In September 2014, the population of Scotland must decide whether they want their country to be independent. This follows teenagers creating a play to prepare for the decision.
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In June of last year,
young people in Scotland were given power as never before.
And it is absolutely right that they do have the opportunity
to vote on the 18th of September next year.
This year, for the first time in the UK,
16 and 17-year-olds will vote in a national election
which will shape the future of the country.
It's not something that people this age usually get,
so it's kind of a privilege.
It's a big responsibility.
I really want to make a difference.
As Scotland's independence referendum rapidly approaches,
these teenagers will create and perform a play
to help make up their minds about how to vote.
-I was the original twerker!
-I am Scotland's First Minister.
Can all this really help as they face what could be
the biggest political decision of their lives?
ALL: Now's the hour!
In the heart of Glasgow city centre, Scottish Youth Theatre has been
inspiring young people from across Scotland since the 1970s.
These young people have been brought together
because of a shared interest in drama and politics,
and will spend their Christmas holidays putting on a play,
which will help them get to grips with their feelings on the forthcoming referendum.
Well, I am honestly undecided when it comes to voting.
I don't know if I'm going to pick yes or no.
When I heard we got the vote, I was like, "What's this?"
I don't really know the arguments that well,
so I'd like to find out more about it.
With guidance from director Fraser McLeod and his team,
the group will work on a devising a show, Now's The Hour,
which will reflect and explore their diverse views on the referendum.
Some of you are brand-new to performance, so, welcome.
Please don't be scared. That's great. That's really exciting.
The play is not about if they are going to vote yes or no,
it's more about their hopes and aims and fears for the future.
It's great for you guys to be involved in this.
I think it's excellent that 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to vote.
I thought this would be a really interesting way to learn about it
as well as having fun and meeting new people.
SYT first mounted Now's The Hour in the summer of 2013,
but this unique production will be devised and re-written by the new cast.
We've got "scenery"...
With busy lives and exams on the near horizon,
time for these young people is tight.
They have just three short weeks to turn their questions
on Scotland's future into a show fit for public performance.
It's quite daunting, I'm not going to lie.
I think when you've got a short period of time to do something,
there's a bigger influx of ideas come out of that.
So the accents are British cringe.
The young cast won't be alone in their endeavours -
writer David Cosgrove will be on hand
to pull the final script together as the drama workshops evolve.
Your contributions are absolutely vital to this.
We can't make this without you all committing to being as honest
and open as you can.
I have to take away all the devising
and the views that happen in the room
and kind of meld them into a doable script.
We're looking for things about
the kinds of issues that you maybe don't know enough about,
or you're concerned about.
Before they get down to the business of creating a show,
the cast have their first encounters with musical director Anna Schneider...
And give your whole body a shake.
..and choreographer Jayne Austin...
Yes, it might be tough and you might get hot and sweaty.
..who will put them through their vocal and physical paces.
And stretch your arms up and back. That's it.
ALL SING: Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma.
Long. And to the side.
ALL SING: # One, two, three, four Five, six, seven, eight
# Seven, six, five, four Three, two, one. #
Each of the participants has been asked to come up with a question,
the answer to which would influence their personal decision on how to vote.
How would our society improve if we voted no,
and likewise if we voted yes?
Will racism be tackled?
Will people with disabilities get treated equally?
What will happen to the NHS?
Will promises become a reality?
What will happen to free prescription?
Will we have to change our currency?
Will I have to pay tuition fees?
Would a future Scotland be economically sustainable?
You don't have to agree with it. Like, say you feel strongly...
With their questions displayed on the wall, the cast are marking the ones they most want to discuss.
It's really exciting cos there's points coming up that this group seem really passionate about.
Amina, 15, Edinburgh. What would we have if we didn't use the pound?
Why is that a question that kind of speaks to some people?
When I was in primary, it was hard enough for me to learn what a pound was,
-never mind what a euro is.
At 15 Amy is the youngest member of the group,
and the only one who won't be able to vote in September,
but that doesn't mean she's short of an opinion.
Some of my friends are like,
"What are you voting for? I'll vote for that if you vote for that."
and I'm like, "You should really be voting for what YOU think."
-I learned the pound and I like the pound.
One option, if we were to go option if we were to go independent,
would be to have the pound. What's the other options?
-Groat! The Groat has reared its head.
-Is that an electronic...?
-Yeah, yeah, it's electronic money.
-That'd be so cool! That wouldnae confuse me.
We are working with a group of young people who are very articulate
and are very emotionally intelligent,
and are respectful of each other's points of view.
Will Scotland continue with free further education?
That's a question that meant something to you,
so, what? What does it mean to you?
Education is the very backbone of society, and a society is
where you have the right to live in the pursuit of happiness.
That's what education should do.
I'm not poor, but I'm not rich, and I don't think, like, yeah,
we're turning 16 and 18 and stuff,
and you're going to want to get a car and going to need to get all that.
Maybe a couple of grand to go to uni.
I'm Kieran from Fife and my question is - can the Westminster government guarantee
that they won't be cutting our budget by £4.1 billion in the event of a no vote?
There are some people who know this independence debate through and through, from every angle.
It was fascinating. There's people that have read much more on it than I ever will, I think.
The Scottish Parliament gets a block amount of money,
and that's calculated through the Barnett formula that, of course,
we contribute over our population share.
But the thing is, the Barnett formula actually gives us more money
than we give out in taxes, so we get more money than Ireland or Wales.
So if you're looking at it in fairness then maybe
we aren't quite as fair or as equal as the other countries in the UK.
It's an old thing to say that we're subsidized.
Scotland contributes its fair share.
Ho ho! Yes! Ding ding!
I find it a really difficult process because I have to be devil's advocate,
because that's where some of the interesting points in creating drama's going to come out of it.
Discussion over for now, it's time for the drama to begin.
Fraser has split the cast into groups and asked them to improvise
a scene based on where the country could be after the referendum.
You only have to ask, you didn't have to throw a referendum,
like a tantrum.
They have just 15 minutes to create their sketch.
We were given the requirements that it had to be about Scotland
voting no towards the referendum,
but still being in a good relationship with the UK.
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.
And we decided to make it like a band.
So the band is the UK, each person represents a country,
but Scott, who is Scotland, wants to have a solo career.
I'm going to be magical.
We've decided to do like a kind of Jeremy Kyle, chat show kind of thing.
-What has Scotland ever done wrong?
-Mr Scotland, here, Mr proud Scotsman here, he tried to leave!
Scotland is more like, "Nothing has happened, nothing is wrong,"
but then when you get down to it, you get England in
and Ireland in and Wales, he notices what's going on now.
I just don't understand how we're going to do it if it's a battle.
We are hosting a celebratory dinner party for the yes campaign
having had a successful referendum,
but we plan to take it that tensions are bit high
between the rest of the UK and Scotland.
-With the 15 minutes up,
it's time to show each other what they have managed to come up with.
If you could change one thing...
I'll come to you first, Mr Cameron. If you could change one thing,
what would it be?
I would have treated you better.
Ah, well, you should have thought about that, shouldn't you?
-Five, six, five, six, seven, eight.
ALL SING: # God save our gracious Queen
# God save our gracious Queen
# God save our Queen. #
It's OK, Scotland, you're being very brave. Very brave about this. LAUGHTER
So, I think it's time to maybe see England's point of view.
A big hand for England, please. APPLAUSE
-Oh, get away from me!
What was really nice about that was just how quickly you did work.
We're looking for seeds, we're looking for ideas,
we're looking for concepts that we can maybe latch on and develop further.
PIANO PLAYS "SCOTLAND THE BRAVE"
Melody. "Land of my high endeavour."
As well as brushing up on the political arguments,
the group are going to have to pass muster as a choir,
and have seven new songs to learn in just three weeks.
Now what I want to do is hear everyone sing individually.
I cannae sing to save myself.
# High in the misty highlands
# Out by the purple islands
# Brave are the hearts that beat
-# Beneath Scottish skies. #
-Good. Thank you.
Two, three, and...
# High in the misty highlands
# Out by the purple islands. #
-I can't sing this, I'm going to embarrass myself.
# Towering in gallant flames Scotland my mountain hame
# High may your proud standards Gloriously wave. #
-That was really bad.
-No, it wasn't. So, it's -
# High may your proud standards Gloriously wave
ALL: # Land of my high endeavour
# Land of the shining heather
# Land of my heart for ever Scotland the brave. #
To help shape the final show, the cast will be asked to write a letter to their future selves.
They've been given some time to begin thinking about
what their lives might be like in 20 years' time.
We're asking them to express to themselves
20 years in the future what their hopes, their fears, their ambitions are,
for themselves and also for Scotland.
And out of that will come a lot of the material
that we'll use during the piece.
One of my hopes is that I'm actually happy with my life
and happy with where I'm going, good direction, good stability.
Regardless of whether Scotland becomes an independent country,
I hope that it like remains a healthy, hardworking and sustainable country.
I hope, independent or not, Scotland can keep its culture.
I hope Scotland can be more like Scandinavian countries.
I hope we never forget who we are.
We'll have more arts funding.
We'll more prominent within world culture.
That we still stay the same cracking country we are just now.
How did you guys find it? Was it easy, difficult?
I would really like to read this letter in 20 years
and then think what I would change going back to how I am now.
I think it was quite nice to talk about my family, thinking about
what my parents will be like, and what my brother will be like.
Can you go and put your notes and things away in your bags now. Do not lose these.
And all of you need to have e-mailed David by end of play Wednesday
with your completed letter.
Homework set and minds on the future, it's time for the cast to head for home.
At home in Dundee, 15-year-old Ellie is enjoying some free time
with mum, Amanda, and thinking about what she's learned.
I feel like I'm learning a lot about what side to pick,
cos I am really undecided on how to vote so I think that
listening to other people and what they think has really helped me.
This is where Dad said he used to come.
We're at Balgay Hill and you can see the entire layout
of Dundee from here...
and it's just so nice to look at
and I like to just come here with family and friends and things.
-It's really nice, eh?
-It is. It's lovely from here.
I like the way the water looks from here.
'It makes it difficult to decide. You don't know if anyone's
'telling the truth cos everyone's like, "This is all great."
'"This is all horrible." There's no middle ground.'
It makes me worried because if I make a wrong decision, things could go badly for Scotland.
You do see it.
'I just hope that it's still a good place to live in,'
whether we're independent or not, that we still get
our good education and health and I like the way Scotland is.
-I don't want it to get worse. I want it to stay nice...
..and hope that it's a good place.
For 16-year-old James, home is the West Highlands,
on the banks of Loch Etive.
Like Ellie, James is undecided on how he's going to vote
and living in the country will be a big factor in making his decision.
I think people from rural areas
have got kind of an important part of Scotland's identity because
we bring a different perspective of life to the table.
I think that's because we don't get as many opportunities
as Central Belt do
and I think one of the things you could probably improve
in rural areas is transport and infrastructure.
I'm very much for equality of opportunities all over Scotland
and I believe that's one of the ways that we could do that.
Back in Glasgow, 16-year-old Zack has come back
to his former primary school
to reflect on what first got him involved in politics.
I was dead into politics at a very, very, very young age.
A lot of people were interested in like Spider-Man and so forth,
I was interested in politics. That's quite a weird thing
for a child to have.
At the age of nine, Zack was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome
which lead to problems throughout his primary school career.
This little hill behind his old school was his place of refuge
when things got tough.
I was bulled for seven years of my life
because of my disability
and only up there I actually did find peace
because beyond there, I had my own little slice of heaven.
They called me every name in the book and the worst name I was ever called was Aspertic Boy.
But the teachers did step in for me a lot.
Zack's early experiences have informed his future ambitions.
I want to speak up for people. I want to try and be a leader.
The thing I really, really want,
my hope for future independence, is that everyone gets equal rights.
Men, women, people with disabilities,
heterosexuals, homosexuals, it doesn't matter.
The SNP are social liberals. No, no, no.
Zack has his sights set on Scottish independence.
His mum Linda, on the other hand, has more practical goals in mind.
-Put it down.
-You put it down. On you go.
-Health and safety.
-You're the one who wants independence!
Start at home with being independent for yourself.
You'll have to iron your own clothes in an independent Scotland.
Well, in the last few days, I've been writing a letter
to my future self in 20 years' time
and that's brought a few issues to me
that I'd never really thought of before, one of which is
what my little brother's going to turn out like.
It also made me think what Scotland's going to be like
and how this might change.
Here's a bit of my letter.
"Right now, I feel that Scotland's a bit like a family.
"A group of people, though their opinions may differ,
"still try to look after each other.
"It's a strong family, Scotland, so I hope it will always stay this way.
"I want to be happy and successful, so don't mess it up.
The letter that I've written is to myself in 20 years' time,
so I'll be 35 by that time. When I read it,
I'm hoping that everything's going all right for Scotland and myself.
Writing about it has really got me thinking more about it
cos when I write it in words, it makes me think more.
"Oh, wait. I never thought about that."
"Dear me, I hope everything's all right in 20 years' time for us.
"I just wanted to tell you what I'm thinking about at this time.
"I hope that when you read this you're a teacher.
"I hope that you're still close to your family.
"All I can say is that whether we're independent or not,
"it's the happiness of the Scottish people that really matters.
"From your 15-year-old self."
"A letter to my future self. I hope you're keeping well.
"My greatest ambition is to break the generic conventions
"with people with disabilities. I want to stand as a voice
"for those who have been shunned in Scottish society
"and therefore I want to be an MSP
"and a proud liberal and prove that all people matter."
Are we ready for this weekend?
After a few days off, the cast are back and raring to go.
This weekend, we've got a lot to do
because what we've got to do this weekend is create a show, all right?
This...is our set, OK?
This is not the complete finished set. This is a mock-up of it.
The audience will be over there.
What we need to do, before we start, is make sure everyone's ready
and raring to go. So, how should we do that?
MUSIC: "Hey Ya!" by OutKast
After a vigorous warm up, it's straight to work.
OK. What I'm going to ask you to do is one of you is going to start
reading your letters to your partner and when I say change,
the other person will then start reading their letter.
Fraser has asked the cast to swap letters with a partner
and read aloud from the other person's letter.
And three, two, one. Off you go
I hope that by the time it's 2034/35,
you've achieved your dream of...
I hope I'm living in a place that I'm proud to call home.
Regardless of the outcome of the independence vote,
the people of Scotland don't regret the vote.
It's allowing all the participants to hear little bits
or sometimes all of the letters of each other.
Do you have a job? Preferably one that you like...
There's a really nice sense coming out from all the letters
that they hope that Scotland will be a better, fairer, kinder society.
Feels like I'm writing to some other guy called Edan Hanson.
I think it actually helped me understand better.
This whole referendum isn't really about Scotland as a whole alone,
it's also about the individual person.
It's so relevant for me right now because I'm at the stage where
I'm going to leave school really soon
and I'm already thinking about my near future,
never mind 20 years' time when I'm going to be 37.
Dear me in 20 years' time,
I hope you're successful in your career
and you're still playing football.
I hope you're a good father, have a lovely wife.
And I hope that the Scottish culture I take great pride in
remains virtually unchanged.
My ambitions are for a truly fair nation.
I've had type-one diabetes since age six
so I'm really hoping I get cured in future.
No matter what happens, I hope that Scotland shines and thrives.
I hope you're living the life you've always dreamed,
even if I don't quite know what that is yet.
You may be old and in your 30s, but don't forget...
eat, sleep, rave, repeat.
# I am the mountain
# I am the sea
# You can't take that away from me
# I am the mountain
# I am the sea
# You can't take that away from me
# You tear us apart
# With all the things you don't like
# You can't understand
# That I won't leave
# Living here
# And then you find out
# Where it all went wrong
# I am the mountain
# I am the sea
# You can't take that away from me
# I am the mountain
# I am the sea
# You can't take that away from me
# I am the mountain. #
-Or we can say it alternately.
-You can say the first two lines.
It's Sunday morning of what's been a packed weekend
and the cast have been tasked with writing sections of script
for the first time.
Today what we're doing is we're trying to create
the linking devices between all of the sections
that we were working on yesterday.
Are you managing to put some of your ideas into this too?
'The linking sections have been developed
'through the questions that the young people have to ask themselves'
in order to write their letters and really think about
what they want for the future.
Fraser has asked two of the groups to focus on Scottish stereotypes.
We were to do a rap or a rhyme
celebrating or undermining stereotypes.
I just love the start of it.
Basically, what we're doing is we're trying to write it
in Scots dialect. It's quite...
We thought it would be quite easy, but it's not at all.
Stereotypes are really funny.
Some people are like, "We're not like that. We're not like that."
But you can't deny that they're not funny.
Is it like...
C-O-O or would you still spell it "cow" and just say "coo"?
-I'm proud of Scotland, my home.
The main thing is ginger hair, tartan, all the obvious things.
Fraser gave a task to acknowledge the stereotypes
and highlight the personal facts about Scotland.
Writing and rehearsing over,
it's time to tread the boards and share their work.
Us Scots, we're an odd wee bunch
Annoy us and you'll get a punch.
Some people may think of us
bagpipe-playing Stuart-tartan wearing ceilidh-dancing gingers.
And now we have the opportunity to make it what we want it to be.
We're kilt-wearing gingers who love Irn-Bru
roaming the fields with a Highland "coo".
Brave William Wallace.
ALL: It should be a country for the people.
While the cast have been rehearsing, the stage management team
have been hard at work on the set.
A glimpse of the finished set starts to make the show
seem a reality for the first time.
It makes me really excited to do the show now,
now that I know what we are doing it on.
So excited. It makes me go, "Wow."
We have got the hatches and things.
Yeah, the week's been really good.
It's just getting really close with everyone
and knowing them better and just getting all the scenes done.
It's really good.
With a hard weekend's work under their belts
and Christmas on the horizon, a celebration is in order.
MUSIC: "Wake Me Up" by Avicii
SHOUTING AND WHOOPING
ALL SHOUT: Merry Christmas!
15-year-old musician Amina is at home in Edinburgh
preparing for Christmas with Mum, Rosie.
In a few days' time, Amina will celebrate her 16th birthday
which has got her thinking about the future.
I think the main differences between adulthood and teenagehood are,
as an adult, you have more freedom of speech,
more opportunities to decide what goes on in your life
and in your country and you can make a difference much easier,
decide what happens, where you're going and your direction in life.
It will be really exciting to see if my dreams for what
I want to achieve in life match what actually does happen.
Amina's ambition is to become a professional musician
and to be part of the Scottish traditional music scene.
The things that make up my Scotland are language, our culture,
our traditions, our music in particular, our food,
our people, our country,
our landscape. Everything all rolled into one, really.
Traditional music seems very lovely. Everyone's so friendly.
Everyone knows everyone, You can just go along to a gig,
you'll recognise loads of people you know. It's so lovely. It's really nice.
It's the 27th of December
and the young cast have had three days off for Christmas.
With just seven full rehearsal days left before the final performance,
there's a long way to go.
With 22 members in the cast
and an ever-growing number of bit parts,
wardrobe supervisor Nicola has her work cut out.
I think we have seven or eight days until show time.
We've been told that we're looking for a haggis costume
and other things will involve...
I think there's a lab, a laboratory,
so there might be some white coats involved.
This is the thing with the devised piece. I can go so far with it
but until they devise a bit more I'm stuck waiting to know what it is.
Writer David has some news
that just might make Nicola's job a bit easier.
The full script has now been sent off.
We're waiting for it to start printing.
and then we'll start casting.
With good progress behind the scenes,
musical director Anna is working with the cast to finalise
an alternative version of a familiar song.
Haggis, whisky, shortbread too.
Scotland the Brave.
Scots or Jocks, we're all the same...
But there can be no show without a script,
and things in the office aren't exactly going to plan.
-What are we going to do?
-I don't know.
-There's no paper.
-There's no paper anywhere.
-We can't do any scripts.
We are getting more paper delivered. Are you actually filming?
With paper sourced and the scripts finally printed, it's time
for the teenagers to learn which parts they will play in the show.
So the first characters to be cast.
The character of Shona will be played by Alana.
The character of the Texan American will be played by Zack.
The stage we're at now is we need to block the play as quickly as we can.
Usually, you would have a week or so to do that,
but we're on in a week so we have to do this in days.
The Tester will be played by James.
And Andy Murray makes an appearance so he will be played by Craig.
Haggis will be Amina.
Mrs Scotland will be Amy.
The Coatbridge Bank will be Zack.
I've got to do a Welsh accent.
I've also got to do a Texan
and I've also got to do a Coatbridge accent.
-How are you going to practise haggising?
-I'm not sure.
You can't really.
Just eating loads of haggis and hoping that I'll turn into one.
Now, the Coatbridge and the Texan I might just get away with
but a Welsh?
So, so proud to be Mrs Scotland.
It's my calling in life.
I'm a bit disappointed in the parts I got but it's OK.
You could start a petition if you like.
I would like to, I would like to start a petition.
A polite disagreement.
-But unfortunately, this is not a democracy.
There's other points where it's direct to the audience, isn't it?
Parts allocated, it's time to knuckle down and start rehearsing
the play's first big scene.
ALL: What is Scotland?
The guidebooks go on about the hills and lochs and history and art
but there's got to be more to it than that.
The subject of this scene, Scottish identity,
is something the cast has plenty to say about.
It doesn't really matter, your accent
or, like, what colour you are,
what race you are.
To be Scottish, you simply have to like Scotland.
All the different kinds of cultures, languages, traditions
-and all of them welcome.
The stereotypical Scottish person is ginger, freckly, blue eyes,
pale skin and obviously I'm not that type of person.
I do count myself as Scottish
because it's the culture here that I've grown up with.
I've always been here.
-Deep-fried Mars bars.
I think, to be Scottish, is just be happy about the fact you're Scottish
and embrace the different aspects of it.
No matter how many landmarks or resources we have,
none of it would mean anything
if there was no-one left to use or enjoy all of it.
British people are, like, meant to be posh and fancy.
You know, tea and crumpets,
and then there's us and we're just like Irn-Bru and shortbread.
THEY ALL LAUGH
If someone said, "Are you Scottish?" I'd say yes.
If someone said, "Are you British?" I'd say yes.
Imagine what it would be like if the whole country was empty.
Not one single person in the whole of Scotland.
I know I don't sound particularly Scottish and that's fine,
but I'm very much Scottish and I'm proud of being Scottish.
THEY SING "SCOTLAND THE BRAVE"
Well done, well done.
Time to go home.
It's Sunday morning and, with just a week till curtain up,
the weary cast arrive for another full day of rehearsals.
-Edan? Great. So, Alice, are you here.
It is a week today which is a laugh but I'm quite nervous.
Now is grind time, it's now going to be study the lines, learn them,
get confident and give 100%.
Because it's such a short period of time, there's always going to be
hiccups or something but I do think it's going very well.
It's tiring but I'm really enjoying it.
Last night, Fraser and David set the cast some homework,
and it seems not everyone is ready to hand it in.
No dogs have eaten it yet, no?
We're already running way behind because people didn't do what
they were asked to do.
That took an extra 15-20 minutes.
'I had to just have a wee pep talk with them
'because the more lethargic they get, the slower everything's going to be
'so we just have to keep the energy up and keep positive about it.'
It'll be fine.
If I had played like you had just sang, it would have went like this.
And it's not just Fraser who's putting the pressure on.
Anna's not happy with their work today either.
Do you believe that I will survive?
Show me the sass and the drama in the eyes.
Show me this time that you WILL survive.
Experiences like this are good because it brings together
young people in a space where they can feel like they're valued
and their opinions matter, whereas I think more on the outside world
it's more, "Oh, you're younger, sit down, shut up."
Even though we've got the biggest stake in what actually
happens in the referendum.
All that stuff will be affecting our daily lives whether Scotland's
independent or not, whether we will have free tuition
and all that stuff will directly affect us.
'I don't want to think in 30 years' time that I wasn't
'well enough informed to make a good decision.'
But I think I have been on a journey and I've changed many times
between pro-independence and against independence.
# Did you think I'd lay down and die? Oh, no, not I... #
The front, and that's the back.
You'll see that there's a little net there.
If you can try
and catch your hair in the little net that would be really super.
With the casting announcements made,
costume designer Nicola has a lot more information to go on.
But with scripted rehearsals still in the early stages,
it will be some time before all the costumes can be ready.
Characters don't necessarily have full costumes
but they have something that represents their character.
For example Rabbie's got a wig.
One of the more elaborate costumes is for Amina's haggis outfit.
SCOTTISH JIG PLAYS
Do you think you're one of those actors that needs a costume
-in order to feel...
-I think so.
I don't really like haggis that much but I like the smell of it
and I don't smell of that at the moment which is a shame.
-Right if you want to go behind there and get changed?
Zack thought his character's accents were going to be his biggest
challenge, but he hadn't banked on a costume that would make him
larger than life.
-Now you're a man with presence on the stage.
-Oh, a lot of presence(!)
I look like Rick Perry.
MUSIC: THEME FROM THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Can I show you a Texan?
-How's that feel?
-It feels all right.
-Do you feel that you're Texan?
I'm from Texas!
Oh, lordy, lordy!
What we're doing is, we're doing the timeline today which is
a section of the play that makes us
look at how we've got to where we're at with this referendum debate.
So we look at key events that the young people have identified from
just before the Union of the Crowns.
Using music and short sketches, the scene creates a montage,
illustrating big moments in history.
It's 200 metres to the end and Mo Farah's in the lead!
And he's won!
# Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. #
Good. That's better.
So, can we go from financial crisis? Is that all right? Great.
'At the start, a lot of them didn't feel they were informed enough.'
But, yet, when they were encouraged to research and find out about
the debate, they are really energised and enthused by it.
The final moment in the timeline is the subject the whole play
hinges on, and one that's never far from the young actors' minds.
ALL: 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
We don't know that much about politics yet
but I believe that we're definitely a generation that learns fast
and that we want to find out about it more.
God save me from the love of these people. Animals! Savages!
When my dad or my mum's talking about it now
I can actually input into the conversation and sometimes
I even know more than them about it which is quite nice.
Yeah, I've learned a lot of stuff.
# God save the Queen. #
I'll be able to look back at this in the future and say, yes,
I did contribute to this decision
no matter what the outcome of the actual referendum.
In respects to that, it's working really well.
It's clear that some of you have done some homework, which is good,
and learned those lines and things.
I feel that a lot of the characters that we're seeing
aren't characters yet.
I just need you to trust yourselves and go bigger with it
and try out stuff, OK?
If you do something that's really funny we'll laugh and we'll move on.
That's fine, OK?
But I would rather see you try things than give us nothing.
It's been a hard day,
but, in spite of that, the cast are still feeling positive.
It's been tiring but it's been as fun as it has been.
This is the harder bit but I think once we start knowing our lines
it's really going to get up on its feet and it's exciting.
We're asking a lot of them being in here over their Christmas
and New Year holidays.
They're all showing up even when they've got a bit of a flu or a cold.
They're all still coming in.
They're working really hard and they're just really dedicated.
The weary young actors head home to learn lines
and celebrate Hogmanay with their families.
15-year-old Amy lives in Glasgow and has been coming to her local
community centre in Royston since she was 11.
We're at the Spire and I've brought you here
because I started my first ever drama classes here.
What I'm enjoying about it is it's
so nice to just have a change of what kind of drama you do.
It's nice to learn a lot about something else
cos I know something about politics,
but I wasn't really too sure about it.
As the youngest member of the group, she will just miss
out on being able to vote, but has pretty clear views on the subject.
I don't think there's anything wrong with the way we're working now
so I don't see the point in trying to change it.
I think Royston is nice enough,
but some people kind of make it a little less nicer to live in.
If Scotland did become independent, it could go either way.
Royston could be all done up and become a great place to be
or it could just be forgotten about.
It's 2nd January, 2014.
With only three days to go, the cast
arrive at the Scottish Youth Theatre for the final leg of rehearsals.
-Happy new year, everyone.
-ALL: Happy new year!
MUSIC: "Scream & Shout" by Will.i.am feat. Britney Spears.
Great. Ready for some star jumps?
This is the point where we're starting to gear up ready
to move into theatre so we're getting to the point
where we need to just be running it with these young people so that
they feel confident what they're doing.
It's a really exciting stage to be at
but time is ticking
and the game is getting harder.
During the New Year break, David's been hard at work on the script
and has decided that some significant cuts need to be made.
Yes, that's much neater.
It's down to Fraser to break the news to the cast.
OK, can everyone pay attention, please?
So the first change is on page five
and it's in the undermining stereotypes poem.
The verse - "All true Scotsmen love haggis and whisky,
"and the wild Celtic women who tend to the frisky.
"Hardcore and mental and defo totes tough,
"you've not had a weekend if you're not feeling rough."
That verse is cut.
I personally feel quite good because I don't have to change any
of my lines which is good because I just learned them off script.
While the cast get ready to do a run-through of the show,
the stage management team are in the studio theatre for the first time.
With opening night fast approaching, there's a lot to do.
The first thing really is for the lighting designer or technician
to rig the lights.
So, while they're working on the lights,
I'm putting together the framework for the set.
Back in the rehearsal rooms, the run-through's gone well
and the cast are reflecting on how
they feel as they approach their final days together.
I'm getting really sad that we only have two rehearsals left
and then the show and then it's all over.
THEY SHUSH HER
-No, we have to face this, right?
-We can't just push it away.
I'm a bit emotional again.
I'm excited to actually get into the studio now
and actually see how it's all going to take shape.
The cast are heading home for the evening,
but the working day is far from over for the SYT team.
Before they can be ready for tomorrow's technical
rehearsal with the cast, every lighting,
sound and audio-visual cue must be ready to go.
Do you just want to show me what's up there and what we've got?
It could be a long night.
The following day, the technical team are running behind
so Fraser makes the decision to move the morning's rehearsal.
The theatre's not ready, so to make best use of our time,
we're trying to get used to the quick costume changes,
so we're doing it out here where we have a bit of space.
No, darling, all you have is the wig.
Vocally, this will be good for the cast
because they're going to have to up their volumes, slow down,
all the notes we've been giving them in the small rehearsal room.
Never forget the real face inside.
ALL: The face of the nation that soon must decide.
I was the legend of Twerker!
Isn't that just super?
The first dress rehearsal has come as a bit of a shock and the
reality of just how tricky the show might be is beginning to hit home.
I don't even have a costume change and I was just getting stressed.
The haggis costume is a nightmare.
I really did not know what side of the stage I was supposed to be on
at the time and I did not know when
I was meant to change into my haggis costume so it was really hard.
Most of our bits went well except for the fact
I have this massive, ginormous phone of which I've never had to
use before and I was like, "Where does this go?"
After two days of problems behind the scenes,
final preparations are under way for the technical dress rehearsal
and Fraser is anxious to get started.
It's quarter to seven, so we're only in until nine tonight
so we need to get a move on.
In the girls' changing rooms,
the focus is on last-minute preparations.
While the atmosphere in the boys' changing rooms
is a little different.
Why is he laughing?
This is the boys' changing room.
You've been here and you've seen how focused we are on this play.
I am Scotland's First Minister.
You know how everyone says they open their mouth
-when they put mascara on?
I think everybody is a bit gutted for the fact that
they couldn't go in and get into the studio straightaway
so I think it's a bit scary knowing that we've only got today, tonight,
to get it good.
We are about to move into our tech for you lot,
but it's mainly to get all of the cues correct, OK?
The delays caused by technical problems have set things back badly.
By home time, rehearsals have barely reached the halfway mark
and the cast are beginning to feel nervous.
It's not going too well. We're only at the timeline, so...yeah.
And there's going to be an audience, like, tomorrow!
The next morning it's straight to the stage to re-start rehearsals.
# Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive. #
But it's not long before the first mishap.
-What did you hurt?
Imogen has hurt her leg
but is far more concerned about how rehearsals are going.
There are still things going wrong.
The guitars aren't being amped, the mics aren't on.
Just everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.
# Although they may be parted
# There is still a chance That they will see
# There will be an answer Let it be. #
Right guys. Thank you very, very much.
The next time you do this it's in front of an audience.
It is a dress rehearsal, OK, but I want you to get through it.
The technical team will keep up with you.
Everyone is working their hardest.
Everyone is trying their best to get everything up and running.
It's just frustrating.
With just one last rehearsal left before the big night,
the cast set their props and ready themselves for the dress rehearsal,
which they'll perform in front of a small audience.
No, you're still not going high enough. Go up here and then tie it.
It'll be nice to have a good practice with our first kind of mini audience.
Onwards and upwards!
# Now I'm going home. #
After a difficult couple of days, the dress rehearsal goes well
and the cast's confidence is restored before the big night.
But do they feel their involvement in the show has helped to
prepare them as they approach their first ever vote?
I feel like I'm more informed on making my decision now
because everyone here's got such strong opinions.
I came in with an opinion of what I thought I was going to vote
and I've been swayed about now.
The more I think about it,
the more I think how different we are to anywhere else in the world
and I think if we were independent we could use that to our advantage.
I would vote no, because the uncertainty factor is
the clincher for me.
After three weeks of hard work, the hour is almost upon them
and friends and family arrive to share their big moment.
Jump in, jump out and whoo!
Before the show gets under way,
there's just time for a quick warm up
and a few last words of encouragement from Fraser.
Really incredibly proud that, the past couple of days,
when it's all been crumbling and going a bit wrong elsewhere,
you guys have kept it together.
We can't thank you enough for that.
-What time is it? ALL:
-It's show time!
-When's the hour? ALL:
-Now's the hour!
Go on and be bloody brilliant! Off you go, thank you. Good luck.
We were set a task.
We were asked to write a letter to our future selves.
-20 years from now.
To speak to who we think will be.
-And offer them our dreams and our fears.
-Our great good wishes.
-And our best of hopes.
-Our words of caution and the canniest of advice.
-Not just for ourselves.
-But also for our country.
-For our future.
-And one of the many possible Scotlands...
-..come to be.
-Out of the writing of those letters...
-Out of our fun...
-And new-found friends...
-Out of our hard work...
-And even harder thinking...
-Out of our shared experiences...
On all those dark evenings and early mornings...
Out of all that has come this show.
ALL: That we all want to share with you today.
The main reason behind doing this piece was to get people
thinking about it not just to pick a side, any side, but actually to
look into it and to think about it a bit more deeply.
2000, the Iraq war, the war on terror.
# Her face is a map of the world Is a map of the world
# You can see she's a beautiful girl She's a beautiful girl. #
But out of that obsession with sport,
a strange anomaly occurred in the Scottish gene pool.
After centuries of glorious failure,
a new sporting warrior arose.
I'm the charismatic Andy Murray!
Aye, what do you want?
This is the United States Federal Reserve. Now, Scottie...
-Can I call you Scottie?
-No, you bloody cannae!
They've all grown throughout this process in confidence,
especially about the subject matter
and hopefully feel a bit more empowered to go out
and find the answers.
We ask serious questions and all we get is rubbish from the pair of you.
-How come? That's a very good question.
-We want answers.
We've given you the answers in the white paper.
Toilet paper more like!
# May he sedation shush
# He's like a torrent's rush
# Rebellious Scots to crush
# God save the Queen. #
ALL: Letters from our future self.
I hope Scotland is still a beautiful and multicultural place
that no other place in the world could imitate.
I want to live in a Scotland which supports equal rights
and can continue to flourish as a small country with big ideas.
I want to be proud to say that I am Scottish.
A vote is a letter to our future selves.
It is a promissory note about the kind of country we want to live in.
And about the price we're willing to pay to make that dream come true.
-Be clear on what you want for Scotland.
ALL: Because the future of our nation is in our hands.
# I don't know if you can see the changes that have come over me...
The depth of some of the questions that they were trying to address,
they covered such a range of stuff.
I thought it was wonderful. Really, really wonderful.
# That's the reason why I seem so far away today...
They picked a lot of different opinions across.
It was really interesting
and it makes you think twice about the independent vote.
# Caledonia, you're calling me
# Now I'm going home. #
Genuinely one of the best experiences of my life.
I've learned loads about myself and others while I've been here.
I've always been open-minded, but it made you expand.
It made me listen to a bit more from the opposite side as well.
I'm so, so proud of what we've achieved.
I don't want to be missing all my Aberdonian and my Edinburgh
and my Dundee people.
And I'm going to cry again!
We had all of these different personalities,
just bursting out and I just thought it was great to have them all
in the same room together focusing on creating a thing for Scotland.
If I was asked today, I would definitely vote yes.
-I would vote no.
-I'd vote yes.
-I'd vote no.
-I'd definitely vote yes.
-I would vote no.
-I intend to vote yes.
-I'd vote no.
-I'd vote yes.
Vote yes or no because you feel that will make Scotland a better
place for everyone to live in.
Scotland is on the cusp of change. In September 2014, the population of Scotland, including 16- and 17-year-olds for the first time, must decide whether or not they want their country to be independent. With apathy and infighting amongst the adult electorate, how is a teenager to decide? Now's the Hour follows a group of teenagers as they join Scottish Youth Theatre to create and stage a play which aims to help them prepare as they approach what could be the biggest political decision of their lives.