Nan Shepherd: Naked and Unashamed

A co-production between Pitlochry and Firebrand Theatre Company, this new play puts the spotlight on Nan Shepherd, Scottish environmentalist, Modernist writer and poet whose book The Living Mountain has been described as a masterpiece in its treatment of mankind’s relationship with nature.

An intriguing pathway to Nan Shepherd and the great outdoors

For lots of us, Nan Shepherd first came to our attention on the Scottish £5 note. With her loosely braided hair and headband, she looked like a Celtic Princess. She was in fact the first woman writer to be on a banknote.

Writers Richard Baron and Ellie Zeegen, in collaboration with Dr Kerri Andrews, want to bring her out of the shadows and put her centre stage. In just 75 minutes, their play, sensitively directed by Baron, tells of the life, loves and beliefs of this extraordinary woman.

Born and living in Aberdeenshire all her days, her intellect and passion took her on a fascinating journey, ahead of many other female contemporaries (she was born in 1893) and to her beloved Cairngorms.

A two-hander in Pitlochry’s studio theatre, it is Irene Allen who brings Nan to life from childhood to her 80s while David Rankine plays the men in her life, from nature loving father to care home worker.

Allen captures with ease the many facets of Nan, from a bouncy eight-year old to a totally committed teacher and writer and sensual lover of her best friend’s husband.

We see her taking her students for lessons in the Cairngorms, urging them to feel the textures of nature, revel in the joys of walking barefoot in the heather and bathe naked in the loch.

Allen with a twinkle in her eye conveys Nan’s wicked sense of humour as she tells of the short story she wrote about nude hikers entitled `Naked and Ashamed.’ (correct).

The work focuses on her book The Living Mountain, written in the 40s but locked away in a drawer for over 30 years. Nan’s friend fellow writer Neil Gunn tells her the world is not ready for it. Forward-thinking feminist and pioneer, she may have been but only published it shortly before her death.

The Living Mountain’s espousal of environmentalism chimes with contemporary views with interest in the book and the woman herself growing. This play provides an intriguing pathway to Nan Shepherd and the great outdoors.

Reviews by Joy Watters

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Sense and Sensibility.

★★★
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Footloose

★★★★
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Nan Shepherd: Naked and Unashamed

★★★★
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BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical

★★★★★
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★★★★
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Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A co-production between Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Firebrand Theatre Company in collaboration with Dr Kerri Andrews 

 “I believe it is the modern fashion to burn your bra, but I’d thrown mine away by 1914.” Nan Shepherd

Following the success of their podcast series, A Journey with Nan Shepherd, award-winning Firebrand’s richly entertaining, funny and moving new play uncovers the extraordinary, unconventional woman behind the glamorous portrait on the Scottish five-pound note.  

Directed by Richard Baron, whose previous Pitlochry Festival Theatre productions include ChicagoThe Last Witch and Heritage.  

Spiced with poetry, humour and romance, the play reveals the untold story of how Nan Shepherd’s experiences as author, teacher, hillwalker and lover helped shape Scotland’s recent literary history; while also solving the mystery of why a manuscript of her ground-breaking masterpiece, The Living Mountain, lay forgotten in a drawer for over 30 years.  

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