Like Flying – National Theatre of Scotland

Creative Lead by Nic Green

Movement Direction by All or Nothing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

How we perceive our environment has a tremendous effect on our mental health. The tiny details we concern ourselves with are usually minuscule compared to the bigger picture, so could an alternative perspective improve our mental health, anxieties and expectations? How about literally soaring above the mundane and the tedious?

With no venue to call their own, National Theatre Scotland is renowned for being a ‘Theatre Without Walls’, and their latest collaboration sees them bring All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre to Craigmount High School for Like Flying. The resulting production involves the school students in a stunning aerial display. 

The ingenuity in the immersive construction is inspiring. We take an exam, play on swings, pay a visit to the science block for some experiments and end up doing some P.E. (you won’t want to forge a note to skip this lesson).

Partnering with SAMH, National Theatre Scotland provides proof of the value of space for young communities to express themselves, create and reflect. This is the sort of production many wish they could have had the chance to experience at high school. A simple act of lifting, even a few feet from the ground, does wonders – for just one second, the stresses of day-to-day life seem to be left behind. Like Flying captures that fleeting moment of elation, as we take off and our difficulties seem to sink back down into the earth.

The creative design, from National Theatre Scotland’s Artist in Residence Nic Green, focuses on reflective surfaces, creating a mirror-image world in which students can creatively express themselves and come to grips with their own mental health and lack of breathing space. The fundamental message is not to focus on who or what drags you down but on what makes you fly. It’s a challenging perspective to take, but a valuable one.

Like Flying captures the significance of art-based activities for young people’s mental health in a fascinatingly free and invigorating production.

Fascinatingly Free and Invigorating

Like Flying returns to St Thomas Aquinas RC Secondary School in Glasgow and in Northfield Academy, Aberdeen in 2023.

Review published for The Skinny in 2019

Photo Credit – Peter Dibdin

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