Edinburgh Preview: 365, The Playhouse

A play that asks if there's life after care
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The Independent Culture

This year marks the third co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival. After the huge success of the company's incendiary Black Watch in 2006, they have again tackled a potent topic: children in foster care.

Although scribed by Blackbird author David Harrower, 365 will not be an exercise in gritty realism, he argues: "When I write something like Blackbird I don't start off thinking, 'Right I'm going to write a play about paedophilia.' I go in from a different, for want of a better word, a more poetic entry point."

Despite this definition, Harrower admits that 365 has a dark core to it, but says that it is tempered with more hopeful elements: "There is misery and pain," he says, "but there is also an incredible resilience and a real surviving humour."

The play focuses on a group of young people about to cross the cultural and emotional divide that separates childhood from adulthood as they turn 16. To try to adapt to adult life they are living in a practice flat, designed as a bridge between a life in care and an independent one. "It's a survival course for many of them," Harrower explains. "Some people come out strengthened by their time in care and I find that really positive, but there are many who fall by the wayside, unfortunately, who find the transition from state parenting to looking after themselves hard."

Directed by Vicky Featherstone, the company's artistic director, 365 features a young cast of predominately Scottish actors, many of whom will be making their theatrical debuts.

While many are expecting great things from the combination of a young company with a brief but excellent track record and a critically hailed playwright, Harrower says, laughing, "My only hope is that I finish the scene I'm writing now."



22 to 25 August (0131-473 2000), then transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith, London W6 (0871 221 1729), 8 to 27 September

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