Crossbow Performing Arts workshops are led by Crossbow Directors Ed and Elayne Steel. Both, quite apart from being professionally trained Drama Teachers, have huge experience of working in professional theatre and spearheading many disparate, exciting and vastly diverse arts projects throughout Scotland. Ed and Elayne met at Dundee Repertory Theatre where Ed was employed by the then Artistic Director, Robert Robertson (probably most famous for his role as the pathologist working alongside Mark McManus in Taggart) as one of the Rep’s two Community Drama Directors. Ed worked in this full time role for Dundee Rep for four years whilst being involved in many substantial ground - breaking projects and directing several of the large scale community productions that Dundee is famous for. Prior to his arrival in Dundee, Ed had worked extensively at The MacRobert Arts Centre at Stirling University, where he completed his first degree and subsequently worked at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, The Edinburgh Theatre Playhouse, Edinburgh Theatre Workshop, BBC and STV. In the initial stages of gaining his Equity card, Ed illustrated a particular passion for working with individuals with learning disabilities and worked extensively with the famous Edinburgh based, ‘Lung Has Theatre Company’. His work here set the benchmark for one of his particular areas of interest and later led to him co - founding with Elayne Steel - ‘Secret Theatre’ - a ten year project of theatre inclusion within the Scottish Performing Arts. He has worked for many local authority education departments and 5 years ago left full time teaching to set up Crossbow and become the modern ‘house dad’ for his children. He holds a full equity card and is fully registered to teach both secondary music and drama with the General Teaching Council. Ed says, “The XYT workshops are going from strength to strength... we are out to ensure that this is a place that all kids can have fun, learn & develop performing arts skills and meet friends.... Aberdeenshire is a fantastic place to live and the Laurencekirk community is highly supportive. Without the support of Aberdeenshire Council we wouldn't be able to provide this service for these kids. "
Elayne McMaster (later Steel), joined Dundee Repertory Adult Community Theatre in the early nineties and initially acted in “The Dundee Mystery” - a colossus involving 500 Dundonians, co-ordinated by Cliff Burnett (an outstanding contemporary actor who famously acted alongside Mickey Rourke and Bob Hoskins in “A Prayer for The Dying”). Ed was hugely involved in co - directing ‘The Mystery’ and as a result, this was where he and Elayne first met. Elayne, not long after becoming involved at the Rep also began her undergraduate career at Dundee University, but as a result of her battle with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, and having to have major operations on both arms and legs, became severely wheelchair bound. The University being next door to the Rep, Elayne was a very well known face in the theatre in those days, not only for her theatre work but for her demonstration of how unsuitable the Rep was, at that time, for people in wheelchairs! Elayne acted in many, many of the productions there and started writing her own plays whilst sharing Ed’s interest in the importance of the inclusion agenda within the Performing Arts. On the road to graduating with joint honours in English and Psychology, Elayne became more and more embroiled in educational theatre and prior to undertaking her Post Graduate Masters Degree in Psychology, trained as a Drama Teacher at Heriot Watt University. She then worked in the Drama Department at Bell Baxter High School in Cupar, before setting up her own hugely successful drama department in Craigie High School in Dundee. Whilst involved in teaching, Elayne co-founded “Secret Theatre” with Ed and wrote, adapted, directed and acted in several large scale productions which were performed at the Dundee and Edinburgh Festivals. Elayne, eventually, left full time Drama Teaching to embark upon a career as an Educational Psychologist and is now studying for her PhD at Dundee University (touch wood - minus the wheelchair!) Elayne says, “ ... Laurencekirk has a fantastic community feel... people are really friendly here.... I enjoy my work as a drama practitioner at Crossbow ... the kids are hugely energetic and talented....a real accolade for the community....”
XYT THEATRE WORKSHOPS VENUE
ST. LAURENCE HALL, LAURENCEKIRK
EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT.
MINI XYT : P1 - P3 - 4.00 - 5.30pm. St. Laurence Hall, Laurencekirk.
JUNIOR XYT : P4 - P7 - 5.30 - 7.00pm. St. Laurence Hall, Laurencekirk.
SENIOR XYT : S1 - S6 - 7.30 - 9.00pm. St. Laurence Hall, Laurencekirk.
TO BOOK A PLACE OR FIND OUT MORE GIVE US A CALL AT THE CROSSBOW
OFFICE ON 01561 298125 / 07799724454.