The National Theatre of Scotland and The Arches
in association with Govanhill Baths Community Trust. 5th – 27th October 2012
created by Adrian Howells, in collaboration with Mike Brookes, Minty Donald, Rob Drummond, Jane Mason, Nick Millar and Nichola Scrutton. Performed by Adrian Howells and Ira Mandela Siobhan
Lifeguard was an intimate and immersive theatrical experience about human beings and their relationship to water and swimming. Taking place in the disused teaching pool of the Govanhill Baths from 5 to 27 October 2012, the audience had the opportunity to enter into a multi-sensory poolside encounter with their own ‘lifeguard’. Through the narrative of a relationship between a lifeguard and a swimmer, the audience’s complex and ambiguous relationship with water was explored. A young man, under the guidance and encouragement of an experienced, older man, was taught to overcome his fear of water and to swim. However, just when the young man might be tempted to think he’s untouchable, something happens which changes the lifeguard and swimmer’s lives irrevocably. Lifeguard was an intimate performance for a small audience with live performance by Adrian Howells (the lifeguard) and Ira Mandela Siobhan (the swimmer) ; movement and physical ‘score’ by Jane Mason; soundscape and music by Nichola Scrutton, lighting by Mike Brookes; and original film projected onto the bottom of the pool by Minty Donald and Nick Millar. The dramaturg for lifeguard was Rob Drummond. Lifeguard explored how vital and life-affirming swimming is as a life-saving, and health-promoting activity and how emotionally and psychologically ‘therapeutic’ water is. It also explored how water can be life-threatening and how much we fear it. The National Theatre of Scotland and The Arches reinstated the training pool for the purpose of this production. The production also included other swimmers, some of whom learned to swim in Govanhill Baths during the course of rehearsals.