Group shot of Boys Brigade 2008
© Wendy McMurdo

The Boys' Brigade (9th Glasgow Company, Pollokshaws Parish Church). This was for the Commemoration Service which took place at David Livingstone Centre, marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade.

The boys, aged 10 years upwards, were from many parts of the world including Afghanistan, Algeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Turkey, Uganda and Zimbabwe. For several, English was their second language.

Each scene was mimed, with action freezing for a few moments to create tableaux. (The boys then walked back to the side of the stage until the next scene took place.) Each scene was introduced by a narrator (one of the boys). This method creates very strong images.

Running Order:

  1. Announcer: Introduction – Scotland and the slave trade.
  2. Groups of slaves, slave driver, on plantation.
  3. Announcer: But what happened before this?
  4. Captain, 1st Mate, Sailor. Bartering for the capture of slaves.
  5. Father, Son and Slave traders. Father warns son of danger, son playing outside, son captured, father tries to save him and is also captured.
  6. Enslaved people put on ship
  7. Captain, Sailors, Slaves. The conditions below.
  8. Slave Auction. Silent auction, father and son sold and separated.
  9. Master/Slave. Punishment. Slave asking for mercy, then silent.
  10. Plantation.
  11. Announcer: But after a long campaign, the British slave trade was abolished in 1807, and slavery in 1833. So what about today. No slaves today – surely?
  12. Newsroom Reporter: standing in modern TV studios giving report - about slavery in the past and now. Boys form groups (freeze frame) – they become images within the film footage, as Announcer refers to them.

And finally:

Announcer: There are over 12.5 million slaves in the world today. Has anything really changed?

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