First full performance for 500-year-old Scots play

Linlithgow Palace Peel will host the performance. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Linlithgow Palace Peel will host the performance. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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A PLAY written by one of Scotland’s most celebrated poets and writers will be performed in its entirety tomorrow for the first time in nearly 500 years.

The full length production of A Satire of the Three Estates, written by Sir David Lyndsay, will be performed at Linlithgow Palace Peel.

The first ever performance of the play takes place tomorrow. Picture: Donald MacLeod

The first ever performance of the play takes place tomorrow. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Sir Lyndsay was a 16th century writer who was known for satirizing the corruption of the Roman Catholic church and contemporary government in the pre-Reformation period.

The first production of the Three Estates took place in Linlithgow in 1540. No copies of it survive.

A longer six-hour version was staged in Cupar in 1552 and in Edinburgh two years later.

In 1948, the play was given a new lease of life. A cut down adaptation of the 1552 version was staged at the Edinburgh Festival. Since then performances of the Three Estates have been based on this.

Now the play, which focus’ on what it is to be Scottish and what is our relationship with England, will be recreated to match the last recorded full length version in 1554.

The play, directed by Gregory Thompson, will be performed by professional actors including Tam Dean Burn, Liam Brennan, Jimmy Chisholm, Alison Peebles and Gerda Stevenson on June 7th, 8th and 9th.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs welcomed the forthcoming production.

She said: “To see A Satire of the Three Estates performed in the stunning setting of Linlithgow Peel will be a fantastic experience.

“The play is one of the finest examples of the use of Scots language and many of its themes are still relevant today. It looks at Scottish society and national identity in the 16th century and asks how Scotland should move forward.

“Over 400 years later, as we approach next year’s Independence Referendum, we are once again asking what is the best way forward for the future of Scotland”.

There will also be hour long Interlude performances based on the original play performed in the Great Halls at Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle on Tuesday 11 June at Linlithgow Palace and Thursday 13th June at Stirling Castle.

The Interlude performed on Thursday 13th June in the magnificent setting of Stirling Castle’s Great Hall, will take place from 6:30 - 9.30 pm with the performance lasting one hour and will include a drinks reception at Stirling Castle before the main performance and the opportunity to take an exclusive evening visit of the beautifully restored Royal Palace apartments.

In 2011 the Sir Lyndsay was commemorated at Scottish literary walk of fame, in Makars’ Court, Edinburgh, when a stone was unveiled to remember him.

He is also celebrated by Edinburgh University who opened the The Sir David Lyndsay Society in 2007, for students to meet and discuss his work.