A Shift in the Forest Factory, South West Glasgow
If you come to the St Andrew Penilee Parish Church this week, you will become a probationary worker at the Forest Factory. You will accompany the longest serving worker, Willie, on his last day at work before retirement.
After collecting a high vis jacket which assigns each member to a work clerk, the newest members sort through the junkyard to find tin, read stories and glance over pictures from the past and the present. The Rag and Bone Man and his young trainees assist with the collection of junk and the swapping of jokes.
Jenny Hillington, the boss of the factory, soon appears to brief you on your first day of work.
Then you begin your shift. Inside the factory is a labyrinth of five minute experiential ‘work shifts.’ In each room the audience encounters a different individual from the narrative of the South West and from the local community.
The audience helps sift through the past and decide what to keep as they look to the future. They help Sheena and Margaret sort through old photos, help Willie find a missing bolt for his spitfires, and assist Jenny Hillington in the delivery of Willie’s retirement speech. On the way, there’s some cosy storytelling, a beautiful choir and a glimpse into Jenny’s past and the past of Penilee.
The Rag and Bone Man and Jenny Hillington have a delightful surprise waiting for Willie at the end of his shift in the main hall. It involves a lot of singing, dancing, revelry and a healthy portion of cake and sandwiches.
It might be work but as Willie exclaims, ‘you’ve got nothing if you’ve got nothing to do.’
The Tin Forest Southwest centres around what it means to work, what Penilee has meant in the past, what it means to people now and what it will continue to mean in the future. As the stage is lit up for three nights of music and dancing, St Andrew Penilee Parish Church becomes the hub of the community once again.
The Tin Forest Southwest continues on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th June at 5pm and 8pm. Click here to get tickets and find out more.
Photography by Peter Sandground