John Muir play in schools for Year of Natural Scotland

Wednesday 8th May 2013

Meanbh-chuileag, Fèisean nan Gàidheal's drama outreach project, is on the road with a new Gaelic play which marks 175 years since the birth of the naturalist John Muir and celebrates the Year of Natural Scotland.

Over five weeks Daibhidh Walker and Debbie Mackay will be visiting the majority of Gaelic-medium primaries with the new play Seonaidh a' Mhonaidh (John of the Moors), which was developed from an idea put forward by Dougie Beck, Fèisean nan Gàidheal's drama officer.

A rather ghostly and eccentric old man turns up on a Scottish mountain top and befriends Eilidh, a teenager who just happens to be doing a project on John Muir. Before she knows it she is away accompanying him on his travels across North America. We see first-hand how John developed his ideas regarding nature, and how he began to influence US environmental policy.

The play isn't simply a history lesson, however; children in P4-7 will get the opportunity to be involved in practical workshops as the play progresses. All the action in the play takes place around a 3D model of Scottish and American terrain, and this is used to illustrate many of John Muir's theories.

According to Dougie Beck: "The play is very interactive, and is a fun and thought-provoking introduction to the life and work of one of Scotland's most influential sons. While we were at the planning stages we realised that to simply tell John's story would result in a fairly dull production; to get around this we have combined his life story with several hands-on activities which are intended to get the audience's brains working!"

Fèisean nan Gàidheal is grateful to Scottish Natural Heritage for financial assistance with the tour. Emily Edwards, SNH’s Gaelic Officer said: “As part of Year of Natural Scotland 2013, we are celebrating the life and work of John Muir and are delighted to support this unique play. “John of the Moors” will encourage pupils to learn about and to enjoy Scotland’s stunning nature in a fun and interactive way and is entirely in keeping with the Year of Natural Scotland.”

The tour has also been supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland and HIE.

Head of Gaelic Usage at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, David Boag said: “This project links Gaelic medium education and the arts - two of the development areas within the National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17.  The play will offer youngsters the opportunity to enage with the Gaelic arts at the same time as hearing and using Gaelic complementing and expanding the language skills they pick up daily in school.  The Bòrd welcomes this project and hopes that the school pupils will have fun with the Meanbh-Chuileagan."  

The play is being performed at the following schools:

Tuesday 23 April
AM Whinhill Primary, Greenock
PM Sandbank Primary, Dunoon

Wednesday 24 April
AM Mount Cameron Primary, East Kilbride
PM Onthank Primary, Kilmarnock

Thursday 25 April
AM Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu
PM Tollcross Primary, Edinburgh

Friday 26 April
AM Gilcomstoun Primary, Aberdeen

Monday 29 April
PM Dingwall Primary

Tuesday 30 April
AM Ullapool Primary
PM Gairloch Primary

Wednesday 1 May
AM Plockton Primary & Lochcarron Primary
PM Sleat Primary

Thursday 2 May
AM Staffin Primary and Kilmuir Primary
PM Dunvegan Primary

Friday 3 May
AM Portree Primary
PM Broadford Primary

Tuesday 7 May
PM Rockfield Primary, Oban

Wednesday 8 May
AM Castlebay Primary & Castlebay Secondary

Thursday 9 May
AM Paible Primary & Carinish Primary

Monday 13 May
AM Stornoway Primary
PM Laxdale Primary

Tuesday 14 May
AM Lionail School
PM West Side School & Shawbost School

Wednesday 15 May
AM Back Primary
PM Breasclate Primary

Thursday 16 May
AM Tarbert Primary & Leverburgh Primary
PM Lochs Primary & Park Primary

Friday 17 May
AM Sgoil an Rubha, Point

Monday 20 May
PM Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis, Inverness

Tuesday 21 May
AM Craighill Primary, Tain & Bonar Bridge Primary
PM Millbank Primary, Nairn

Wednesday 22 May
AM Newtonmore Primary
PM Fort William Gaelic Primary School

Thursday 23 May
AM Acharacle Primary
PM Mallaig Primary

Friday 24 May
AM Salen Primary, Mull

Bord na Gaidhlig Highlands and Islands Enterprise Highland Council Argyll & Bute Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Creative ScotlandHomecoming Scotland 2014

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