THIS week Advertiser columnist Ruth Wishart looks forward to a Scottish tour of a new play about Faslane, which starts in Cove next weekend.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

WHEN she started out, her knowledge was more than a little on the vague side.

Jenna Watt had aunts, uncles and cousins working at Faslane, both as submariners and on the base.

But, on her own admission, the actor who is bringing the award-winning play of that name to Cove Burgh Hall on the 18th of this month, hadn’t really given much thought as to what they did.

Neither had she inquired to any great degree why some of her friends from the arts world were simultaneously protesting at the naval base’s gates.

But when she did begin to examine both sides of something which is the subject of fierce and long running debate, she began to understand what she calls “the sheer enormity of the issues, involved, and the huge complexity of it all".

So began a period of research and writing where she talked to people who had spent a large part of their lives working at Faslane, and others who had given up normal life to live at the peace camp near one of its entrances.

Then came a residency at Cove Park where she began to write and structure 'Faslane', the play which premiered in Edinburgh last summer and garnered both a Fringe First and the Summerhall venue’s inaugural Lustrum Award.

The play, she emphasises, is absolutely not about telling people what they should think.

“What I’ve tried to do is take the audience with me on my own journey through all the arguments on both sides," Jenna says.

"But there’s nothing clear cut about the conclusion they should come to do: I just want to give them the information to let them think it all through for themselves.”

She says it feels really special to have the official first night at Cove Burgh Hall in an area where the play was written and researched and just round the corner from the base which provided the original inspiration.

In fact she was showing Faslane to tour company friends from the viewing point above the base one day when they saw a Trident submarine.

“So we raced round the road and when we found it in Loch Long I leapt into the water for the publicity shot for our posters," she says. "It was really lucky.”

She claims too it was a beautiful day sunny and the water wasn’t at all cold. Hmmm.

The 'Faslane' tour will premiere at Cove Burgh Hall on Saturday, March 18. Doors open 7.15pm and performance at 8pm.