Join Our Flock for Burdies Folk Play

Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS) are on a mission to rejuvenate midwinter traditions in Scotland with seasonal folk dramas, to enrich community life and ensure all ages can get involved over the coldest of seasons, connecting the old and new through song and dance, signifying the death and rebirth of a new year.

Stan Reeves

The Burdies‘ (29 & 29 December) combines the midwinter custom of ‘Hunting the Wren’ – associated with pagan rituals to signify bringing life back again with the sun – alongside traditional Scottish songs, tunes and stories about the Marriage of Robin Redbreast and Jenny Wren, with the script collected from customs across the Celtic World, traveling through Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and England.

Donald Smith, pioneer of the Folk Play revival, will be joined by Stan Reeves, who was inducted into the Trad awards Hall of Fame for Services to the Community this year and Jan Bee Brown, storyteller, educator, designer and curator who loves costumed storytelling and tales rooted in a sense of place, as Donald explains:

Donald Smith

This is a Folk Play reborn as we’ve uncovered older stuff for the first time in Scotland. All the songs and poems are authentic old sources from Celtic mythology, but combining them in this way is an innovation, alongside the fun of developing the bird characters as an overall chorus, which allowed inclusion of traditional bird lore, such as the corbies (ravens).

This is a fun and silly play with lots of characters and opportunity for joining in, to however small or great an extent you wish! The day will begin with an introduction to the story, as well as to the mumming and folk drama traditions of Scotland.

The wren, the wren, the Queen of aa burds,
St Stephen’s Day wis caught in the furze;
Although she’s but little, her honour is great,
Jump up, me lads, and gie her a treat.

Jan Bee Brown

Alongside Jenny Wren and Robin Redbreast, there’s a cast of 8 entertaining birds who range from fish nabbers to brave sodgers, with fantastic names!

    • Frozie-Toesie                            
    • Johnnie Rednosie
    • Wise Owl Wullie
    • Hing Aboot Hero
    • Wee Cock Sparra
    • Doodloo Rooster
    • Eagle King Burdie
    • Goosie Gander

Come and get involved in a rewarding morning of creation and inclusion, before performing together as a troupe at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Enjoy costume making utilising ribbons and feathers, adorning bird head frames and learning the tunes that will stick in your head until New Year rolls around!

The Burdies
Fri 28 & Sat 29 December, 11am – 3.30pm
£8 (Both days), £5 (Single day)

Book Tickets

Part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals