Diverse cultures come together through a tale of tragedy and loss in Scotties


Writer Muireann Kelly on celebrating the connecting of cultures

Starting with the tragic deaths of migrant workers in Kirkintilloch in 1937, Scotties is a collaboration between writers Francis Poet and Muireann Kelly, co-commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland and Theatre Gu Leòr. It features four languages and considers the dangers of not passing down heritage between generations.

'We view the tragedy through the lens of a young Glasgow lad today,' Kelly explains. 'The young Irish tattie howkers from Achill Island who lost their lives were all about the same ages as this lad. This connection becomes more relevant when you consider what happened to the plaque with the names of the boys lost in the bothy fire. Erected at the site of the tragedy, it was vandalised: the fear and hatred of outsiders is still part of what a young Glasgow lad might learn today. He faces challenges affecting all the generations in his family once we start to discover and learn about his family.'

Yet in its very process of creation, Scotties shows how embracing diverse cultures – represented by the four languages used – has its own communicative and artistic power. 'We celebrate the pride and joy people have in the connections between their cultures,' Kelly explains, 'with live music, song and dance.'

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Thu 13–Sat 15 Sep; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 27–Sat 29 Sep; and touring Scotland throughout Sep.


A play that celebrates the languages of Scotland and Ireland, focusing on a young Glaswegian boy whose soul is awoken by the story of ten young Irish boys who died in a Scottish bothy fire in 1937.

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