The Month in Scottish Theatre: November 2018

Just before panto season, and the quiet of January, November features secrets, operas, remembrance and poetry on the Scottish stage.

Feature by Amy Taylor | 05 Nov 2018
  • Unbecoming

Oh, flippin’ heck. It can’t be November, surely? Before Panto season descends, here’s a rough guide to what to expect from the Scottish stage this month, featuring absent friends, long-lost poets and a literal secret play. 


To Absent Friends, a People's Festival of Storytelling and Remembrance takes place at venues across the country from 1-7 November. The festival gives people across Scotland an excuse to remember, to tell stories, to celebrate and to reminisce about people we love who have died. Following its debut at the Fringe, In The Works’ new show The 900 Club returns to the stage as part of the festival, to challenge how we deal with mental illness and our memories of the dead. Written by Ross McFarlane, Ellen Renton, Shannon O’Neill and Bibi June, the show blends minimalistic theatre with Scottish performance poetry and takes the long view on grief, guilt and friendship. 


Ten Feet Tall Theatre’s latest production has no name, no venue, no time slot and no announced cast. It’s a secret! Secret Staging 2, is, in their own words, “a theatre event like no other as the audiences are kept completely in the dark about what they’re seeing, until the lights come up on the evening.” So, a nameless show will be performed by unknown people at an undisclosed time and venue, possibly in Aberdeen, and that’s as much as we know. What we can tell you is that the show runs from 5-10 November and that Ten Feet Tall are an "Aberdeen-based theatre company who aim to test the boundaries of what theatre can offer and find ways to make the artform accessible for all".

The work of WWI poet Charles Hamilton Sorley will return home to Scotland this month, in the highly-acclaimed It Is Easy to be Dead, by Neil McPherson. Opening at the Tivoli Theatre in Aberdeen, running 6-7 November, before moving to Glasgow’s Òran Mór (11-14 Nov), it tells the story of the poet's life through his letters and poetry, with music and songs from some of the greatest composers of the period and recounts the experiences of a young Charles Sorley.  

Scottish Opera’s revival of their 2011 production of Rigoletto continues across Scotland this month, with performances in Aberdeen (1-3 Nov), Edinburgh (9-17 Nov) and Inverness (20-24 Nov). Directed by the award-winning Matthew Richardson (The Devil Inside), the piece is set in a dark and dangerous underworld where cruelty and inhumanity are rife – and women are objects merely to be played with and discarded. It tells the tragic tale of seduction, revenge and a father's suffocating love for his only daughter. A perfect opera for the #MeToo generation, and remember, if you’re 26 or under, you can get tickets for just £10!


Part theatre show, part live gig, Company of Wolves’ Unbecoming begins a Scottish tour at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on 21 Nov. The new solo work by Anna Porubcansky centres on the riot grrrl movement, and this dynamic and provocative piece focuses on women and individual, group and societal expectation, obligation and desire, inviting audiences into the twisting corridors of a woman’s mind.

It may not be Christmas yet, but festive-themed productions can easily be found this month, starting with Tortoise in a Nutshell’s new kids show, Flutter. Beginning a new tour at the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh on 25 November (it spends December at Platform in Glasgow, Lyth Arts Centre and the Dundee Rep), this interactive and immersive performance promises to transport you to a world filled with snow drifts, winding paths and twinkling stars. A rich palette of materials, puppetry and music combine to create a tactile and multi-sensory show for small hands, eyes, ears and noses; for kids aged 2-6 (and their adults).