A GROUP of artists from a Scottish theatre are to help turn young people from India into playwrights.

Next week, writers Nicola McCartney (above) and Stef Smith and director Emma Callander will travel to Mumbai to collaborate with Indian artists on the “life changing” project, which will see 64 secondary school students performing the resulting work at the city’s Prithvi Theatre.

Class Act Mumbai is the first time that Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre has taken its flagship education project to India and is the furthest it has travelled so far in its 27-year history.

Since 1991 Class Act has worked with 80 schools and 1600 young playwrights to produce 881 plays. In addition to focusing on young people from a range of backgrounds across Edinburgh, in recent years Class Act has helped facilitate projects in Moscow and Ukraine, where they still currently run.

The Traverse, formed in 1963 to extend the enquiring, curious spirit of the Edinburgh festivals throughout the year, has launched the careers of celebrated writers such as David Greig, David Harrower and Zinnie Harris. In recent years the theatre has nurtured newer writers such as Morna Pearson, Gary McNair, Rob Drummond and Smith herself and Class Act Mumbai is part of the Traverse’s aim to continue to discover, support and advocate a range of voices, whether from Scotland or further afield.

The Traverse team will work with a selection of Indian playwrights and directors, with the intention of securing future delivery of the project by Rage Theatre Productions, which is based in Mumbai. Class Act Mumbai targets 15 to 18-year-olds from diverse backgrounds and levels of education in the city, and from private and religious schools to organisations which focus on the education of street children.

The young people will take part in playwright-led workshops and script development sessions, with the emphasis on creating plays which speak about the worlds they live in, as well as being supported as artists. Their work will be performed by professional actors before live audiences at Prithvi Theatre.

McCartney, who has worked before on the project, which is supported by the British Council, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, says: “Class Act is a project which, in my experience, changes lives for young people involved. Every time I do the project it changes mine.

“I am thrilled to be part of this team, and look forward to learning from theatre artists in Mumbai and most of all the young people we will work with together.”

Sunniva Ramsay, the Traverse’s creative producer for learning, says the young people involved in Class Act have in turn inspired the theatre’s team.

She says: “For the past 26 years, Class Act has motivated young people from Scotland, Russia and the Ukraine to explore their creative voices through creating brand new plays. Not only do these young writers create plays, but also provocations, inspiring Traverse playwrights, directors and actors with their creativity and unique perceptions of the world.”

She adds: “Working with young people from across Mumbai will be an exciting and enriching experience and we’re delighted to be working with Rage Productions to find out what the young people of Mumbai want to say, right now.”