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Upcoming Creative Pathways Performance in Edinburgh


A pioneering initiative at Previously… Scotland’s history festival has brought together The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, The National Archives and city charity Impact Arts to create a unique dramatic invocation of a 128 year old murder, trial and execution.

‘We Had A Story, We Had A Life’, November 23rd at Adam House is a collaborative performance piece, drawing on the life and death of Francis Cockburn, a nailers apprenticed hanged in 1828 for the murder of his employer.

Post-graduate history researchers data-mined Scotland’s archives to unearth the tragic story surrounding the crime and resulting trial of 17 year old Francis.

Impact Arts, who work with young people to help them increase their future life prospects, were presented with this research, and have created a dynamic performance piece to bring Francis and the people who surrounded him back to life.

Susan Morrison, director Previously…Scotland’s history festival said “This project is what our festival is all about. We brought the University, the Archives and Impact Arts together to create a new way of looking at history. The university postgrads did us proud in the National Archives to bring out this tragic story, and the young people of Impact Arts just ran with it. Don’t forget, these are young people the same age as Frances when he was sent to the scaffold. The resonances between the past and the present are almost overwhelming.

Spokesperson Impact Arts

Jay McAllister, Regional Manager at Impact Arts said “The opportunity to work with Previously Scotland’s History Festival has been fantastic for the young people involved in our Creative Pathways Theatre Arts course. Creative Pathways is an employability programme supporting young people to develop skills for employment in the cities creative industries. Everyone has been incredibly supportive during the development of the performance – the participants have not only created a unique piece of theatre they have also created fabulous sets and costume. We are very much looking forward to bringing history to life”

Spokesperson University of Edinburgh

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