Seaside streaming

Apr 17 2020 | By More

Dunbar company puts Mary QoS play online

Battery Theatre, which creates site-specific shows for and about the community of Dunbar, is putting its most recent production online, after being forced to cancel this summer’s offering due to Covid-19.

Mary, It began with a lass… by Suzanne Lofthus was toured by Battery Theatre in the summer of 2019 to historic venues associated with the life of Mary Queen of Scots, also revealing the pivotal part the town of Dunbar played in her life.

Philip Kingscott, John Spilsbury, Andrea McKenzie and Kirsten Maguire. Pic: Battery Theatre

A “fast paced journey through the life and loves of Mary”, it tells the story of her love for Scotland and for the men around her, while also looking at the lives of Mary and Queen Elizabeth, the two powerful women struggling to retain control of their nations and their love.

The production is performed with a live score, created and performed by by Karen Dietz and Gracie Brill, which they based on original sonnets written by Mary Queen of Scots to Lord Bothwell.

It stars Andrea McKenzie as Mary Queen of Scots with John Spilsbury as Lord Bothwell. Kirsten Maguire plays Queen Elizabeth and Philip Kingscott doubles as Lord Darnley and the Earl of Leicester. Direction is by Andy Corelli.

After last summer’s sold-out tour, the company was to have been rehearsing and touring The John Muir Way, a new play about the pioneering conservationist who is probably Dunbar’s most famous son, and which has now had to be postponed until 2021.

Dunbar Battery

Instead, Philip Kingscott has organised a livestream of Mary, It began with a lass… which will go online from 7pm today, Friday 17 April 2020 and remain available through the summer over the period when The John Muir Way would have been touring.

Dawn Over Dunbar Harbour from MacLean Photographic on Vimeo.

The film of the production was made at the open air Battery Theatre by Dunbar harbour which gives the company its name. The drone footage by MacLean Photographic above gives a sense of the setting in which the play was performed.

Kingscott, who is also one of the play’s producers, told Æ that that he was inspired to put the film of the production online because he has been enjoying the broadcasts from the Met Opera in New York and the English National Theatre.

“Even though I’m stuck inside I’m still getting the opportunity to see some fantastic theatre,” he said. “I’ve even been downloading the programme from the theatre’s website and reading it in the interval (pretty geeky, I know!!).

homegrown Scottish theatre

“More recently I’ve been getting together with friends to all watch broadcasts at the same time and then meet up via live video chat afterwards to have a drink and chat about the show.

“I thought we could create our own livestream so audiences in Dunbar, and hopefully all over the world, can experience some homegrown Scottish theatre and have a little bit of Dunbar in their own living rooms!”

The stream will be via YouTube with full details published on the Battery Theatre facebook page just before 7pm on Friday 17 April. If, like Kingscott, you are a bit of a theatre geek, there is also a downloadable programme from the show.

Mary, It began with a lass…
By Battery Theatre Company
Archive performance on YouTube.
Friday 17 April 2020: 7pm (90mins).

Remains online over the summer.
Battery Theatre take a contemporary look at Mary’s story through the complex power struggles around her, power struggles that remain to this day. Filmed at The Battery Dunbar at the end of its sell-out 2019 tour.
Details of broadcast here: @BatteryThearteCompay.


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