Friendship is what comes first in a village ‘Divided’

Campbell and Carly from the Citizens Theatre visited the two schools to help them prepare for the production.
Campbell and Carly from the Citizens Theatre visited the two schools to help them prepare for the production.

Friendship was the name of the game as pupils of Mossend Primary and Holy Family Primary joined forces to send out the message against sectarianism and racism.

The Primary 7 pupils starred in a stage production of Divided City, based on the book of the same name by Theresa Breslin.

The pupils from the Mossend schools were pioneers for an initiative supported by the Scottish Government and North Lanarkshire Council and involved working with the Citizens Theatre.

Some 44 schools from North Lanarkshire will be involved in the ongoing project and Holy Family and Mossend Primaries set the scene as the first schools to take to the stage.

Teachers Gillian Gallagher of Holy Family and Aileen Mullen from Mossend were at the forefront of the initiative for their schools.

Citizens Theatre personnel visited each Thursday working with the pupils at 
each of the schools on 
alternate Thursdays.

The pupils became passionate about the need to stamp out sectarianism and their presentations were appreciated by the audiences at each of their three performances.

Author Theresa Breslin attended the production and was very impressed by the drama production of her book.

The story tells about Rangers supporter Graham and Celtic supporter Joe who become friends, amid the marching season. The boys are more interested in being friends and play football than bigotry.

More than 60 youngsters from the two schools took to the stage, with each providing a Joe and Graham for a half each, along with the two teachers who were possibly more excited than their pupils.

Gillian played a Barras DVD seller, and Aileen was in the character of an angry woman. They were joined by Citizens Theatre professionals Campbell Lawrie and Carly McCaig.

Gillian said: “This has been an excellent project and there is no doubt that friendships have been formed among the pupils of the two schools.

“Parents were proud of the children and the message will live on in the area.

“Aileen Mullen and myself couldn’t be more proud of our pupils and how they embraced this theme and the 
weekly working sessions 
on the production.

“The response has been so positive, you only have to look at our Twitter page to see the positive comments.”

The friendship between the pupils of the schools is 
carrying on with pupils meeting up and sharing lunch times and attending local events together.

For more pictures see March 28 edition of Times & Speaker.