Evening Times Streets Ahead: Awards celebrate Streets Ahead stars

You might have seen the Eco Drama ‘Magic Van’, scooting around the city on nothing but recycled chip oil.

If your child’s school has an apple tree in its playground, there’s a good chance it was this amazing environmental theatre group who put it there.

For Emily Reid, founder of Eco Drama, winning a Streets Ahead award last year was a fantastic boost for the hard-working group.

“It was really special,” she smiles. “The feedback we got afterwards was fantastic – being part of Streets Ahead really helped to raise our profile.”

Eco Drama triumphed in the Best Environmental Initiative category, thanks to its inspirational touring theatre performance Out to Play, which involved 300 children in four primary schools, who created their own ‘living stage’, a recyclable, biodegradable and edible theatre set created from locally found reclaimed materials.

At the end of the tour – carried around in The Magic Van, Eco-Drama’s biodiesel vehicle run on reclaimed vegetable oil – the ‘living stage’ was planted in Corpus Christi Primary School’s playground, transforming a steel-fenced concrete area into a unique garden and play space for the pupils.


Since then, the group – set up by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate Emily in 2007 – has had a busy year, working with 27 schools in Renfrewshire on its food waste and recycling projects, The Forgotten Orchard and The Worm Inspectors.

“The response was fantastic – we planted apple trees, recorded a huge change in attitudes to recycling and delivered wormeries and kitchen caddies to nurseries and schools,” says Emily. “The wormeries were a big hit – one wee boy said he now had 1000 worms as pets!”

The group’s next project will revisit Out to Play and this time, schools and nurseries will be helping to create a giant willow nest, which will be given to one lucky school as a drama and storytelling space at the end.

It’s a production called The Whirly Bird – an ‘ecological, ugly-duckling-kind-of-story,’ says Emily.

“It’s about finding inspiration in nature, the wonder of light, celebration of difference,” she adds.

“Over the 10 years since I set up Eco Drama, attitudes really have changed – more schools are really pushing for Green Flag status, there’s much higher carbon literacy, teachers know what they are talking about and kids are excited about the environment.

“It feels like environmental education is no longer a novelty add-on – it’s here to stay and hopefully, it will only grow.”

She pauses. “It’s not a question of whether the Earth needs our help any more – we know it just does.”

Emily is urging Evening Times readers to nominate their local groups for the Streets Ahead Awards.

“It was lovely for us to be recognised in our home city, but it was also a massive eye-opener as we learned just how much amazing work is being done around Glasgow,” she says.


“Streets Ahead helps you to be part of something bigger, and understand you’re doing something for the greater good which is really important in today’s world. Thank goodness for the Streets Ahead awards.”

Send us your stories and your photographs, and as much information as possible about your project, in time for the closing date of May 3.

To nominate yourself or someone else, visit the dedicated awards website at newsquestscotlandevents.com/streetsahead

You can also email lyndsay.wilson@heraldandtimes.co.uk or call 0141 302 7407.

We will be awarding eight prizes, including an overall winner to be announced at a special ceremony on Thursday, June 15.

There will be trophies for the best garden, best clean-up campaign, best environmental initiative, best community garden, best community initiative and best business initiative, plus a schools award.

The best garden prize will be presented to the best residential garden. We are looking for gardens which are attractive and well-kept, which improve the appearance of the local area.

The clean-up campaign category celebrates the best clean-up initiatives taking place across the city.

We want to hear from people who have come together to tidy up their local area, whether it’s a street, gardens, allotments or even a park.

The Best Environmental Initiative Award will be presented to city’s best ‘green’ project, whether it’s a recycling scheme, a road safety initiative or something completely different, while for the best community garden category, we will be looking for gardens which are used by the whole community.

The winner of the best community initiative category will be an exceptional example of a project which encourages people to work together, which has gone the extra mile to make a real difference to people’s lives.

The Green Glasgow Business Award will be presented to the company, large or small, which has played its part in keeping Glasgow clean and green and the schools award will be presented to a nursery, primary, second or assisted support for learning school which can demonstrate what contribution it has made to its local community.

The overall winner will be chosen from the winners of all the other categories.

Evening Times Editor Graham Shields said: “For the sixth year in a row, people from across Glasgow have joined in our Streets Ahead campaign with gusto.

“We have already supported some excellent projects across the city and now it is time to reward them at our annual celebration.

He added: “We are all looking forward to receiving nominations for each category and to welcoming the finalists to the awards night on June 15.”