Sunday, 29 June 2014

Research participants wanted from Scotland

Are you from a family where parents are from two different ethnic groups?

University of Glasgow

Mengxi Pang is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Glasgow who is conducting a research project exploring mixed identities in Scotland. 

A recent study shows that one in every six households of two or more people in Scotland are of mixed ethnicities. There is however little information about the experiences of ‘mixed’ people and their families. She is keen on listening to your everyday experiences of being mixed or being a member of a ‘mixed-race’ family. If you consider yourself as a mixed individual aged over 18 growing up in Scotland, or the parent(s) of mixed children and currently living in Scotland, and are interested in taking part in the study, or simply want to know more about it, please get in touch for more information. She is also interested in interviewing ‘mixed-race’ families living in Scotland, including parent(s) and adult children over 18 years old.

The research will be conducted in the form of face-to-face interviews, lasting about one hour. All information will be treated confidentially and personal information anonymised. She is happy to answer any questions if you would like to know more! Contact Email:

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Casting Call: Lass Productions “OTHELLO”

Lass Productions is casting for a new production of Othello to be staged at Gullivers new 80 capacity studio in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on late September.

About Lass Productions
Lass Productions is one of Manchester’s best loved fringe theatre companies. Since our first production, Rising Damp in October 2011 we have delivered an exciting blend of revivals, new writing and near impossible shows that have been delivered with our trademark flair and invention.  Previous Lass Productions have included Coronation Street 1968 and 1977, V for Vendetta, Hot Fat, Russell T Davies’ Midnight, Alan Moore’s Ballad of Halo Jones, Big Sid, New Dawn Fades, the Wine of India, Suspended in Space and Rotten Apples.

We won the 2013 Manchester Theatre Award for THE BEST (Best Fringe Production) and had two of the five nominations for Best Actor in the 2013 Fringe Actor categories.  This is our first new show since leaving the Lass and winning the MTA.

About Our Othello
Using the original text, our production of Othello will be set in and around Venezia FC. By setting the play in a football club, which has never been done we believe we can refresh and re-examine the themes of jealousy, reputation and ambition that remain as true today as they were 450 years ago.
We see Othello as the first black manager of the club, Iago the seasoned centre back passed over for the captaincy in favour of new foreign signing Cassio. Rodrigo is the young striker hungry for fame and adoration, Brabantio the Chairman of the club and Desdemona his sheltered, privately educated daughter.  Rounding off the cast is Emila, the Club’s physio and Bianca, a wannabe WAG in love with Cassio.

We are casting for the following roles (all other roles taken);

OTHELLO – Male, playing age 30-45. Manager and ex-club captain.  Noble, arrogant, insecure. Good physical stature. Black/Asian/Mixed Race actor sought.
IAGO – Male, playing age 30-40. Long serving centre back at Venezia FC and ‘beating heart’ of the club.  Think John Terry. Evil, deceptive, manipulative. Arguably Shakespeare’s most complex villain and the fulcrum of the plot and all characters in the piece.
RODRIGO – Male 18-24, good physical condition (has to pass as a footballer). Young, cocksure yet naive. Under the spell of Iago.
MONTANO – Male 30-50. Othello’s predecessor. Noble, competent. A man of stature.

Do you want to know more?

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Belle, A Film That Makes You Think

Belle  is a 2013 British drama film directed by Amma Asante, written by Misan Sagay, and produced by Damian Jones. It stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw .  It was released in UK on Friday 13th June............ It certainly made me think- Oh and I also shed a tear or too!   This article is written by 

Dido Belle painting
Painting of Lady Elizabeth Murray and Dido Belle, 1779.
 Photograph: Courtesy of the Earl of Mansfield / Scone Palace
Twentieth Century Fox and The Damaris Trust held a private exclusive screening of the inspiring film Belle at Fox Headquarters. Belle, a film inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral, is a perfect example of a film stimulating thoughts and discussions on the world.

Prior to the screening, Nick Pollard, Founder of The Damaris Trust, spoke about the charity, and why he and his wife Carol decided to set it up 14 years ago. The Damaris Trust works in partnership with film companies to produce community education resources related to contemporary films. Nick and Carol saw community groups were trying to change people’s lives, and recognised that films could be an excellent tool to do just that. Nick said, “Films can stimulate people to see different perspectives, and can lead to people questioning what they can do to help change other people’s lives”.

Belle - screening with Damaris Trust
Nick Pollard, Founder of The Damaris Trust, speaking at the pre-screening of Belle

The film takes us to life in 18th-century Britain, where Dido is brought up in Kenwood House, Hampstead, alongside her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray, whose mother had died. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Dido’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the colour of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing.

Belle, film preview by The Damaris Trust
                                                                             Kenwood House, Hampstead 
                                                           Photograph: Courtesy of English Heritage / Charles Hosea

Dido is generally treated as a member of the family, and the affection her family has for her is clear to see. However, despite their affection for Dido, Lord Mansfield and his wife consider how others in society will view her, and she is treated differently because of this. Dido’s odd status in their world is difficult to watch at times. “I am too high to eat with the servants, too low to join you at dinner,” Dido, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, tells the Earl of Mansfield.

Her cousin Elizabeth is white but poor; she doesn’t have the inheritance that Dido is privileged with. During the film we see how complicated life can be. Elizabeth is the ‘right’ colour and class, but without an inheritance her chances of marriage are very low. On the other hand, Dido has an inheritance as her father acknowledged her as his daughter. The inheritance gives Dido independence, yet due to her colour her prospects of marriage are also slim.

In the film Dido falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
The film considers a range of themes, including racism, sexism, and classism. These can lead to the viewer considering and discussing society, whether things have changed much since the 18th century, and what they would like to change in the world.

The Damaris Trust is currently using film to work with young people through The Scouts and with older people through Age UK, and are looking to start intergenerational projects in the future.

For more information about The Damaris Trust please visit:

‘Dido Belle – her story’ exhibition is running until the 31st October at Scone Palace. Please visit: for more information.

A selection of Dido souvenirs is available from the Scone Palace online shop: