Abbot House Heritage Centre – Spring Festival 2013

‘Bless you! Our poet here is famed for writing in ‘New Scots’, not English, like that Master Chaucer all the way down in Canterbury. Our master Robert could show that man a thing or two about writing, I am sure of it!’ – Mrs. Mouse, The Poet and The Mouse, © Sadie Dixon-Spain 2013

Date: Sunday, 30th March 2013

Location: Abbot House Heritage Centre, Dunfermline

Project: “The Poet and The Mouse”

Nestled in it’s own breathtaking gardens; Abbot House Heritage Centre stands proudly in Dunfermline, Fife. With a rich, complex history, and scenery, which lends to the tranquil setting, Abbot House is a perfect location for a Walking Theatre Company production!

We were thrilled to be contacted by Dr. Devon McHugh from Abbot House, who was in the process of developing the Heritage Centre’s Spring Festival.

The project saw TWTC developing a ‘walking’ theatre production based on Robert Henryson’s translations of Aesop’s Fables, and focused on Spring themes, such as animal life, food, and the idea of growing, particularly developing local knowledge and interest in a local medieval poet.

In the latter part of the fifteenth century, beloved poet Robert Henryson, resided in Dunfermline. As one of the great names in medieval literature, it is safe to say, Henryson is one of the finest poets Scotland has ever produced.

His masterpiece, Testament of Cresseid, is a powerful work, that has been called the most original poem written by a Scot. The poem is in the form of a cycle of thirteen verse-fables, and explore stories of animals, adapted from Aesop and the European beast-fable tradition. However, throughout the works, it is clear Henryson has expanded on the brief originals, giving them a strong Scottish influence.

Following vast research into the works of Henryson, and Aesop’s fables, TWTC’s in-house playwright and Artistic Director, Sadie Dixon-Spain, created “The Poet and the Mouse”; a new walking theatre play, site-specific to the grounds of Abbot House. The play is a fun filled family adventure, where our audience have come along to take part in all that a medieval fayre has to offer, an apprentice sale, a slave market and of course plenty of tall story telling. Meet the characters of Dumferline, who inspired Robert to develop Aesop’s ‘Morall Fabillis’ into the wonderful stories we have today.

For more information on Abbot House Heritage Centre, please visit

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