Local schoolchildren perform Burns classic

Scottish Opera's Primary Schools Tour of Tam o' Shanter
Scottish Opera's Primary Schools Tour of Tam o' Shanter

Primary school pupils across Dumfries and Galloway will rehearse and perform an opera based on Robert Burns’ iconic poem Tam o’Shanter this month.

Scottish Opera’s annual Primary Schools Tour hit the road in January with The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter, a show created to re-introduce young people to the works of the celebrated Scottish poet.

Written especially for children in primaries 5, 6 and 7, the fast-paced adventure features original lyrics by Ross Stenhouse and music by Karen MacIver, who also wrote the music for Scottish Opera’s popular family show, The Little White Town of Never Weary (2016).

The show follows a farmer named Tam o’ Shanter as he makes his way home from market day with his faithful horse Meg.

As the night grows darker, the rain falls and the wind shrieks through the branches of the trees, he finds himself outside the church where he discovers a coven of witches dancing.

Fascinated, Tam stops to watch, but suddenly one of them spots him, and he and Meg must run for their lives.

Schools are provided with materials to introduce the songs from the poem to pupils in advance, then a team of Scottish Opera performers will spend a day rehearsing the pupils for a choreographed, fully-costumed performance for family and friends.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: “Our children’s operas make learning both enjoyable and challenging, giving pupils the opportunity to participate in a high-quality, day-long music theatre workshop that ends with a performance for parents and guests. Originally commissioned in 2002, this vibrant interpretation of Burns’ iconic poem enables a new generation to explore the culture, identity and language that remain key to the enduring appeal of Scotland’s most famous poet.”

Performances are at Locharbriggs and Cargenbridge schools on March 27, Lincluden Primary on March 28, Sanquhar and Kelloholm schools on March 29, Noblehill Primary on March 30 and Lochside, Holywood and Shawhead schools on March 31.