A new Gaelic language pantomime entitled Peadar Dan agus am Mapa-ionmhais (Peadar Dan and the Treasure Map) is in the middle of a fifteen-day national tour and this week is performing to schools in the Western Isles and Wester Ross. The tour, which started on November 25th in Aberdeen, will run until Friday December 13th and is scheduled to deliver a total of 26 performances for children from over 40 Gaelic medium schools. A public performance will take place on Thursday 12th December at The Ironworks, Inverness at 7pm with audience welcome from 6.45pm for a winter warmer provided by the Milk Bar coffee shop.
The play was written and directed by Angus Macleod, Drama Officer with Fèisean nan Gàidheal. “The play is set on stormbound Eilean an Òir and tells the tale of Peadar Dan’s Christmas Eve adventure after he discovers a fairy treasure map. Performers, Artair Donald, Anna MacDonald and Alexander Donaldson have created very engaging and fun characters and provide lots of opportunity for audience interaction.”
Artair Donald, who plays the pirate Caiptean Carach, hails from Tiree and has many years of acting experience under his belt, both on stage and on television. Off-stage Artair is regularly involved in Gaelic drama development, providing direction and tuition to schools and community groups.
Anna MacDonald, also from Tiree, plays two roles – Peadar Dan’s grandmother and the fairy Tina Bellag. Earlier in the year she performed in Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s early-years theatre project Hùb Hàb and features regularly as a presenter on CBeebies Alba. Anna is also an accomplished musician and artist.
Peadar Dan, played by Alexander Donaldson from Inverness, is a graduate of Inverness College UHI’s Higher Diploma in Drama and Performance and in 2018 participated in Scottish Youth Theatre’s National Ensemble. Alexander is a member of Last Stand, an independent theatre company based in Inverness.
The production and tour are delivered through Fèisgoil, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s arts in education service, which is managed by Eilidh Mackenzie. “One of the real successes of the panto every year is the number and geographical spread of schools involved. This year we were delighted to be welcomed by more than 40 schools including Riverside Primary, Stirling, Whinhill Primary, Greenock and Gairloch Primary. And, of course, no panto tour would be complete without a visit to the Western Isles. The tour headed to Barra on the 2nd of December and spent 4 days travelling throughout the islands culminating in two shows at Stornoway Town Hall where Lewis schools come together to share the panto experience on Thursday 5th”
This is the twelfth successive year that Fèisean nan Gàidheal has produced and toured a Gaelic language pantomime thanks to funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland and HIE.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “Our aim is that Gaelic is used as much as possible, by as many people as possible and in a wide range of situations. The annual pantomime allows young people to experience Gaelic in a setting outwith the normal school curriculum and we are delighted to support this tour. Live theatre in Gaelic is an important tool to enhance children’s experience of the creative arts.”
For more information about the tour, contact Fèisgoil Manager Eilidh Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or Drama Officer Angus Macleod at email@example.com or on 01463 225559.