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Preview: Woven Bones On Tour

Brand new production written by Laura Lindow offers a unique chance to walk in the shoes of the ‘Scottish Soldiers’ as it tours the route the soldiers marched from Dunbar to Durham

Cap-a-Pie theatre company in partnership with Durham University present:
Woven Bones 
On Tour

When human remains were found in Durham in 2013, archaeologists from Durham University discovered that they belonged to the long lost Scottish Soldiers, prisoners of war from the 1650 Battle of Dunbar, who were forced to march to Durham and imprisoned in the then-disused Cathedral and Castle. 

Photo: North News & Pictures
Developed in partnership with Durham University ahead of a major new exhibition opening in summer 2018, Woven Bones brings to life the untold stories of these Scottish Soldiers. This brand new Cap-a-Pie production by playwright Laura Lindow offers a unique chance to walk in the shoes of the Scottish Soldiers as it tours the route the soldiers marched from Dunbar to Durham. 

Laura Lindow is an award winning Scottish writer/director based in the North East of England. During 20 years of making theatre in the region she has established a reputation for creating work that is lyrical yet punchy with a serious sense of play. Recent writing credits include her critically acclaimed War of the Worlds adaptation for Northern Stage - a process which also involved researching local history to relocate the story to the North East of England; and she is currently a member of the Royal Court Writers Group. Directing credits include New York Times Critics Pick, Key Change for Open Clasp.  

Cast & Creatives - Photo: North News & Pictures
Laura said, ”This project brings together so many disciplines. The process of the Durham University teams working together to tease out the story of the soldiers has been fascinating, so it’s really exciting to collaborate with them. I did some work with the Forensic department at Teesside University years ago, and I was struck by the subject of forensic archaeology and the idea driving it of returning names of missing people to their families. Reading the responses of the Scottish Soldiers’ descendants to the discovery of the remains, I can understand now how true this is - people have a real need to settle on what actually happened."

Dr Anwen Caffell of Durham University
with some of the remains discovered in Durham
Photo: North News & Pictures
The play tells the incredible story of how archaeologists at Durham University used cutting edge science to give these soldiers back their voice. The Battle of Dunbar only lasted one hour, but for the soldiers this brief moment in time changed the course of their whole lives. After each performance, audiences will get the chance to meet some of the Durham University team behind the excavation and hear first-hand their unique tale of finding the skeletons and the painstaking work that went into discovering who they really were.  

The cast are: Gemma Stroyan - from East Lothian, Gemma was nominated for an Off West End award for her role Emilia in Othello, has performed at the Lyceum and appeared on TV in Taggart and as Sciron in CBBC’s Last Commanders; Paula Penman – originally from Ayrshire and now based in Newcastle, Paula has worked as a performer, director and theatre maker, most notably for Northern Stage (The Little Detective Agency), Live Theatre (Donna Disco, Rat Boy), Bush Theatre (Brown Bird) and The Lowry (Then Leap) and her participatory work has also led to collaborations with National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company; and Greig Adam - based in Glasgow, Greig started his professional training on the Musical Theatre Course at the Dance School of Scotland before continuing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he won the Prize for Musical Theatre; his work includes Sleeping Beauty (Citizens Theatre) and Miracle on 34 Parnie Street (Tron Theatre).

Cap-a-Pie Artistic Director, Brad McCormick will direct. Cap-a-Pie has built a reputation for creative collaborations with universities and schools, working with academics and experts alongside the communities in which they work. As well as directing the company’s hit children’s show, Six Legs - a collaboration with Newcastle University insect researcher, Dr Vivek Nityananda and hundreds of local families at Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle - recently Brad worked with students at Barbara Priestman Academy in Sunderland on a production of What Are They Like? which was selected for the National Theatre Connections Festival in London. He is joined by set and costume designer Anna Reid (Rattle Snake, Open Clasp/Live Theatre), with original music by award-winning North East singer-songwriter Katie Doherty, who regularly composes for theatre companies including Northern Stage and Open Clasp.

Prof Chris Gerrard head of Durham University research team
Photo: North News & Pictures
A new exhibition revealing how Durham University archaeologists pieced together evidence to establish the identity of these 17th century Scottish soldiers opens in June.  Featuring a reconstruction of the face of a soldier who was imprisoned and died in Durham following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, the exhibition brings together material from collections across the UK and beyond and shows how the latest scientific techniques have revealed more about the soldiers’ story – how they lived, why they died, and what became of those who survived.  Bodies of Evidence: How Science Unearthed Durham’s Dark Secret opens at Palace Green Library, Durham University from 9 June – 7 October 2018. 

Professor Chris Gerrard of Durham University’s Department of Archaeology said “Through this new exhibition we want to give a voice to these young men who lost their lives more than 300 years ago and show how it’s been possible to find out details about their lives using the latest scientific techniques. This performance adds a new dimension to the huge amount of research that’s gone into uncovering their story and it really brings home the reality of what the soldiers must have gone through as they marched from Dunbar to Durham.” 

Woven Bones is touring June and July 2018 starting in Dunbar and ending in Durham. Visit for more information or to book tickets.
Bleachingfield Centre, Dunbar 25 June
Elsdon Village Hall, Northumberland 26 June
Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 27-28 June
The Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed 29 June
The Customs House, South Shields 3 July
Arts Centre Washington 5 July
Gala Theatre, Durham 6 - 7 July

Exhibition details:
Bodies of Evidence: How Science Unearthed Durham’s Dark Secret Palace Green Library, Durham University 9 June – 7 October 2018
A new exhibition revealing how Durham University archaeologists pieced together evidence to establish the identity of 17th century Scottish soldiers whose remains were unearthed in two mass burial sites in Durham.

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