Crown of Straw

BY MARTIN TRAVERS

Edinburgh, 1774. Alone in a filthy cell, a young man pulls straw from his mattress and weaves a crown.

Crown of Straw tells the extraordinary true story of Robert Fergusson, the trailblazing writer who inspired Robert Burns. Exploring his pioneering work, lively songs and tragic death in an asylum at the age of 24, this rehearsed reading celebrates the life of one of Scotland’s most important, and forgotten, poets. Book your free ticket now.

Thursday 20 June - 7.30pm, Biggar Corn Exchange

Friday 21 June - 7.30pm, Crawford Village Hall

Saturday 22 June - 7.30pm, Leadhills Village Hall

Crown-of-Straw-poster-for-web

Crown of Straw

BY MARTIN TRAVERS

Edinburgh, 1774. Alone in a filthy cell, a young man pulls straw from his mattress and weaves a crown.

His raucous life of wit, poetry and song has ended in a vicious shove down a stone staircase. Wracked with pain and haunted by delusions, he wonders if anyone will remember him.

Crown-of-Straw-poster-for-web

Crown of Straw tells the extraordinary true story of Robert Fergusson, the trailblazing writer who inspired Robert Burns. Exploring his pioneering work, lively songs and tragic death in an asylum at the age of 24, this rehearsed reading celebrates the life of one of Scotland’s most important, and forgotten, poets. Book your free ticket now.

Thursday 20 June - 7.30pm,
Biggar Corn Exchange

Friday 21 June - 7.30pm,
Crawford Village Hall

Saturday 22 June - 7.30pm,
Leadhills Village Hall

Crown-of-Straw-poster-for-web

Crown of Straw

BY MARTIN TRAVERS

Edinburgh, 1774. Alone in a filthy Bedlam cell, a young man pulls straw from his mattress and weaves himself a crown.

His raucous life of wit, poetry and song has ended in a vicious shove down a stone staircase. Wracked with pain and haunted by delusions, he wonders if anyone will remember him.

Crown of Straw tells the extraordinary true story of Robert Fergusson, the trailblazing writer who inspired Robert Burns. Exploring his pioneering work, lively songs and tragic death in an asylum at the age of 24, this rehearsed reading celebrates the life of one of Scotland’s most important, and forgotten, poets. Book your free ticket now.

Thursday 20 June - 7.30pm, Biggar Corn Exchange

Friday 21 June - 7.30pm, Crawford Village Hall

Saturday 22 June - 7.30pm, Leadhills Village Hall

"One of the most powerful, affecting theatre experiences I've ever had."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Absolutely brilliant. I enjoyed every part as it unfolded. The three actors brought it to life."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Haunting and beautiful. Very atmospheric and the Scots had me hanging on every word."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"One of the most powerful, affecting theatre experiences I've ever had."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Absolutely brilliant. I enjoyed every part as it unfolded. The three actors brought it to life."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Haunting and beautiful. Very atmospheric and the Scots had me hanging on every word."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

We tell spell-binding stories, in your village hall.

You know how almost no plays in Scots are put on in Scottish theatres?

Well, what Braw Clan does is make new theatre in Scots, inspired by the people of Clydesdale, and we tour it to rural communities in the south of Scotland. We bring world-class performers and powerful local stories to your village hall so you can enjoy them with your family and neighbours.

In fact, someone who came to a Braw Clan performance said “After watching the play, I feel re-energised about my village and sharing our stories."

Crown of Straw is a community rehearsed reading and tickets are free.

A rehearsed reading is a simple way to share a work-in-progress with an audience.

Our cast includes three professional actors, student actors from New College Lanarkshire, members of Corn Exchange Young Performers and community actors from Biggar Theatre Workshop. Crown of Straw is part of Unlocking Scots, Braw Clan's development programme funded by the National Lottery, and it has been created with support from the Scottish Society of Playwrights’ SSP@50 Fellowship Awards.

We tell spell-binding stories, in your village hall.

You know how almost no plays in Scots are put on in Scottish theatres?

Well, what Braw Clan does is make new theatre in Scots, inspired by the people of Clydesdale, and we tour it to rural communities in the south of Scotland. We bring world-class performers and powerful local stories to your village hall so you can enjoy them with your family and neighbours.

In fact, someone who came to a Braw Clan performance said “After watching the play, I feel re-energised about my village and sharing our stories."

Crown of Straw is a community rehearsed reading and tickets are free.

A rehearsed reading is a simple way to share a work-in-progress with an audience.

Our cast includes three professional actors, student actors from New College Lanarkshire, members of Corn Exchange Young Performers and community actors from Biggar Theatre Workshop. Crown of Straw is part of Unlocking Scots, Braw Clan's development programme funded by the National Lottery, and it has been created with support from the Scottish Society of Playwrights’ SSP@50 Fellowship Awards.

About your night out

Running time of around 120 minutes with an interval.

Suitable for ages 12+.

Free parking at all venues.

All venues are wheelchair accessible, including toilets.

Tickets are free - book online or call 01899 220600 for speedy assistance.

Find your venue & book tickets

June 20, 7.30pm - Biggar Corn Exchange, 126 High Street, Biggar, ML12 6DH

June 21, 7.30pm - Crawford Village Hall, 100 Carlisle Road, ML12 6TW

June 22, 7.30pm - Leadhills Village Hall, Ramsay Road, ML12 6YA

About your night out

Running time of around 120 minutes with an interval.

Suitable for ages 12+.

Free parking at all venues.

All venues are wheelchair accessible, including toilets.

Tickets are free - book online or call 01899 220600 for speedy assistance.

Find your venue & book tickets

June 20, 7.30pm - Biggar Corn Exchange, 126 High Street, Biggar, ML12 6DH

June 21, 7.30pm - Crawford Village Hall, 100 Carlisle Road, ML12 6TW

June 22, 7.30pm - Leadhills Village Hall, Ramsay Road, ML12 6YA

About your night out

Crown of Straw has a running time of around 120 minutes with an interval.

Suitable for ages 12+.

Free parking at all venues.

All venues are wheelchair accessible, including toilets.

Tickets are free - book online or call 01899 220600 for speedy assistance.

Find your venue & book tickets

June 20, 7.30pm - Biggar Corn Exchange, 126 High Street, Biggar, ML12 6DH

June 21, 7.30pm - Crawford Village Hall, 100 Carlisle Road, ML12 6TW

June 22, 7.30pm - Leadhills Village Hall, Ramsay Road, ML12 6YA

"Impactful, moving, intimate. Really love that this was on my doorstep."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

 "What you're doing is building our community. Building on our heritage."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Superb. I found comfort in the Scots humour, it reminded me of my Grandad."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Impactful, moving, intimate. Really love that this was on my doorstep."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

 "What you're doing is building our community. Building on our heritage."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

"Superb. I found comfort in the Scots humour, it reminded me of my Grandad."

SECRET WRAPPED IN LEAD

martin circle headshot

"Without Robert Fergusson,
we wouldn't have Robert Burns."

Martin Travers, Playwright

October 16th 2024 is the 250th anniversary of the death of Robert Fergusson - a poet whose significance is tragically overlooked. Although they never met, Robert Burns was deeply inspired by him and considered Fergusson "his elder brother in the muse." It's no exaggeration to say that without Robert Fergusson, we wouldn't have the work of Robert Burns.

Fergusson blazed onto the literary scene in 1768. Almost all his Scots poems were produced in a creative whirlwind lasting two years. A head injury led to a rapid decline. He was incarcerated in Bedlam and died in a straw-littered cell aged 24. I first heard about Robert Ferguson when I was researching a play about Robert Burns. When I read that Burns had paid for a headstone for Fergusson’s unmarked grave, a fire was lit in my imagination. I’ve been captivated by Fergusson’s life and work ever since.

This rehearsed reading of Crown of Straw is supported by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Society of Playwrights. Being awarded a SSP@50 fellowship, which celebrates the society's 50th anniversary, is a huge honour. And working with Professor Rhona Brown and Dr Amy Wilcockson at the University of Glasgow on the research for Crown of Straw has been a genuine thrill and pleasure. Their enthusiasm, insight and support have been amazing.

I’m also delighted that Braw Clan is working with director Jordanna O'Neill and musical director John Kielty, whose work we've been following for years. Together with our professional actors, community actors and acting students, we'll bring Fergusson's world alive. I can’t wait to see it.

martin circle headshot

"Without Robert Fergusson,
we wouldn't have Robert Burns."

Martin Travers, Playwright

October 16th 2024 is the 250th anniversary of the death of Robert Fergusson - a poet whose significance is tragically overlooked. Although they never met, Robert Burns was deeply inspired by him and considered Fergusson "his elder brother in the muse." It's no exaggeration to say that without Robert Fergusson, we wouldn't have the work of Robert Burns.

Fergusson blazed onto the literary scene in 1768. Almost all his Scots poems were produced in a creative whirlwind lasting two years. A head injury led to a rapid decline. He was incarcerated in Bedlam and died in a straw-littered cell aged 24. I first heard about Robert Ferguson when I was researching a play about Robert Burns. When I read that Burns had paid for a headstone for Fergusson’s unmarked grave, a fire was lit in my imagination. I’ve been captivated by Fergusson’s life and work ever since.

This rehearsed reading of Crown of Straw is supported by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Society of Playwrights. Being awarded a SSP@50 fellowship, which celebrates the society's 50th anniversary, is a huge honour. And working with Professor Rhona Brown and Dr Amy Wilcockson at the University of Glasgow on the research for Crown of Straw has been a genuine thrill and pleasure. Their enthusiasm, insight and support have been amazing.

I’m also delighted that Braw Clan is working with director Jordanna O'Neill and musical director John Kielty, whose work we've been following for years. Together with our professional actors, community actors and acting students, we'll bring Fergusson's world alive. I can’t wait to see it.

More from Braw Clan

See what's coming up in our Unlocking Scots programme →

COMING AUTUMN 2024
COMING DECEMBER 2024
COMING APRIL 2025

More from Braw Clan

COMING AUTUMN 2024
COMING DECEMBER 2024
COMING APRIL 2025

More from Braw Clan

See what's coming up in our Unlocking Scots programme →

COMING AUTUMN 2024
COMING DECEMBER 2024
COMING APRIL 2025

Cast & Company

Kieran Mackenzie
Robert Fergusson

Fletcher Mathers
Mither, Wilkie, Tenducci

Anthony Bowers
Lang Sandy, Hary, William Woods

Teddy Mitchell
Young Robert

Jim Softley
Ensemble

Carole Davidson
Ensemble

Niamh Cox
Ensemble

Nina Murnin
Ensemble

Jennifer Groves
Ensemble

Jay Maclennan
Ensemble

Scott Jackson
Ensemble

Kirsty Stewart
Ensemble

Sophie Fleming
Ensemble

Logan Fotheringham
Ensemble

Jordanna O'Neill
Director

John Kielty
Musical Director

Paul Rodger
Production Manager

Linsey Johnstone
Stage Manager

Martin Docherty
Cast Support

Morven Blackadder
Front Of House Manager

Rachel Mimiec
Artist

Professor Rhona Brown
Research Consultant

Dr Amy Wilcockson
Research Assistant

Martin Travers
Playwright, Creative Producer

Clare Yuille
Creative Director

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