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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

"A Braw Nicht Oot"

7th February 2011

Prestonpans storyteller Tim Porteous, together with storytellers from around Scotland, is set to mark the forthcoming Scots census question with a night of storytelling in Scots followed by a play in the language. Tim, who is a native of Prestonpans, and runs community education groups in Leith and Fife, wanted to help create greater awareness of the forthcoming census question. He said “…we want tae highlicht the fact Scots is spoken, and has different dialects, and that gye mair folk can hae a guid blether in it than actually realise it.” The census, which will be held on Sunday 27 March 2011, will ask people in Scotland for the first time ever whether they are able to understand, speak, read or write Scots. Tim explained that he had originally written a short story in Scots based partly on his own ideas, and partly from ideas supplied by friends Andy Kinnon, Suu Ramsay, Ally Mitchell, and members of the Methil storytelling group. This story was later expanded to become a 45 minute play called ‘Maggie’s Body’ and had its first performance at the Gothenburg Tavern on St Andrew’s Day last year.


A Braw Nicht Oot

As part of the campaign to raise awareness, Tim Porteous has asked fellow storytellers to join with him in organising a night of storytelling in Scots called ‘A Braw Nicht Oot’. This will be held from 7pm on Saturday 26 March in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, John Knox House, Edinburgh. Taking part in the evening will be storyteller Senga Munro who said “Scots is ma mither tongue an inspite o bein tellt thit A shidnae yase it, A hae pleasur in tellin stories in Lallans.”  Fifer Sheila Kinninmonth will also be taking part. She said that she was “…jist retired efter 30 years workin wi wee bairns in the nursery, noo I tell stories tae a’ kinds o’ folk, young an auld, usin my guid Scots tongue…” James Spence, a native of Jedburgh in the Borders, has been making a name for himself in recent years with his translations in Scots of classics such as Jekyll and Hyde and The Lost World. He has also been taking part in the comedy circuit in Glasgow and Edinburgh and can also be seen on YouTube. Spence said that he was glad to take part in the storytelling event and to contribute to raising awareness about Scots. Another contributor is Jackie Ross, who is Aberdeenshire born and bred. She has a great love of stories based upon nature and local lore as well as traditional tales from around the world. Jackie will be telling her stories in North East Scots – popularly known as the Doric. Coreen Scott will also be singing in Scots.


Maggie’s Body

After the storytelling sessions Tim’s play in Scots, Maggie’s Body, will also be performed. This is a black comedy set in the session house of Prestonpans churchyard (pictured above) in the year 1826. One of the two main characters, Duncan, has been given the responsibility of watching over the body of his dead friend Maggie for 10 days to prevent body snatchers stealing it away to the medical school. Because he is afraid he asks his friend Rab to sit with him. They comfort themselves with whisky, but argue because Rab wants to look at Maggie because he has never seen a dead body before. Rab tells stories of ghosts and supernatural figures which frighten Duncan even more. The whisky runs out and Duncan goes to fetch some more, asking Rab not to look in the coffin. However, Rab breaks his promise and looks in, and their lives change forever.


Tickets cost £6, or £4 concession, and may be purchased from the Scottish Storytelling Centre.