Friday, 16 August 2013

'Sanctuary': a very personal play

FOUNDER of Edinburgh's Black Dingo Productions David McFarlane has brought his new, personal play Sanctuary to just festival. Here he tells us how he came to write it.

'Write what you know'. Probably the most over-quoted line by new writers, and one I took to heart at college.

I started writing Sanctuary there in a scriptwriting class. I needed a story, so I looked to my own life and this was the only story that I wanted to tell.

Sanctuary is a truly personal tale and one I found hard to revisit. I was in a relationship that was destined to fail - young love mixed with unachievable expectations. The relationship lasted longer than it should have because of one traumatic event.

Abortion. The subject is chronically divisive, splitting countries, social groups and households alike.

My first draft was a faithful retelling of events, which was raw and very emotionally-charged. After a number of readings, I refined it. It then got put in a drawer until I was ready for it to be shown to the world.

Its first run earlier this year was successful, but I felt there was more to the story so went back with the intention of redrafting it. I worked with the actors to workshop the piece, helping to build some further layers into it. I wanted to really get across the male perspective on abortion and tell that side of the story, as well as asking some difficult questions.

Janet - Cara Wicks
Michael - Rob David

Just Festival at St John's Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ (Fringe venue 127)

Two more performances:14 & 16 August 2013 10pm (1hr) £8 / £6 Advance tickets:

Black Dingo Productions is a not-for-profit organisation with a DIY ethic, established to help the development of grassroots and off the beaten track theatre in Edinburgh. It aims to keep the city's stages thriving year-round.

For more information on Black Dingo Productions, including how to invest in local theatre, visit

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