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Scottish Gaelic play previews at the Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN THE very final production in the Finborough Theatre’s acclaimed GREATWAR100 series, a new play in Scottish Gaelic, presented by Theatre Gu Leòr, Bana-Ghaisgich/Heroines, will preview at the Finborough Theatre for one performance only on Monday, December 17, 2018 at 7.30pm.

It will subsequently receive its world premiere on the Isle of Lewis on December 27, 28 and 29, 2018, as part of the 100th commemorative anniversary of the Iolaire disaster on the island.

1918. Oidhche Challainn a bheireas buaidh air Eliean Leòdhais gu sìorraidh bràth.

Tha ceudan de luchd-sheirbheise a’ tilleadh dhachaigh à bonn Shasainn gu ceann an Tuath-Siar de dh’ Alba, Eilean Leòdhais.

Ann an Caol Loch-Aillse, tha am bàta, an ‘Sheila’, a’ feitheamh riutha ach cha ghabh i an sluagh a tha a’ nochdadh ann. Le sin chaidh fios a chuir air an HMY Iolaire is sheòl i dhachaigh le 284 fir air bòrd, a mhòr chuid on Royal Naval Reserve.

Am fianais tìr, san crìdhe làn gàirdeachais, tha HMY Iolaire a’ dol air na creagan aithnichte, Biastan Thuilm, is a’ bathadh 201 dhiubh air an stairsneach fhèin. O chionn an Titanic, seo an tubaist-mhara a bu mhiosa a thachair, a thaobh soitheach Bhreatannaich, ann an àm-sìthe.

Seo dràma ùr a tha a’ togail air bròn, breitheanas agus daingneachd troimh shùil na mnathan ach ’s ann ri thighinn a tha an cruadal. Bidh amhrain agus ceòl beò an luib am pìos seo.

1918. A Hogmanay that shapes the future of the Isle of Lewis forever.

Hundreds of servicemen are returning home from the South of England to the North-West of Scotland, the Isle of Lewis. The ‘Sheila’ mail-boat cannot cope with all the men arriving in Kyle of Lochalsh so HMY Iolaire is deployed to help 284 men, mostly from the Royal Naval Reserve, make their final journey home.

Metres from land, their hearts rejoicing, HMY Iolaire veers off course and strikes the renowned rocks, Beasts of Holm, causing 201 men to drown on their own doorstep. This was the worst peacetime maritime disaster involving a British vessel, since the Titanic.

This new play explores grief, judgement and solidarity through the eyes of their women as their hardest challenge lies ahead. The performance will include live music and songs. The play is performed in Scottish Gaelic. A free programme with a short synopsis of the play in English will be available.

Written and performed by Mairi Morrison, Bana-Ghaisgich/Heroines is directed by Muireann Kelly and has original music by Mike Vass.

Playwright, singer and performer Mairi Morrison trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Theatre includes Scotties, Cèilidh and Shrapnel (Theatre Gu Leòr), Dunsinane (National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company), Last Tango in Partick (National Theatre of Scotland), Briseadh na Cloiche (Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow), Hallaig (Robhanis), Yellow on the Broom, Perfect Days, Whisky Kisses and The Admirable Crichton (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Away with the Birds (Trigger Stuff), Angus: Weaver of Grass (Horse + Bamboo Theatre), A Dead Man’s Dying (Òran Mór and National Theatre of Scotland), Jacobite Country and The Seer (Dogstar Theatre) and Eat Your Heart Out (Òran Mór).

Morrison’s film and television work includes Outlaw King, Bannan, Katie Morag, Briseadh na Cloiche, Dà Là san Dàmhair and Bad Brown Owl. She also has extensive experience as a voiceover artist and was awarded the New Playwrights Award in 2017.

Tickets: £18, £16 concessions. To book, call the box office on 01223 357851 or visit

Time: 7.30pm.

Running Time: Approximately one hour.

Also at the Finborough Theatre: Jeannie by rediscovered female playwright Aimée Stuart (until December 22, 2018).