‘Cutty Sark’ Reprise in Aberdeen

Hello all! After a poetry-packed Edinburgh Fringe, I’m looking forward to busy autumn full of gigs, workshops, and lots of exciting projects. One that I’m particularly looking forward to takes place this Thursday (15th September) in Aberdeen. I’m delighted to be reprising my dance-poetry piece ‘Cutty Sark’ at the Fabulous Cabaret, a free event coordinated by Aberdeen Performing Arts at their pop-up Wonder Hoose venue.

As I described in a blog post this spring, this is a piece I originally developed on commission from the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Edinburgh City of Literature for their Figures of Speech event series running throughout Scotland’s Year of Stories. Each event focuses on a theme within Scottish lit (music, friendship, future, love, place, big ideas) and features a conversation between two experts in the field, plus a newly commissioned live performance responding to the theme.

Still from performing ‘Cutty Sark’ in May 2022 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Filmed by I Am Loud Productions.

I responded to the theme of music within Scottish literature and chose to flesh out the narrative of Nannie Dee: the infamous ‘Cutty Sark,’ from Robert Burns’ notorious poem “Tam O’Shanter.” I’m fascinated by how she’s portrayed in this classic piece: wholly objectified, infantilised, sexualised, and made dangerous through these qualities. So, of course, I knew I wanted to twist the narrative by telling her side of the story! My performance embodies Nannie Dee to consider how women in music have often been sexualised and vilified through Scotland’s cultural history.

Developing and performing this piece was a challenge: after a decade of focusing on poetry, returning to my roots as a dancer and retraining my body and mind was a (sweaty) struggle! But a welcome struggle: I’m so grateful to the SSC and City of Lit for trusting me with this work and proud of the piece I created. If you weren’t able to attend the live event, you can watch the entire show (including Nicola Meighan and Arusa Qureshi’s fascinating conversation) on the SSC’s YouTube channel.

This Thursday I’m looking forward to reprising ‘Cutty Sark’ live in Aberdeen. If you’re in the area it would be great to see you there! The Fabulous Cabaret takes place at 7pm on Thursday 15th Sep at the Wonder Hoose and offers a dazzling cabaret of poetry, dance, magic, and music. Book your free ticket here.

Still from performing ‘Cutty Sark’ in May 2022 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Filmed by I Am Loud Productions.

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