the technical students who worked on the staging, sound and lighting effects."

Arabian Nights will give all Stow students the chance to try out their creativity and take part in the extensive teamwork required to produce a successful show.

But there are also opportunities for members of the public to get involved, both on stage and behind the scenes.

Everyone involved in the production works for free but, resting actors take note, the experience of working with a cast of well mixed professional and amateur performers worked extremely well last year.

Just like Popstars, the college is making a filmed documentary of the show, starting with the auditions this month. All those who audition may become part of the eventual documentary, even if they don't make it on to the cast list.

Open auditions kick off this week to recruit a cast of up to 100 and people from outwith the college are encouraged to apply. Stephen says he has easily filled the places for child actors already, but would like to hear from anyone aged 16 and over who might like to get involved.

It is worth mentioning that Stephen has written a full musical score for Arabian Nights which, like Wallace, is a musical with full orchestral backing. It would, therefore, be an advantage if stage wannabes could sing.

But for heaven's sake, don't mention the name Aladdin. Stephen is already fed up with the fact that Disney has made Arabian Nights and the Aladdin story seem synonymous. Aladdin was not in fact in the original Tales of the Arabian Nights, as told by Scheherazade. So now you know.

Rehearsals for Arabian Nights will start in earnest in September and the production itself will be shown in April 2002. That's how long it takes to put such a production together.

Stow College's version of Arabian Nights will be updated as a sort of news story, but there is still lots of scope for magic and illusions such as giants, genies and flying carpets. Stow students who take part will receive appropriate credit units for the work they do and experience gained.

The college is yet to offer any more formal qualifications in the physics of returning genies into bottles and making carpets fly. But by the wonders of technology, it could yet be arranged.

You can visit the website www.sl-productions.co.uk/arabian.htm or phone the college on 0141- 332 1786 for more information.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 3, 2001
Words:527
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