By Suzie Miller. Directed by Ross MacKay Designed by Becky Minto Lighting Design by Andy Gannon Composition and Sound Design by Jim Harbourne Video Design by Lewis Den Hertog Performed by Scott Gilmour Production Management by Fi Fraser Technical Stage Management by Katy Steele Assistant Designed by Fraser Lappin Assistant Production Management by Catherine Deveraux
Produced by Ross MacKay, Freshly Squeezed Productions and The Uncertainty Principle.
A young Victorian medium accused of a terrible crime plunges the depths of his own conscience in a tale where death is only the beginning. .James MacGregor is on trial for his life. His one hope is his last witness. But with charlatans lurking around every corner how can you be sure what’s real and what’s illusion?
An atmospheric thriller using stunning imagery, magic, live music, puppetry and performance to create a world of death, danger and deception.
Created by Fringe First award winning theatre maker, Ross MacKay and multi-award winning internationally renowned playwright Suzie Miller.
'High production values and a compelling narrative...a suitably haunting experience.'
Dylan Taylor, All Edinburgh Theatre
'an impressively well-made show'
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
'incredibly insightful direction'
Eddie Reynolds, Theatre Eddys
Photos by Richard Frew
Lyceum Theatre By Suhayla El-Bushra Directed by Joe Douglas Designed by Francis O'Connor Lighting Design by Mark Doubleday Movement by Emma Jayne Park Music by Tarek Merchant Video Design by Jamie Macdonald Puppets made by Simon Auton
Puppetry Direction and Magic Consultancy by Ross MacKay
Join us in the bustling bazaar of Baghdad for this sparkling adventure featuring tales of Sinbad, Ali Baba and mysterious genies, not to mention hidden treasure, a chess-playing monkey, a flying horse and a whole host of heroes and villains.
Rich with suspense, enchantment, and fun, the ancient tales of The Arabian Nights are irresistible for all ages. Book your seats for a magic carpet ride that will transport your family to the glittering heat of a marvellous faraway land.
'Joe Douglas’s direction combines with Ross MacKay’s puppet direction and magic effects to ensure that scenes cascade as El-Bushra’s thrilling script intends'
Clare Brennan, The Observer
'a parade of seemingly effortless and ravishing effects; some moments of theatrical sleight-of-hand show how magic can be created without recourse to technology. There is also some clever puppetry alongside some truly wonderful use of shadowplay and projection.'
Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre
Photos by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
The audience reviews our Christmas adventure, The Arabian Nights
By Ann Sofie Oxenvad and Tortoise in a Nutshell Directed by Ross MacKay Designed by Ana Ines Jabares-Pita Lighting Design by Simon Wilkinson Movement by Darren Brownlie Composition and Sound Design by Jim Harbourne Performed and Devised by Arran Howie and Alex Bird Production Management by Andy Gannon Produced by Dawn Taylor Assistant Produced by Nick Wong
Tortoise in a Nutshell in co-production with Teater Katapult in association with Macrobert Arts Centre.
‘Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not just fish they are after’ – Henry David Thoreau
Amidst a vast, cascading expanse of ocean, a tiny boat is tossed through rolling waves and thundering storms, a speck amidst immense turbulent seas. Steadily rowing forward into nothingness is a fisherman. Sailing to nowhere, he looks out as the darkness looms and prepares himself to leap...
But before he can jump out, something else jumps in. Fisk is a story of a man and a fish, and the unexpected impact they have upon one another.
Multi-award winning Tortoise in a Nutshell weave puppetry, movement and intricate design to create world class visual theatre. Examining themes of depression, support and interconnection, Fisk will draw audiences into an atmospheric and immersive world, on a journey which will find joy in even the deepest and darkest of depths
'Tortoise in a Nutshell and Teater Katapult, under the skilful direction of Ross MacKay, have created a gorgeous piece of thought-provoking theatre'
Irene Brown, Edinburgh Guide
'director Ross MacKay and his team... are to be commended on the sensitivity and thoughtfulness with which they approach such an important and difficult subject.'
Mark Brown, Sunday Herald
Photos by Jens Peter Engedal
George's Marvellous Medicine
Dundee Rep Written by Roald Dahl Adaption by Stuart Paterson Directed by Joe Douglas Designed by Ana Ines Jaberes-Pita Lighting by Mark Doubleday Sound buy Michael John McCarthy Movement by Chris Wilson
Puppetry Direction by Ross MacKay
George will both delight and disgust with his mission to make his grumpy, mean old grandma a better person by concocting a medicine so potent it makes her body stretch higher than the house. He then decides to try it on the chickens to hilarious effect!
As George himself puts it: “I’ll make her a new medicine so fierce and so fantastic it will either cure her completely or blow the top of her head right off!”
Following on from Dundee Rep's success of The Witches and The BFG, George’s Marvellous Medicine was adapted by Stuart Paterson and directed by Dundee Rep’s Associate Director Joe Douglas.
'It is the appearance of a Giant Chicken, however, which really gets the young crowd going in a playful antidote to grumpy relatives everywhere'
Neil Cooper, The Herald
'Outside, the family shed is home to a host of inflatable animals, responsible for much of the show’s laughter.'
Kelly Apter, The Times
Photos by Jane Hobson
The Lost Things
By Tortoise In A Nutshell & Oliver Emanuel Directed by Ross MacKay Designed by Amelia Bird Lighting Design by Simon Wilkinson Composition and Sound Design by Jim Harbourne Performed and Devised by Arran Howie and Alex Bird Production Management by Andy Gannon
Originally Commissioned by Imaginate and supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Expo Fund.
A boy falls and finds himself in a dark and terrifying new world.
It’s a world of lost things: car keys, wedding rings, dads, and a mysterious girl who is building an amazing machine.
Performed in a unique dome structure, The Lost Things is about losing things and finding things you didn’t even know you were looking for. This is a dark fairytale set in a fantastical world, where nothing is quite as it seems.
Created by award winning theatre company, Tortoise in a Nutshell (Feral, Grit) and writer, Oliver Emanuel (Dragon, Titus, The Day I swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish).
For ages 9+
'Tortoise in a Nutshell returns to the haunting atmosphere they created in The Last Miner with this exquisite encompassing piece of theatre'
Irene Brown, Edinburgh Guide
'the show, directed by Ross MacKay, is at its best in its more intimate moments, thanks to affecting characterisations from Bird and Howie and a score by Jim Harbourne that adds further emotional texture to the scenario.'
Allan Radcliffe, The Times
Photos by Eoin Carey
By Tortoise in a Nutshell Directed by Ross MacKay Designed by Amelia Bird Lighting Design by Simon Wilkinson Composition & Sound Design by Jim Harbourne Production Management by JJ Mcgregor Technical Management by Andy Gannon
Feral is an innovative piece of visual theatre that combines puppetry, film and live sound to create and destroy a world in front of its audience’s eyes. Joe looks back at the town of his childhood. Bright, vibrant and idyllic, the world resembles a haven of comfort. But as Joe journeys on, walls and lives are peeled back and the story of a community’s fall unfolds around him.
A cross art form piece, Feral seamlessly blends film and live performance. Puppeteers manipulate and bring to life a tiny world, whilst simultaneously creating a live animation, as they follow it’s every breath via digital camera.
Feral is a co-production between Edinburgh’s Tortoise in a Nutshell and Cumbernauld Theatre. It was originally developed and presented by the National Theatre of Scotland as part of their Reveal Season 2012. At the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival it was both shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award and was a winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award.
‘Technically, visually, aurally and politically, it’s a tremendous show.’
Mark Fisher, The Scotsman
‘Bespoke - and quite brilliant’
Allan Radcliffe, The Times
Winner Scotsman Fringe First Awards 2013
Nominee Total Theatre Awards 2013
Photos by Amy Downes
Dundee Rep By Roald Dahl Adapted by David Wood Directed by Joe Douglas Designed by Jean Chan Lighting Design by David Cunningham Music by Michael John McCarthy Movement by EJ Boyle Puppets created by Tortoise in a Nutshell
Puppets Direction and Magic Consultancy by Ross MacKay
When Sophie spies a giant figure making his way along the road, she is spotted! Snatched! and soon begins her long journey to Giant Country.
Luckily for Sophie, this giant is the Big Friendly Giant who doesn’t eat ‘human beans’ - just foul tasting snozzcumbers, fizzy frobscottle, and conjures the loudest whizzpoppers you have ever heard!
Soon the unlikely duo team up to save the world from the horrible child-eating giants from Giant Country assisted by the Army, the Airforce, and even the Queen! The pair hatch a plan to capture the giants so the BFG can once again, collect and distribute good dreams to children all over the world.
As the world’s number one storyteller, Roald Dahl has captivated the minds of the young and the young at heart for many years, with stories that encourage squeals of both terror and delight, bringing the wildest of imaginations and dreams to life.
So come on a journey with Sophie and the BFG – you won't believe your gogglers!
'it has such a strong sense of the magic of storytelling – captured in Stephanie MacGregor’s fine performance as Sophie, in the beautiful little puppet version of Sophie'
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
'Douglas' production captures the story's sense of wonder, with both Craig and Stephanie McGregor as Sophie operating their puppet selves with considerable charm... It's when we finally see The BFG stretch to his full height, however, the show becomes massive.'
Neil Cooper, The Herald
Photos by Viktoria Begg
The BFG Puppetry
Not Worth A Jot
Dundee Rep Created and Devised by Dundee Rep Community Ensemble Directed by Ross MacKay Design by Leila Kalbassi Music created by Dundee Rep Community Ensemble Musical Direction by Jim Harbourne
ot Worth a Jot scratches through the glamour and sheen of the 1920s to expose what’s lurking underneath. A world full of crime and corruption: a world where amorality is a virtue and deviousness a blessing: a world much like our own.
A new king is being crowned and hope is once again rising in the city. Cop or crook, whore or reverend, this is a new era, a chance to escape the past.
Devised and created by Dundee Rep’s Community Company, Not Worth a Jot is a play with songs that bursts onto the stage with all the bravado and swagger of a 1920s Cabaret.
Photos by Viktoria Begg
The Last Polar Bears
By Harry Horse Adapted by Joe Douglas Directed by Joe Douglas Designed by Thomasin Marshall
Puppets created and Puppetry Direction by Ross MacKay
The Last Polar Bears tells the story of an old man and his dog, Roo, on a quest to the North Pole to see the polar bears before all the ice melts.
The Company undertook a four week tour on bicycles, visiting primary schools in Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, East Lothian and Edinburgh.
On tour, the play was followed by a workshop for pupils which explored the production, as well as issues of climate change and cycling. As part of the production’s legacy towards climate change and to safeguard the future of polar bears, the National Theatre of Scotland adopted 17 Svalbard Polar Bears with the World Wildlife Fund to give to each of the primary schools on the tour.
The play was performed in the natural light of school halls using puppetry and live music. The cast and crew cycled the three hundred mile round trip to venues, on custom-built bikes, for the duration of the tour. The bicycles were made from reclaimed bikes by Glasgow’s Bike Station and funded by Mackie’s of Scotland.
The cast carried all costumes, set, props and personal belongings on their bikes throughout the tour.
Supported by Mackie’s of Scotland.
Photos by the company
By Tortoise in a Nutshell Directed by Ross MacKay Composition and Sound Design by Jim Harbourne Performed by Arran Howie, Alex Bird and Matthew Leonard
Amy pores over the memories of her late father, a war photographer, journeying into his past working in conflict zones across the globe.
Examining the stories behind the lens, three performers conjure up dazzling images with cardboard, sand and shadow.
Grit blends puppetry, projection and object manipulation to create an intimate and engaging piece of visual theatre.
The piece is a poignant study inspired by real experiences of children and young people and questions what the value of innocence and imagination are in worlds of conflict.
Tortoise in a Nutshell are an Edinburgh based visual theatre company aiming to create work that stirs and ignites the imagination. The company are currently in residency with Cumbernauld theatre.
‘This is a truly striking and accomplished piece of visual theatre’
Ed Wren, Total Theatre
‘A beautiful show, full of rich object-theatre invention, demonstrating what you can achieve with little more than an overhead projector and a lot of cardboard’
Mark Fisher, Scotland on Sunday.
‘A genuinely exciting young company who are clearly brimful of ideas’ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian.
Photos by Mihaela Bodlovic
In the Heart of Darby Park
By Suzie Miller Directed by Ross MacKay Performed by Lewis Howden, Stephanie McGregor and Will Ruane
Produced by A Play, A Pie and A Pint and Perth Theatre.
In the Heart of Darby Park is a form shifting thriller which focuses upon unravelling related events running over different time sequences. The play is full of drama and keeps the audience questioning right up until the last moment. It's a powerful piece that stays with you.
A girl has gone missing
Do her friends know more than they are saying?
A body has been found, and yet the police are getting nowhere
A father takes justice into his own hands
Evidence is discovered and discounted, nothing is as it seems.
Unraveling the stories within stories, hidden truths, secrets and lies.
A play about envy, jealousy and every changing nature of ‘truth’.
The play takes place over the course of one weekend focusing on the police interviews with school girl Elsa and the strained relationship between Anton, the dead girls father and her son Lindon who seems to know more than he is letting on.
'Miller’s tense, powerfully-written text still makes space for fine performances from Lewis Howden as Anton, Stephanie McGregor and Wiliam Ruane; in a stark modern whodunnit sharply directed by Ross MacKay.'
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
Photos by Leslie Black
The Last Miner
By Tortoise in a Nutshell Directed by Ross MacKay Performed by Arran Howie and Alex Bird Composition and Sound Design by Jim Harbourne Design by Lucy McGlennon Music Produced by David Lawrie
The Last Miner was developed in association with one of Scotland’s most successful theatre companies, Catherine Wheels. It was initially funded by Ideas Tap’s ‘Edinburgh Award
Under your feet lies a secret, a place full of shadows and memories, the home of a forgotten soul, The Last Miner.
For years one man has lived underground in the place he used to work, hiding from his memories and the constantly changing world above. But as the roof of his home begins to collapse and his past comes flooding back, he’ll be left with a choice. Should he stay down below? Or come back up into the world he left so long ago?
Using puppetry, light and an innovative soundscape, The Last Miner is an immersive, original tale remembering an amazing life amongst the coal dust.
'This company understands what it takes to make a memorable and engaging children's show that transcends age barriers' Allan Radcliffe, The List
'This is a company with a great deal of skill and potential' Darren East, Animations Online
‘Tortoise in a Nutshell’s youthful and manifestly talented five-member company wonderfully sustains a world of enchantment tinged with pathos’ Brian G Cooper, The Stage