With the Devil's Assistance
Tickets: pay what you decide age 14+ (Contains potentially distressing themes)
A highly physical storytelling performance from Shona Cowie, with original live music from accordionist Neil Sutcliffe.
There is a legend that a 17th century witch built a house, on a plot of land situated on Ayr High Street, in just one night - with the Devil’s assistance. Performer Creator Shona Cowie has been unpacking this legend, with the support of Ayrshire Historian Halima Cambell. The story has at its centre a real woman, a 17th century entrepreneur named Maggie Osbourne, who built and ran a successful business on the plot. Maggie was responsible for bringing significant wealth and employment to (what was then) one of Scotland's richest towns. Maggie’s skill, power and the fact she was a woman didn’t go unnoticed though and she was executed as a witch on Ayr’s High Street just opposite her business, number 82.
Contains potentially distressing themes. Age category: 14+
“Cowie’s storytelling is an entertaining thrill. She moves from the conversational to the comic to the otherworldly with ease, her tone of voice and physicality bringing to life a well-sculpted story...a purposeful examination of feminism, patriarchy and capitalism then and now” - The Scotsman
Supported by Creative Scotland
An experienced storyteller, facilitator and director with a broad international career. After training with the Central School of Speech and Drama and L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq, she founded story-education company Fosforo, in São Paulo, Brazil and travelled with her collective Senza across Europe and Tunisia to research and platform stories of Mediterranean migration.
Since 2018 she has worked closely with European leaders in applied storytelling - The Village Storytelling Centre - with whom her work was awarded by the Scottish Civic Trust as ‘exceptional work with young people’. She ran pioneering storytelling projects in the care and recovery sectors and became one of Glasgow Life’s 2019 Artists in Residents. Recently, Shona joined the Executive Committee of the Federation of European Storytellers as their Young Storytellers' Representative. She is dedicated to living heritage and bringing front and centre those who have been pushed aside in our stories.
Neil is an accordionist, singer and pianist from Stirling, Scotland. He comes from a mixed musical background, with roots in jazz, traditional and classical music. In 2021 he graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a BMus (Hon) on the classical accordion, and since then has been performing and recording around Scotland. Alongside his musical career, he is a regular collaborator with other art forms, including storytelling, film, dance and BSL performance. Neil is passionate about making music of all kinds accessible and relatable to audiences, and regularly weaves elements of storytelling, song and poetry into his work.
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