A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans, written by Chris Tait, produced by Lisa Nicoll

A Fantasy Fictional Audio Drama released 1st June 22

Cartoon landscape with fictional fantasy figures

A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans

Listen now to the full production free of charge (suitable for over 14s).

00:00 / 42:51

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Chris Tait

Interview With The Author

Producer Lisa Nicol in conversation with the author Chris Tait.

00:00 / 21:40

An independent production, funded by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and initially developed with The Tron Theatre and In Motion Theatre.

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A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans written by Chris Tait and produced by Lisa Nicoll.

A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans is a one-off fantasy drama which is inspired by writer Chris Tait’s experience of being autistic and feeling excluded from society and her view on the world told from the perspective of struggling fantasy fairy book characters.

Produced and directed by Lisa Nicoll of In Motion Theatre, the drama features Scottish talent from the Dundee, Angus & Perth area including Susan Coyle (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Leanne Traynor (Oor Wullie, Dundee Rep), Martin MacLennan, Lewis Winter Petrie (Perth Theatre, Cinderella) and introduces upcoming graduate from Dundee and Angus BA in Acting Jack Mailer.

The Writer

Chris Tait, a poet, playwright, fantasy writer and spoken word artist from Shetland has been developing this idea for the last two years during lockdown.

 

Inspired by her lead character from her graphic novels, Chris wanted people to understand what it means to be autistic and navigate your way through the world. After only being diagnosed with autism in her thirties Chris wanted to share parts of her life story about what it feels like to always be the underdog and also how you can turn these negatives into positives.

 

Being from Shetland Chris felt it was important to represent Shetland in the fictional island of Shenanigans through the characteristics of the people, the weather, the industries - including crofting and fishing and the culture of the storytelling passed down from Norse legends and landscapes.

The Story

Although A Toon Built App Shenanigans isn't written in Shetlandic, it is still full of sound and rhythm in the words from the Shetland dialect. This theme is enforced with music that has been composed for the drama by previous “Young Traditional Fiddler of the Year” Chyan Davidson.

 

A Toon Build Apo Shenanigans is a story for anyone over the age of 14 and follows The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker who go on a journey in a gravy boat to try and find a better life and to get away from a place where they always feel they are being judged.

 

After reading a sacred book about mystical creature Diablo who escaped to find a better life, they sail across the north sea hoping to find opportunities in new lands, but when they reach the destination of A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans they befriend gatekeeper Pinocchio and are led into more dilemmas and again have a real struggle to be accepted and understood.

Origins

A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans started when Chris worked with Producer Lisa Nicoll during the early stages of lockdown in April 2020 when Lisa worked with writers to create monologues which dealt with the stigma attached to mental health with charity See Me Scotland, who tackle sigma around mental health.

 

After Chris’s monologue ‘Diablo in Blunderland’ had been performed online by Karen Bartke of BBC’s Scot Squad Chris began working on a fifteen minute script with more characters which was then read and recorded by actors at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow as an audio piece.

 

The journey then continued between Chris and Lisa in June 2021 when Chris took part in In Motion Theatre’s One Act Play workshops and they began to develop further A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans. Once a draft had been completed of this script Lisa mentored Chris to write an application for Creative Scotland and funding was secured in March 2022 to develop and record the audio drama.

Development

As producer and director Lisa Nicoll is from (and is now based again) in the Dundee and Angus area the project had a focus on developing and recording the piece there. The aim of this was to create work that is often only available in the central belt.

 

Support was given from Dibble Tree Theatre in Carnoustie where the recording and development took place and a team of actors and creatives were brought together from the area including sound technician Dan Faichney from Arbroath, photographer and videographer Cara Pirie from Dundee, upcoming graduates from Dundee and Angus College Carley Mackie and Jack Mailer and illustrator Vanessa Cittadino based in Carnoustie.

 

Finance was secured within the funding for Chris to base herself during the development and recording of the process in Carnoustie which added to her creative journey and gave her time, space and perspective to write.

"I have felt like a magician from the creation of the text, the auditions, editing, reading, rehearsals and recording where my work has flourished. Each of the creatives involved has made such a wonderful contribution to the production.” 

Chris Tait - Writer

“Chris is one of the most amazing writers I have worked with. Her imagination is extraordinary and she has a way of connecting with creatives and audiences which is honest, truthful, fantastical and fun whilst still making you think.”

 

“Being able to create and work with artists in the east coast area of Dundee, Angus and Perth is showing us how work can be made all over and opportunities can be created and talent discovered and nurtured. It also allows us to hear other voices that are often under- represented”

Lisa Nicoll - Producer

“It has been an absolute delight to work on A Toon Built Apo Shenanigans. Chris Tait’s writing is so magical and moving, it’s a joy for all ages to listen to. The story is captivating, and the characters go on such a relatable journey for any modern-day audience.”

Leanne Traynor - Actor

“It’s a unique and imaginative piece about adventure, acceptance and belonging. Such a heartfelt and enjoyable piece to work on with an innovative writer and the warmest and most wonderful director, cast and crew”

Lewis Winter Petrie - Actor

“Chris’s work is so unique and gives a true insight into her experiences and understanding of life and the world around her. It was pure joy bringing this story to life and working with such lovely people”

Susan Coyle - Actor

In Motion Theatre are pleased to provide support for independent projects, giving them a platform for their work.