What's On


Written and performed by Lea Taylor and Nicola Wright

Anyone with a love, fascination or curiosity about dogs ─ this is the show for you. A fun event which allows the audience to venture into a world seen through the eyes of dogs! Utterly barking stories to lift the heart, laugh out loud, cry and reconsider the value of man and woman’s best friend.

Lea's best friend, sadly no longer with us, inspired the idea for Pedigree Tales.

Lea Taylor and Nicola Wright are professional storytellers with a wealth of storytelling experience, and international acclaim. They are skilled practitioners with a diverse repertoire in writing, performing and delivering unique events. Their latest show ‘Pedigree Tales‘ is a light-hearted romp that is guaranteed to make you smile. These two are in the ‘not to be missed’ category.

‘Hysterical - I haven’t laughed like that in an age. Very funny and also thought provoking.’

'I loved having the opportunity to be able to talk about my dog at the end. A great show.'


Written and performed by Borders Pub Theatre

Four bite size film plays inspired by the work of James Hogg, the famous Borders poet and essayist, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth, from the new 

playwriting collective Borders Pub Theatre.  


The plays: 

In the Fold by Campbell Hutcheson; 

I Hear His Voice by Robert Sproul-Cran; 

Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Anita John; 

James Hogg and the Corbie Craw by Roger Simian 

Borders Pub Theatre is an exciting new theatre-making venture in the Scottish Borders, led by playwrights and for Borders audiences. Supported by Playwright Studio Scotland, in the first two years, the troupe of playwrights and actors have continued to write and perform their work locally and in the first DunsPlayFest in 2019.

A play by Michael Fenty

The Wilson Tales project is presenting an annual award for dramatisation of a Tale. The inaugural award will be given to Michael Fenty for previous plays based on the Tales before the play.






In this Tale, Jamie is a Walter Mitty character, a fantasist at a time when it wasn't safe to be so.

In the nineteenth century,  a desire for greater representation grew into the Chartists, trade unionism, riots and rebellion. This led to suppression,with severe punishments, by a government afraid of revolution. People reading Wilson's Tales would have noted these events in the newspapers, the social media of their day.















Michael Fenty has presented Jamie's misadventures in a more light-hearted way as his   " leein' " gets him into deeper and hotter water with the audience involved in his capers. If you would like to read the original version click here.


Six 15-minute plays and a monologue 

​Written and performed by Duns Players and 

Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal​

Duns Players Playwrights: Eloner Crawford, Craig Knight,and Kevin Purvis​

Brewery Arts Centre Playwrights: Beth Saunders, Jules 

Boswell, a collaboration between Bill Barrington, Muriel Hildrew, Audrey Mason, Mary Ripley, Kathy Talbot, and

Chrissy Ogilvie​


Duns Players: a story set in an imagined future on the hard border between an independent Scotland and England; a married couple try to negotiate how best to proceed when one of them wants to go it alone; and a ghost story that takes place in the same Border’s tavern 

500 years apart, merging the medieval with the present. 


Brewery Arts Centre: a monologue of how a simple garden border poses a serious security 

threat; strange and frightening things are happening in a Borders convent; Scotland has achieved independence but when the boundary between Scotland and England moves, it brings chaos to a family; five disparate people wait to cross an international border. As night falls there is confusion and a serious problem.  

This is the first joint production between Duns Players and Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal.​



Credit: Joyce Ambrose


Steeple Chase for the Third Millennium

Barry Findlay

Ice has melted. Seas have risen. Time is ticking. Hope is fading. This hard-hitting, short film uses powerful 

imagery and masterful wordplay to immerse you in a swirling, apocalyptic seascape that will see you reaching for 

your water wings and wishing we had more time to avert 

climatic catastrophe. 
















Jonathan Findlay, a keen writer, has supported DunsPlayFest since its launch. With Steeplechase, 

he tackles the grim subject of Climate Change with conscience-pounding poetic skill. His work 

reminds us to never underestimate the power of words!  


Written and performed by John McEwen

What is Scotland actually like? Is Scotland like anything? As a history of Scottish Literature comes cascading out of a magic basket, John McEwen asks the question: 'Country: Scotland. Whit like is it?’ Fun, revealing and thought provoking.




John McEwen

Actor, writer, director. Chair of Duns Players. Founder and director of DunsPlayFest. Founder member of Borders Pub Theatre. Writer of (plays) We Will Remember Them, You Dunce!, Margarets, The Beginning of the End of the First World War, It Takes Two. Writer of (books) Women Are Normal, Susanna and the Aminals, Great Uncle Fred's Book of Answers. Among parts played are King Lear, Banquo, Gonzalo, Rickie Roma and Charles Columbine.


A play written by Jane Houston Green
Performed by Nick Tomlin and Jane Houston Green

A world in turmoil with everything falling apart means that Harriet and Michael need to have a serious talk about the future and whether any holiday is responsibly safe to plan. While we all need to hold onto our dream for better times and adventures will they stay on track or fall at the first crossing?  











Jane Houston Green  

Jane has spent a lifetime working in theatres throughout the UK and further afield in Russia, America and Africa. Living in Zimbabwe she helped to develop theatre and film while acting and training others in numerous productions. She is Artistic Director of Treading The Borders Theatre Company and as an active participant of the Moving Image Makers Collective she makes experimental films. She has also written a variety of plays and short stories.



A grudge game between Duns and Berwick

The legendary improvisation show shaped the landscape of TV comedy when it first appeared on our screens back in 1988. However, this version is all our own. Genny Dixon will host a panel of highly-skilled local, and not so local, comedians competing in a series of improvisation games, guided by suggestions from Genny and the audience. Some of the games will encourage audience participation from those who are brave enough….all in good fun! Via Zoom.


Performed by the Northumberland Theatre Company

Adapted by NTC Associate Director Louis Roberts

A retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of the gentle Dr Jekyll who experiments with human nature, believing that each person has both good and evil sides that can be brought forth chemically. Jekyll tests a serum on himself, releasing his vicious alter ego, Mr. Hyde, on 19th-century London. When the serum's effects wear off, Jekyll vows never to take it again. But Hyde is not gone for good.






The Northumberland Theatre Company is a professional small-scale touring theatre company based at The Dovecote Centre in Amble. They tour shows around the country, predominantly using village halls and community centres as venues in small rural towns and villages. They recently had success with 2 online shows: “The elf who saved Santa” and “Heroines of the Holocaust” (in association with Gosforth Civic Theatre/The Brundibar Festival).

A Journey of Home (online)

Two Destination Language

A Journey of a Home (online) is a 20 minute audio piece about migration, the nature of travel and home. The work is best experienced whilst walking (or looking out of a window if you prefer to stay inside). 

With themes of identity, border crossing and migration at the heart of the work, the piece deals with the ‘long moment’ created through the act of travelling, in which hope meets reality, the place where we simultaneously look towards the future and back at what we have just left.










Credit; Katherina Radeva


This piece tells the story of a young woman’s journey to the UK. The story is fragmented by a second voice who questions and reminisces on ideas of travel and its availability, home, language, time and what it might feel to be one of the many at the long queue before passport control.

In gently questioning what home is, the piece reflects on all things that make our home- family, friends, environments and possessions- the physical things which support, reinforce and bound our identity.

A Journey of a Home was nominated for The Spirit of the Festival Award (The Judges’ Award) Clonmel Junction Festival, Ireland and selected for World Stage Design.

Written and performed by Katherina Radeva and Alister Lownie



with Lea Taylor, Nicola Wright and Tim Porteus

Three skilful storytellers who will captivate you with theirtraditional local, national, and international tales. These stories are suitable for people who love a good story of 

any age. 

Lea Taylor 

Lea has been a freelance storyteller for over fifteen 

years and often works collaboratively with all manner of artists ranging from dancers, musicians, artists, and she positively relishes a challenge. A recipient for Creative 

Arts Scotland, Tasgadh and Centenary Vote 100 funding, 

Lea has taken her work far and wide across Scotland 

and beyond. 

Nicola Wright  

Nicola Wright is an historical storyteller; her projects range from Suffragettes and U boats to Antarctic explorers. She is currently researching the lives of climate pioneer James Croll and the radical revolutionary Robert Wedderburn. 

Tim Porteus 

Tim loves sharing the wonderful world of folklore, 

mythology, and legend, but he has also developed an 

interest in collecting and telling modern urban tales, as well as personal family stories and reminiscences. Tim 

has an MA (Honours) in History, and he loves using tales 

from the oral tradition to make history more fun and 




An upbeat, modern take on Traditional songs and tunes.

Hailing from both sides of the Scottish Border, The 

Coostie Folk were formed by Berwickshire High School schoolmates Rory (guitar, bagpipes), Ewan (whistle, 

mandolin) and Maddy (fiddle, vocals) in 2016.  


In the following five years, the band has grown to include Will (drums, sound), and Charlie (fiddle), who have added layers of musical depth and talent to our ranks and 

turned the group into a lean, not so mean, performing machine. Seeking to bring a new, up-to-date and 

distinctly Borders sound to traditional Scottish music, the group have gone on to play numerous events, from weddings and school dances, to festivals and concerts.

Their initial arrangements, including Shetland Square Park (found on their Soundcloud) and recordings were heavily influenced by the great Harris Playfair, Carly Blain and Jenna Reid, all of whom have tutored members of the band at some stage. A group of seasoned performers, as individuals, each of the band has performed or produced at major events such as Celtic Connections, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as well as more local events and venues such as Berwick Radio Rooms, The Parish Huddersfield and The Castle Manchester. 



Iconic Berwickshire rock duo, putting a rocky spin on all of your favourite songs.

Huffman and DITCHAM joined forces over ten years ago, and since then there has been no stopping them (except for a global pandemic). Canadian schoolteacher Derek Huffman first met multi-instrumentalist and all-round ‘okay guy’ Chris Ditcham when he saw him kicking a football by himself in a field and took pity.


This was followed by the dynamic duo teaming up to write and record their own music, playing covers at festivals around the Borders and Northumberland, stagediving in a small pub, having a whisky or two, and supporting the Beatles’ Pete Best in Liverpool.













With cover songs ranging from Adele to Zeppelin, they appeal to a range of tastes. Never to be described as ‘background music’, Huffman and Ditcham play as an acoustic duo that sounds like a full band, inviting the crowd to be the third member.


Brand new alt-rock duo, hailing from the South of Scotland.

Midnight Ambulance are a two-piece alternative rock band from Scotland. Amelia and Fraser met briefly on the Edinburgh music scene nine years ago, when performing with their respective bands. After losing contact, they reconnected at the start of 2020 and discussed the idea of collaborating.

Fraser has worked in music for the last ten years — in various bands, as a session/function musician, teacher and songwriter. For the last four years, he has worked as a tour manager and backline technician for international artists such as Fatherson (inc. Lewis Capaldi’s EU tour), Idlewild and Skegss. As the pandemic brought the music industry to a standstill, he decided to return to writing and playing his own music, and built a writing studio at his rural, seaside Scottish home.

Amelia has been song writing since age 10. She has worked around the world (including Chile, Mexico and France), writing songs and poetry wherever she went. During the pandemic, Amelia was based in Paris, working for an international creative agency. Confined to her flat, she too made her own creative space, with a travel guitar, microphone and electronic drum kit and some home-made soundproofing.














This need to be creative led Fraser and Amelia to start collaborating during lockdown. Writing together offered a creative focus which developed into a supportive space and cathartic outlet. They quickly developed a strong musical partnership, writing 70+ songs via video call by July 2020. On Amelia’s return to Scotland, after eight months of writing together, they finally had the opportunity to jam live and decided to form Midnight Ambulance.

Midnight Ambulance is a fusion of Amelia and Fraser’s different but complementary styles, favouring unconventional rhythms, bold guitar and raw vocals. Both from rural Scottish towns, they take inspiration from their environment, a shared love of nature and the unruly Scottish wilderness. From jazz and electronic music, hip-hop and low-fi surf-rock, Fraser has toured with artists that have influenced his writing, such as Fatherson, Lewis Capaldi, Idlewild, Skegss and Ruby Fields. He takes inspiration from their lyrics’ authenticity and earthy, expressive guitar playing. Amelia finds inspiration in poetry; in particular, Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral’s use of metaphor to depict acute personal experience. Amelia explores this relationship between the universal and the personal in her writing. Time working in Chile and her love of Scottish traditional music influenced her playing, favouring unusual rhythmic placements.



with Gilly Beckett

Gilly writes both contemporary and historical fiction. In the past six years she has tutored creative writing sessions for public libraries and the U3A. Gilly’s focus is facilitating and tutoring creative writing sessions for mindfulness and wellbeing, with support from Lapidus 












Her workshops follow a simple but effective format: how do you feel today? What’s affecting your mood today?  Write it down. What can you see? What can you hear?  Write it down. Capture a memory, one of your happiest moments or your favourite way to spend the day – 

write with prompts, pictures, and each other.​

Feedback from workshop participants:  

‘Well-structured and spaced out. Good amount of time for writing. Very Interesting’ 


with Ruth Kirkpatrick

Join international storyteller Ruth Kirkpatrick, via Zoom, for an online workshop of story and craft. 

From your home, with your children or grandchildren, you can transform an old A5 envelope with 

some simple, basic craft materials into a puppet. In the first section of the workshop, you will hear an 

action packed traditional story, then take some 

time out to make your puppet/s. After, you and 

your children can help Ruth retell the story with your 

puppet in hand.​

All ages welcome. Children must have adult supervision.

Born in the North East of Scotland, Ruth is known as a Tradition Bearer in the professional storytelling world, having been lucky enough to ‘sit at the knee’

of some of the great storytellers which Scotland has borne. Ruth’s project and publication, “Stories Allways” successfully combines her skills to develop innovative ways to use storytelling with children and families. She has pioneered storytelling approaches in her role of Storytelling Development Worker for Children 1st. 

Ruth’s real strength is in forming a warm, authentic rapport with her audience, respecting the storytelling tradition and giving her performance a loving, feisty sparkle. This makes her a popular guest at Festivals worldwide, including Iceland, England, Singapore, Belgium, Dubai, Ireland and India. She was awarded the Commission at Festival at the Edge in 2017 where she successfully created a ‘one woman’ show.  

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22-29 May 2021

© 2021 Duns Players