Previously . . . Scotland's History Festival - interview with Susan Morrison

Previously . . . Scotland's History Festival - interview with Susan Morrison

Photo: Roslyn Grant

The comedian tells us why Scotland's past is worth examining

Susan Morrison is a familiar face to most of us because of her regular appearances at The Stand and countless comedy festivals. The funny femme’s latest venture, however, shelves comedy in favour of history, as she prepares to launch Previously … Scotland’s History Festival in Edinburgh.

‘History is bloody, disgusting and juicy but most people in this country know more about English history than they do their own,’ Morrison says. ‘Things like The Tudors are on TV a lot of the time, but there’s no Scottish equivalent.’

The festival will have 200 events in its first year, organised by Morrison and her colleague Ian Harrower, as well as partnerships with organisations and history enthusiasts across the city.

‘There’s a lot of people out there like me who are history amateurs but incredibly passionate about a certain part of it and that’s what this festival is all about,’ Morrison says.

‘We went on an odyssey round every place we could think of in Edinburgh, from VisitScotland to the universities, councils, museums and Parliament. We started to rate places on the standard of their coffee. The Parliament does a lovely cup and a decent carrot cake too, if anyone is taking notes.’

Everything from Scottish food and drink to pirate trials and the history of strip clubs in Scotland will be touched upon. Events range from fun and frivolous to the more thought provoking discussions such as the three Big Shiny Debates in the Parliament, which will look at issues of national identity. Ian Rankin and Nigel Planer will share their love of Robert Louis Stevenson at City Art Centre, whilst venues such as St Giles’ Cathedral, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the National Library of Scotland and the Filmhouse will be giving their perspectives on Scotland’s history.

Various venues, Edinburgh, 17—30 Nov, prices and times vary.

For full details, visit

Big Shiny Debates

A three-part debate series exploring the ‘National Identity and Belongingness', run by the Carnegie Challenge and the Law Society of Scotland. Part of previously … Scotland's History Festival. Booking is essential.

A Robert Louis Stevenson Evening with Ian Rankin and Nigel Planer

In the week of Stevenson's birthday, Ian Rankin and Nigel Planer celebrate with readings and a Q&A session. Part of previously … Scotland's History Festival. Booking is essential.

Previously … Scotland's History Festival

Previously brings Scotland's history to life in a packed programme of talks, walks, tours, teas, activities, debates, exhibitions, theatre, comedy, art, photography, family history, film, open days and much more that will appeal to all ages.

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