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Published 20 March 2017

Primary school pupils from across West Dunbartonshire are staging their own production of hit musical Divided City.

The play is based on the book by Theresa Breslin, which tells the tale of two young boys in Glasgow separated by their religious backgrounds but who come together for a common cause. With the help of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre, 13 West Dunbartonshire primary schools have teamed up for 12 separate performances of the play throughout March.  Each performance sees youngsters from denominational and neighbouring non-denominational schools working together on the production.

Pupils from St Kessog’s, Haldane and Jamestown Primaries were the first to perform the play, with afternoon and evening performances at Haldane/St Kessog’s earlier this month, this was followed by Aitkenbar and St Peter’s staging performances of Divided City at their new shared Bellsmyre Campus; St Eunan’s Primary were joined by Kilbowie Primary to host two performances of the show; Linnvale Primary was the venue for two shows by Linnvale and St Stephen’s pupils;  Edinbarnet and St Joseph’s pupils will perform two shows at Edinbarnet and Whitecrook Primary will host two performances by pupils from Whitecrook and Our Holy Redeemer.

Laura Mason, the Council’s Chief Education Officer, said: "The Divided City project is an opportunity to enhance the links which exist between our denominational and non-denominational schools, to work collaboratively and develop new friendships. Set in the context of football teams, the project focuses on pupils' rights and responsibilities and encourages them to challenge any sectarianism they may encounter in their lives. It is a remarkable way of telling what is a very important story, encouraging them to collaborate in a really meaningful way. All of the pupils involved have responded to this task with great maturity and have told the story brilliantly. I have no doubt that the parents and families who go along to see the plays will be equally impressed.”

Divided City writer Theresa Breslin was in attendance for the afternoon performance of the play at Linnvale Primary on Friday, 17 March. Theresa said: “I’ve seen the play performed many times, but each time it’s a little bit different and the children always bring something new to it. It was very emotional and I could feel myself filling up at points. When I wrote the book I never imagined there would even really be an audience for it, never mind that it would be performed by school children in so many places.”