New Scottish theatre company Pearlfisher, founded by Philip Howard, Mike Griffiths and Caitlin Skinner, launched their inaugural production Hope and Joy on Friday 25th October.

This production of Ellie Stewart’s play, in partnership with award winning Stellar Quines, will tour from Central Scotland to the Highlands and Islands.

It is on at An Lanntair, Stornoway on Friday 8 November at 8pm.

The co-production celebrates the strength of female talent in Scotland with, in addition to writer Ellie Stewart and Director Caitlin Skinner, the production features an all-female creative team with designer Becky Minto (How Not to Drown), lighting design by Emma Jones (The Lover) and Sound Design by Susan Bear, recently part of the band in What Girls Are Made Of.

The cast features Kim Gerard (Lost at Sea) and Beth Marshall (The James Plays) both of whom have worked with most of the main producing theatres and touring companies in Scotland and have appeared in award-winning productions.. Completing the cast is Ryan Havelin an emerging young actor who has appeared in Outlander and is one to watch.

Jemima Levick said: “We are beyond excited to be collaborating with Pearlfisher on their inaugural production. Our companies have a shared commitment to new work, to touring and to developing talent so it was an obvious fit for us, but particularly because the lead artists were two of Scotland’s most exciting female practitioners: Playwright Ellie Stewart and Director Caitlin Skinner. Their collective brilliance made it irresistible. 

"This is an exhilarating time for Stellar Quines.  One in which we find ourselves collaborating with the Citizens Theatre, a well known theatrical institution, and Pearlfisher, a theatrical institution in the making.  How wonderful that these two organisations are working with us, and in doing so, are sharing our vision to celebrate the value and diversity of women through the artists we work with and the stories we tell.”

Philip Howard said: “I first worked with Ellie Stewart when she was studying on the postgrad playwriting & dramaturgy degree at Glasgow University.  After she won the inaugural Tron Theatre Progressive Playwright Award for Hope and Joy in 2016, I was employed as dramaturg for their staged reading.  I suggested to Jemima Levick that Pearlfisher and Stellar Quines should join forces and grab the play while it was still available and bring it to full production.  I then went on to direct Ellie’s first produced full-length play, The Return, for Eden Court, Inverness, in 2018.  Caitlin has also worked with Ellie at both Village Pub Theatre, Leith, and Thrawn Craws, West Lothian. So all the planets have aligned perfectly for Ellie to be the writer for Pearlfisher’s first full production, and our first collaboration with Stellar Quines.

"Ellie is one of the most interesting and dedicated of the new, strong generation of women playwrights in Scotland, so it was inevitable that both Stellar Quines and Pearlfisher would want to work with her.  Her plays have a unique combination of strong, female-centred stories, anarchic humour (and often hilarity) and an unexpected dose of grit too.”

Details of all the venues and ticket information is available from hopeandjoyplay.co.uk. This production is backed by Creative Scotland with support from Cumbernauld Theatre.

Stellar Quines is an award winning Scottish theatre company led by Artistic Director Jemima Levick, that celebrates the value and diversity of women and girls by making brilliant theatre, provoking change, nurturing artists and empowering participation. The company has been touring world-class theatre to excite and inspire audiences across Scotland and beyond for over 26 years.