Sir Walter’s Birthday bash

Joot Theatre actors at work on Scott's play
Joot Theatre actors at work on Scott's play

He’ll not be able to enjoy it himself, but plans are well under way to make Sir Walter Scott’s 247th birthday a memorable one.

A series of diverse avenues of entertainment are being prepared at his former home of Abbotsford on Thursday, August 15, with jugglers, musicians and an inter-town tug-of-war competition all being organised.

However, the main present for Scott fans will be a rare performance of one of his plays – Macduff’s Cross – by the Joot Theatre Company in the exclusive setting of Abbotsford’s library.

It is believed to be the first time the play has been staged in the Borders.

Giles Ingram, chief executive at Abbotsford, said: “Scott isn’t known as a playwright, although films and plays have been created from his novels, such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.

“There is very little information about Macduff’s Cross, which we don’t think was ever performed during his lifetime, and we are not aware of any performances here in the Borders.

“We heard Joot Theatre had staged the play in Dundee and thought it would be an unusual and entertaining way to celebrate Scott’s birthday.

“Setting it in our magnificent library, where Scott would have hosted a performance, makes the occasion unique.”

The birthday celebrations start at 2pm, with children’s circus workshop, woodland trail, face-painting, storytelling and origami crafts, plus performances from Riddle Fiddles.

The tug of war, with teams from Selkirk, Tweedbank, Galashiels and Melrose, will be held at 6pm, followed by Selkirk Silver Band rounding off the external activities with a performance at 6.30pm.

Macduff’s Cross, which is a ticketed event – £10 for adults, £9 for Abbotsford friends and concessions – will begin in the library at 7.30pm.

All events are free, except the face-painting and the theatre.

Tickets for Macduff’s Cross are available from the Abbotsford website, the visitor centre or by calling 01896 752043.

Full details are available on the website: www.scottsabbotsford.com