Written and directed by Ben Harrison, the play traces not only the history of oil but also our addicted reliance on the by-products of the black gold: our cars, our aeroplanes, our plastics that surround and almost literally wrap anything we do.
Bringing together a cracking cast of seven, Crude’s actors include Grid Iron first timers: Band of Brothers and Silent Witness’ Phil McKee, Neil John Gibson, Sarah Bebe Holmes, Brad Morrison (who had worked in the oil industry before launching his acting career), Tunji Lucas (Aaron in Dundee Rep’s Titus Andronicus) as well as returning stars of previous Grid Iron productions: Itxaso Moreno (Once Upon a Dragon, Roam and Fermentation), Kirsty Stuart (Spring Awakening). Pippa Murphy joins the Crude’s creatives as the music composer, Paul Claydon as Lighting Designer with Becky Minto as set and costume designer. Lewis den Hertog follows last year’s success of Fringe First-winning Light Boxes and comes back as the video designer for Crude.
Ben Harrison, writer and director of Crude said: “’At the time of the longest continuous downturn in the history of oil production in the North Sea, it is an appropriate moment to consider Scotland and the world’s connection with and reliance on hydrocarbons. The presence of oil has been both a blessing and a curse since its discovery in the 19th century, and for Scotland it throws up huge and important issues about natural resource control and who benefits from the production of oil and gas in the North Sea. Crude centres on the lives of offshore workers and their families and the huge pressure the two weeks on two weeks off work pattern puts on family life. The deeper I have gone into the research, the more I have discovered how profoundly modern life is entwined with the story of oil- not just the stuff we put in our cars and aeroplanes, but also our plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing, food…there is very little that surrounds us and makes us comfortable that is not connected with petrochemicals. For offshore workers, there are financially attractive opportunities globally, which become more attractive the longer the downturn lasts, but these opportunities can happen in some of the most dangerous places on earth, both environmentally and politically. The show, whilst rooted in the North Sea, travels to these places also and asks moral and political questions about resource control, risk and reward, and leaving it in the ground versus continuing with our complex, oil-addicted lifestyles.”
The atmospheric Shed 36 in the Port of Dundee serves as the epitome of a set for Crude. In the past, it has homed Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Company which, trading for over a century between 1874 and 1981, had built over 500 ships. Oil tycoons such as Kestrel Marine or Davy Offshore have employed the Shed for ship and rig production over the years but the vagaries of the industry saw them going into liquidation. Since then, for a couple of years the space was used as a grain store until Rigmar moved in and yet again the Shed served as a home to oil industry.