Move heads for the beach after 18 months in theatre quarantine

Move heads for the beach after 18 months in theatre quarantine

Move / credit: Stewart Attwood

Julia Taudevin's stories of migration take on extra significance for our isolated times

Different times, eh? One of the last shows to play in Scotland before the pandemic was Move, Julia Taudevin's elegiac interpretation of ancient Gaelic keening rituals. It played a handful of village halls in the Western Isles, made a fleeting appearance at Celtic Connections, and then the world shut down. Had Taudevin been tempting fate to have called her new company Disaster Plan?

Back at last, as part of the Made In Scotland programme, Move could well prove to have been ahead of the curve. When I saw it at Uig Community Centre on the Isle Of Lewis, it reminded me of a recent line of plays themed around death. For reasons it would take a sociologist to explain, a young generation of theatremakers has been drawn to the subject, and in some cases giving the impression they regard death as a personal insult rather than an inevitability.

Taudevin's play couldn't have been accused of that. Rather, in its impressionistic view of the movement of people, it was an affirmation of survival. With its roots in the Gàidhealtachd, it told stories of migrants in Colombia, Western Sudan, Australia, and Greece, all moving to keep alive. Performed by five women, slipping gorgeously into song, it was at once lament and celebration.

That was January 2020, however, and since then in Scotland alone, we have lost over 10,000 people to Covid-19. In our disconnection and loneliness, we have lost even more than that. Eighteen months later, it will be fascinating to see what fresh resonances Move has taken on. Taudevin is moving the production outdoors to Silverknowes Beach, with its views of Cramond Island, a location that should be perfect for the ebb and flow of her play and its timeless sense of the cycle of life.

Move, Traverse @ Silverknowes Beach, Tuesday 3–Saturday 7 August, various times; online at Traverse Theatre, Tuesday 24–Monday 30 August, 7pm; all shows are Pay What You Can.


Disaster Plan in association with Slung Low and Traverse Theatre Inspired by ancient keening rituals, Move is a performance about migration, collective grief and communal healing. Weaving storytelling, choral soundscape and Gaelic song, five women build a picture of the ebb and flow of people across the globe throughout…