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2000-2019: The New Century... Onwards and upwards

The year 2000 saw lots of readings to keep club members occupied, but no productions. However, the following year, we re-established an annual schedule of performances; the One Act Festival in February and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. But we were still seeking that elusive Fringe box office formula. Then, for the 2002 Fringe, we came up with the idea of staging a drama-documentary style presentation on the life of Sir Walter Scott, featuring extracts from his novels, titled The Wizard of the North. We performed in period costume; the ladies' dresses designed and made by our own May Kelly (see left). The result was a very well received production that made our first ever profit on the Fringe. At last we had that formula. The next year, Tusitala - Teller of Tales, on the life of Robert Louis Stevenson did even better, and in 2004, the magic of Jane Austen gave us a one week sell-out. Other writers featured in this decade were Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and J.M. Barrie. We also accepted many invitations by different organisations to present these shows, often for charitable causes.

The 2002 and 2003 Edinburgh Military Tattoos again featured appearances by SCDA members, including several Mercators.

In the SCDA One Act Festival, despite competing against clubs with their own premises and larger memberships, we continued to punch above our weight. Third places in 2002 and 2006, best staging in 2005, and three trophies including first place in 2004 with the The Café by Neville Watchurst, directed by John Kelly. The Café was one of those plays that seemed absolutely right for us. We progressed to the Divisional round to gain second place, our highest ever placing at that level, and as a result, reached the National Finals for the first time in the club's history to appear at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness. One of our favourite lines from that play was "Onwards and upwards" which we seem to have adopted as an unofficial club motto.

We continued to première original plays by our own writers; Two Wits to Woo by John Kelly at the last Arran Dramafest in 2001 and The Worst Day of My Life by Alan Richardson at the 2006 SCDA One Act Festival. 2006 was also marked by a 70th anniversary function attended by members, present and past, friends and supporters. The decade was rounded off by a Fringe tribute to three writers - the Brontës.

2002 - Costume design by May Kelly for "The Wizard of the North"

2010-2019: The Twenty-Tens…  Recycled teenagers rock!

Our tributes to famous writers continued into the new decade with a tribute to W.S. Gilbert and a 200th birthday celebration for Charles Dickens. In the autumn of 2012, we celebrated two anniversaries - the 75th anniversary of the club's first stage production and the 30th anniversary of our first venture into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We also participated in a a new venture - the annual Killin Komedy Festival. With the bulk of our membership being well into free bus pass age category, we carefully choose scripts to suit and support the SCDA One Act Festival, where we are affectionately known as the recycled teenagers. We continue to première original plays. Our 2016 one act entry was Bright Lights by Alan Richardson (the webmaster of this site) and we staged a revival of John Kelly’s tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle for the 2016 Fringe and celebrated our 80th Anniversary. However, at an Extraordinary General Meeting in November 2017, we made the decision (due to a reducing and ageing membership) to temporarily suspend our onstage activities. The Mercators have continued on a social basis and although we have been unable to compete in the SCDA One Act Festival, we have continued to provide non-acting support. We have also continued to support the Killin Komedy Festival with shorter than the average one act plays and/or sketches.

2013 SCDA One Act Festival - "Cupboard Love" by Jean McConnell 2006 - Cast of "The Café"

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