Today there was a defining moment in Scottish Theatrical history. At 5pm today, the curtain came down on the final ever show the Singing Kettle will ever have. This, for me, is a sad sad day indeed.
The Singing Kettle formed in the 1980s when husband and wife Artie and Cilla started preforming their folk tunes to kids. Joined soon by Gary Coupland who provided the music. With the ‘classic’ line up was established, they entertained a generations of kids. Literally – those who went to the first shows in the 80s then took their own kids to seem them in the early 2000’s. They were, and still are, a much loved Scottish tradition.
Artie and Cilla’s daughter, Jane, was a ‘4th member’ for a time but soon left to pursue other artistic endeavours. In turn, the long-time backstage member, Kevin joined the main troupe. However, the end has since been in sight for a long time. Artie and Cilla retired from preforming in 2012 and, while they stayed on behind the scenes, it was only going to end one way. Anya stepped in to make the group a trio once again – and I saw a the final line-up a few years ago when I took a friends niece and nephew to the show. It was as fun and colourful as it ever had been, with the kids joining in. I am genuinely sad that the Singing Kettle is no more.
The current cast of Kevin, Anya and Gary (who is still there from the start) are starting up a very kettle-esque venture called ‘Funbox‘ that I hope I can one day take my future kids (if they appear) to. It is, with no doubt, the only true spiritual successor to the Singing Kettle and its traditions. but still, I am sad.
I am sad, most of all, that that occasion has passed with little comment or marking. In the grand scheme of things, little will change, but in Scotland’s rich and proud tradition of theatre, especially for children – this is a sad time. It is akin to the Glasgow Kings not having a pantomime. This sounds like an exaggeration – but it’s really not. The Singing Kettle have sold more tickets at the SECC than any other act ever. Stuff your One Directions and your 5 Second of Summers.
And setting that aside they made several series on both the BBC and STV which captured the fun and interaction. You can’t beat an army of kids. Especially when they have a battle cry!