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    Press Releases 2016

    The Shepherd Beguiled

    The Shepherd Beguiled was written in the 1950’s, at the height of a period of great Scottish creativity in the Arts. The playwright, Netta Blair Reid had read the startlingly favourable reviews of Tamlane by Edwin Stiven the subject of which also delved into “the land of Faery”.  Having had no success in having her play produced, she decided to try once again and sent her play to a new young company: Theatre Alba.

    The play immediately captured the hearts of the company and after much modification, consolidation and exclusion of roles, and having a complete musical score composed by Richard Cherns, the play was given its world premier in a broken-down dance-hall – The Astoria – in 1982. It was part of a four-play season which included the first-ever UK performance of Outside the Jeweller’s Shop by Karol Wojtyla (St. Pope John Paul II), Passion Part One by Bill Bryden and Swanwhite by August Strindberg.

    The Shepherd Beguiled received a hugely enthusiastic response, being described as “magical”, “intrinsically Scots” and “an undiscovered work of art”. The play tells the story of a Church of Scotland minster, Rev. Robert Kirk, who in the early 1690’s is beguiled into Elfland to lead those hidden souls from the snares of the powers of darkness. Kirk is himself ensnared with an image of his adored, deceased first wife, Isobel.

    The play has been performed on four previous occasions: at The Astoria; at Braidburn Valley, Morningside; at the Traverse Theatre in the Grassmarket; and at the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh. Of the original cast, only four are ever-present: Garry Stewart (actor), John Wilson (singer), Richard Cherns (composer) and Charles Nowosielski (director).

    Three of those responsible for its creation have now passed on into their own other worlds: Mike Hobman (producer), Jeremy Weber (lighting) and Anne Lannan (actress) who played the role created specifically for her: Isobel. This fifth production here at Duddingston is dedicated to their cherished memory.

    Cast List

    Elf Man – Frank Skelly

    Elf Woman – Corinne Harris

    Rev. Robert Kirk – Garry Stewart

    Isobel (Kirk’s dead first wife) – Jemma Blythe

    Jean (housekeeper) – Suzanne Dance

    Jeames (odd-job man) – Paul Murray

    Angus (wandering minstrel) – John Grace

    Rev. Dr. Graham – Nick Cheales

    Mr. MacIntyre (peasant) – Robert Cassidy

    Mrs. MacIntyre (peasant) – Jan Linton

    Helen (Kirk’s second wife) – Kirsten Maguire

    Andrew Macduff (kirkwarden) – Alan Ireby

    Graham of Duchray (soldier and kinsman) Marcus Macleod


    Sue Muir – Violin
    Julie Taylor – Recorders/Violin
    Rachel Rutherford – Clarsach
    Richard Cherns – Keyboard


    Press Releases 2015

    The Good Doctor
    Double Bill
    Baba Yaga

    Press Release:
    Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Theatre Alba presents: Drama, Open-Air Theatre

    The Good Doctor
    By Neil Simon
    Directed By Corinne Harris
    Music by Robert Williamson
    (with additional music by John Sampson)
    At Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens (Venue 121) Main Playing Area
    Wed-Sun 12–16. 19–23, 26-30 August, 7.30 (2 hrs)

    For the evening production of their Russian-American Season Theatre Alba (Winners of a Three Weeks Editors’ Choice Award, 2011) presents The Good Doctor by American playwright Neil Simon in “ the most beautiful venue in Edinburgh.”

    The brilliant Russian writer Anton Chekhov wrote over 50 stories in a fifteen year period from 1888 through which time he tried to provide for his adored mother and put himself through medical college, both of which he achieved. Alongside his short plays they became his chief claim to world pre-eminence and his main testimony as writer.

    This extraordinary work, ‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon, the famous New Yorker, immediately displays not only his much celebrated and proven wit but his utter reverence for Chekhov. Simon takes 10 short stories by his hero, and dramatises them in the inimitable style that has become Simon’s own.

    We offer a huge welcome to Corinne Harris, well known as an actress and Director for Theatre Objektiv and Elements World Theatre, to direct the evening play.

    Alba’s revere for Chekhov is well documented (THE SEAGULL and THE CHERRY ORCHARD adapted by JO CLIFFORD) and the American master, NEIL SIMON, shows just such a regard with this production of THE GOOD DOCTOR, which can be enjoyed in the Main Playing Area – at Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, from an open-air seated area, overlooking the loch, as daylight fades into night changing the panoramic opening scenes into an intense studio experience.

    There is definitely no better way to introduce Chekhov than through this hysterical yet poignant play

    Previous praise for Theatre Alba’s work:
    “…it’s hard not to be seduced by the special charm of Theatre Alba’s beautiful new version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard’
    ****  Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
    “This company always maximise the potential of their beautiful performance space, and always garner highly positive reviews from the Three Weeks team for their diverse range of shows…”
    THREE WEEKS, Editors’ Choice Awards Presentation

    For Theatre Alba:
    Artistic Director – Charles Nowosielski, Musical Director – Richard Cherns

    Website:  Twitter: @theatrealba
    Fringe Online Tickets
    Fringe Box Office: +44 (0) 131 226 0000
    Tickets also at the door.  £10/8
    Uncovered, open-air seated area.  Accessible for wheelchair users.
    Bring a rug and waterproof. Refreshments available.
    Press Contacts:
    Charles Nowosielski
    01875 871279
    07940 498 311
    Robert Cassidy +44(0)7779 839168

    ————————————-ENDS ————————————————

    Press Release:
    Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 – Theatre Alba presents: Drama, Comedy

    Double Bill – In the Marquee

    Something Unspoken by Tennessee Williams
    At Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens (Venue 121) Space: the Marquee
     Aug 11-15 & Aug 18 –22, 4.00pm (5.15pm)

    For their Russian / American Season, Theatre Alba (Winner of a Three Weeks Editor’s Choice Award 2011) proudly presents SOMETHING UNSPOKEN by Tennessee Williams and another opportunity to enjoy Smoking is Bad For You by Anton Chekhov, two humorous and thought-provoking works by iconic writers from each nation’s artistic canon.

    ” Tennessee Williams’ ‘Something Unspoken’ upholds the silence of the closet yet screams out volumes…”

    Following Theatre Alba’s tradition of introducing new young talent to the fraught world of directorial invention we welcome back Keith Hutcheon with his direction of this Tennessee William’s short and Andrea McKenzie in her first direction for Theatre Alba with the much vaunted Chekhovian short, SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOU.

    SOMETHING UNSPOKEN – A cultural product of the McCarthy era, touches on the struggle to pry open a private closet between two very different women. Rich, powerful Cornelia, a prominent member of the southern society and, Grace, her ‘sly little secretary’.  The socially unacceptable truth about their relationship is not only unspeakable but almost, unthinkable.

    SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOU for you was penned shortly before Chekhov’s tragic and untimely death at the age of only 44. Ivan Nyukhin, the speaker, is a hen-pecked husband whose wife keeps a music school and a boarding school for girls. He has  been forced to deliver this speech to the girls much against his better will.

    About the Directors:
    Keith Hutcheon – Well-known Scottish Screen and Stage Actor. His last directorial role with Theatre Alba was with ” Suddenly Last Summer” by Tennessee Williams, earning a five Star review and audiences so large the entire production had to move outside the confines of the Marquee into the main playing area at our thankfully flexible Duddingston venue.

    Andrea McKenzie – Actor. Critically acclaimed for her roles as Anne Frank and Mary Stewart, for Theatre Alba. This is her first professional direction for Theatre Alba.

    As with their previous productions in Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens, the close intimate atmosphere within the Marquee creates a unique sense of involvement in something surreal.

    Previous praise for Theatre Alba’s work:
    ‘It’s hard not to be seduced by the special charm of  Theatre Alba’s beautiful new version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard’
    ****  4/5 Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

    “My only complaint is that it’s not longer – perfectly situated, perfectly acted, perfectly funny… ‘Chekhov Shorts’ is an absolute delight. “
    *****  5/5Three Weeks

    For Theatre Alba:
    Artistic Director – Charles Nowosielski, Musical Director – Richard Cherns

    Twitter: @theatrealba  FB:
    Fringe Online Tickets
    Fringe Box Office: +44 (0) 131 226 0000
    Tickets also at the door: £8/6
    Press Contacts:
    Charles Nowosielski
    01875 871279
    07940 498 311,
    Robert Cassidy +44(0)7779 839168


    Press Release:
    Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015:
    Theatre Alba presents: Children’s Theatre, Open Air Theatre

    Baba Yaga ( And the Girl With the Kind Heart )

    Written & Directed by Clunie MacKenzie
    Original Music Written by John Sampson

    At Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens (Venue 121)
    Mon. 3rd August – Sun.16th August at 2.30pm (3.30pm)

    “This is a colourful, comical, musical and magical journey which enthralls the young audience at every point and is a pleasure for any parent or adult to witness.” 
    Times Education Supplement (2011)

    Theatre Alba (Winner of a Three Weeks Editor’s Choice Award 2011) proudly present their bewitching outdoor theatre show for children, families and the young at heart: BABA YAGA, written and directed by Clunie MacKenzie and performed in Edinburgh¹s most beautiful venue for Theatre Alba’s Russian/American season.

    How kind hearted Anya is held captive by the fearsome witch Baba Yaga. Who will help her escape?

    Aimed at 4-11 year-olds and their families, the characters of Anya and Ivan the Storyteller lead the audience on a picturesque expedition through the magical and quite beautiful trees and undergrowth of Dr. Neil’s Garden, on the journey to meet Baba Yaga. The young girl Anya needs their support and help to find magical items to help her on her way. As they make their way along secret paths, they meet many quirky characters, including a mouse, a cat, a dog and eventually the witch ­Baba Yaga, who wants to eat Anya for her dinner.

    Full of surprises and delight and all accompanied by original music and songs written by celebrated composer John Sampson (the Princess Blankets with Carole Anne Duffy, CATS music finalist 2013 )

    An outside promenade production based on the traditional Russian folk tale, this tells the age old story of how good can conquer evil.

    “It will have the children singing and skipping and the adults laughingŠthis treat of a play should definitely be experienced.”

    An interactive story, this is a musical family adventure with a moral theme set in Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens. The journey to Duddingston Village, outwith the main Fringe area, is one well worth making. As always, people are welcome to exchange their tickets in the very rare event the performance is rained off. Please dress for the weather.

    Scottish Russian Art Show in the Venue
    Ticket holders for Baba Yaga and other Theatre Alba shows will be able to view  around 30 of the the wonderful winning paintings of Baba Yaga, entered  by primary school school children from Scotland and other parts of the UK, for a competition organised by the Edinburgh-based Scottish Russian Forum.  The paintings will be on display in the Millar Hall which is used for serving refreshments before, after and during intervals of Fringe Show performances. The Millar Hall is not open at other times and show tickets are required to enter the venue gates.
    For more information:

    Previous praise from ThreeWeeks for Clunie MacKenzie & Theatre Alba’s work:

    …Šthis show uses its location brilliantly, with twisting paths, towering trees and Duddingston Loch all playing parts of the forest.” ****


    “It’s slightly off the beaten track, but this show is well worth the trip, for the drama Šand danger along the way.” ****

    Venue: Venue 121, Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens,
    *Space: The Garden – promenade performance ­ some areas not suited to wheelchairs
    Box Office: +44 (0)131 226-0000
    Dates: 3rd Aug-16th Aug
    Times: 2.30pm (3.30pm)
    Prices: £6. Age 3 and under go free.

    Twitter: @TheatreAlba FB:

    Tickets – Fringe Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000 Fringe Online Tickets
    Press Contact :



    THREE WEEKS “Endorsed Theatre” Preview

    Mary Stewart

    This is the second Mary Queen Of Scots themed pick I’ve done for Fringe 2014 thus far, so I’d better ‘reign’ it in after this one. Ahem. But seriously; this one has been selected because of the skill and dedication of the ThreeWeeks Award winning production company behind it. Theatre Alba have garnered plaudits from many of our reviewers over the years, and their shows aren’t just excellently put together, they are also staged in one of the most super venues in Edinburgh,