WAC Ensemble member Chloe talks about Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?

Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?, by Martin Travers is the first production by the WAC Ensemble, the Citizens Theatre's care experienced theatre company

Set in 1978 with unemployment and violence rife in Glasgow, the play follows the journey of seminal Scottish punk band, The Jaggy Nettles who, despite having fame within their reach, are starting to crumble. 

Photo of a girl in punk make up wearing a red blazer
WAC Ensemble member Chloe. Credit Jassy Earl

WAC Ensemble member Chloe has been working with the Citizens Theatre for the past year, and is looking forward to taking to the stage at Scottish Youth Theatre from 12 - 15 February 2020. 

We spoke to her about the play, and her experience so far of being in the ensemble.
A band made up of five young people in a rehearsal room.
Chloe (singer on left) with other members of the WAC Ensemble rehearsing Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles? Credit Alex Brady

I just love this play. It’s totally different to anything I’ve done before. It’s great to do a Scottish play, a Glaswegian play. Even though there are sad parts, there are highs and at the core it’s sweet. The relationships within the show are really pure. The band have become a family.  It’s really nice to be in a play where there are real feelings and real relationships.

Asked if this mirrors the WAC Ensemble, Chloe agrees:

We have become our own little family. Right at the start we all bonded really quickly and I think that shows throughout the play. 

This is the most serious acting I’ve ever done. Guy [Hollands, Associate Director Citizens Learning and Director of Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?] really expects a lot of us and that’s a good thing - he can see all the potential we have. It’s really good to work with all the professionals because it’s a great taste of the industry to see what it’s like. A lot of the theatre stuff I’ve done in the past is just to an invited audience but this is open to the public, it’s in a really great theatre. It’s terrifying but it’s exciting. We are trusted and seen as proper actors.

Photo of a group of young people in a rehearsal room, they all look excited.
Chloe (bottom right) in rehearsal with other members of WAC Ensemble. Credit Alex Brady

Asked about what makes WAC different to other groups or projects she has been part of in the past, Chloe explains:

Being care experienced doesn’t really matter here. It’s not what the focus is on. It’s about the theatre. We just happen to be a group of people who are care experienced. We don’t all sit around in a circle and talk about our pasts. Coming into this and having that commonality with someone does help break the ice a little because if you’re a bit awkward you can just be like ‘so we were both in care!’. 

People have this perception of people who are care experienced as always being involved with the police or always out to wreak havoc. People still think we are these terrors but what’s really great about WAC and about the Citizens is how seriously they take us as professionals.

Photo of a group of young people walking down an industrial looking street. They are wearing punk inspired outfits.
Chloe (centre, red jacket) with other members of the WAC Ensemble in character as The Jaggy Nettles. Credit Jassy Earl.

What’s been the best thing about being part of the WAC Ensemble and creating the show?

It has relit my passion for acting. It’s made me look and realise there are different ways to do plays. It doesn’t have to be just straight. I think the taster sessions we got to do opened up the experimental side of me. It made me feel freer. I’ve realised where I can take myself. People have seen potential in me.

And finally. Asked to describe the Jaggy Nettles in three word, Chloe answered:

Explosive. Passionate. Talented.

Scotland’s first Care Experienced theatre ensemble offers a positive, supportive and empowering space for young adults aged 18-26 to explore and learn about all aspects of a professional theatre, develop their creative talents, and tell the stories that are important to them.

The WAC Ensemble has been created in partnership with CELCIS - the centre for excellence for children's care and protection and Arts in the City