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Open-air production of Macbeth at Elgin Cathedral

15 July 2014

Paul McBain channels his inner Macbeth ahead of an outdoor production of one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays





One of Shakespeare’s most iconic tragedies is to be staged against the atmospheric backdrop of Elgin Cathedral.

Staged by outdoor touring theatre company Illyria, the open-air production of Macbeth on Thursday 17 July will see ‘the Scottish play’ performed in the shadows of the spectacular ruined medieval building.

llyria performs in the open-air with only a handful of props and no scenery, as almost all Shakespeare's plays were originally conceived. They use just five actors; the number they believe Shakespeare’s own company used when touring the provinces.

An imposing yellow sandstone ruin, Elgin Cathedral is one of the most important architectural legacies from medieval Scotland. The cathedral was the ecclesiastical centre of the diocese of Moray. The bishop’s seat was transferred to Elgin around 1224 and remained there until the Protestant Reformation of 1560 effectively left the cathedral redundant.




Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning at Historic Scotland said: “I am delighted to welcome Illyria to Elgin Cathedral to perform one of Shakespeare’s best-loved works. A magnificent ruin steeped in history, the cathedral will be a unique and atmospheric backdrop for this most atmospheric of plays.

“One of a series of outdoor productions taking place this summer at Historic Scotland sites as part of our on-going events programme, visitors will be able to sit on chairs or on blankets in the grounds and enjoy a picnic while watching the production.”

Oliver Gray of Illyria said: “Imposing and atmospheric, Elgin Cathedral promises to be a spectacular setting for our production of Macbeth. We have a reputation for the clarity and authenticity of our Shakespearean style, and the production will use performance techniques described by Samuel Pepys when he saw Macbeth twice in a fortnight in the winter of 1666/7.”

Doors 6.45pm for a 7.30pm start. Tickets are available in advance from the Illyria website or by calling the cathedral on 01343 547171. Alternatively, they are available on the door on the evening of the performance. Suitable for ages 5 and up.

PICTURE CAPTION: Paul McBain channels his inner Macbeth ahead of an outdoor production of one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays. On Thursday (17th July), production company Illyria, will be staging a special performance of Macbeth at Elgin Cathedral. For further details visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/homecoming

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.


  • Scotland welcomes the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run until 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners. To find out more visit www.homecomingscotland.com. For more on Historic Scotland’s Homecoming activities visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/homecoming or tweet us using #hshomecoming.

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For further information


Alice Wyllie, Media & PR Officer
Historic Scotland Media Office
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768 096
alice.wyllie@scotland.gsi.gov.uk