Performers needed for Folk Play Premiere, The Burdies

From Frozie-Toesie to Goosie Gander, a bevy of birds take centre stage at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on 30 December, in a new folk drama for Scotland where the participants are the stars!

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.

After the success of a Mummers workshop at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in October (video) and a Play in a Day for St. Andrew’s Day which brought The Galoshins to life, comes the next midwinter focus in a new script collected from customs across the Celtic World, traveling through Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and England.

The Burdies 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, as script writer Donald Smith explains:

“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).”

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.

A cast of 10 minimum is needed to bring this new creation from the past to life in what promises to be an engaging and fun day showcasing folk drama.

This is a fun and silly play with lots of characters and opportunity for joining in and dressing up, 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.

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 Heron
  • 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 in front of a live audience in the Centre’s Storytelling Court ahead of our Family Ceilidh. Enjoy costume making utilising lots of ribbons and feathers, adorning bird head frames and learning the tunes that will stick in your head until New Year rolls around!

Folk Drama: Play in a Day – The Burdies is on Friday 30 December at 10.30am until 2.30pm when the performance will take place. The cost is £5.