QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 77 - Page 7

Scotland’s forgotten bloodiest battle is brought back to life I N APRIL, QMU STUDENTS joined forces with local drama groups to commemorate Scotland’s near forgotten ‘Battle of Pinkie Cleugh’. The battle between the Scots and English at Pinkie in Musselburgh is thought to be one of the bloodiest ever to take place on Scottish soil. However, although local historians know that 10,000 Scots died, most people are completely unaware of this tragic historical event which took place in 1547. The play, titled the ‘Battle of Pinkie Cleugh’ unveiled an important time in Scots history known as ‘The Rough Wooing of Mary, Queen of Scots’. It highlighted a period when Henry VIII demanded the hand of the infant Queen Mary, for his son, Edward. However, the battle ensued a s King Henry’s request was denied. QMU Community Drama students joined forces with local interest groups to put on the play at the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh. Students on the Costume Design and Construction degree created stunning period costumes and QMU student playwright, Rory Edrington, developed the script. Three different community groups made up the cast – The Brunton Players, The Brunton Senior Youth Theatre and the Prestongrange Players. Irvine Allan, Lecturer in Drama and Performance at QMU, worked with Lesley Smith, East Lothian Council’s Principal Arts Officer, and local interest groups to produce the new play. He said: “The River Esk ran red with the blood of both Scots and English solders, but yet most people know little or nothing about this fascinating event. “This project was a real eye-opener. Our playwright researched and wrote the play in association with the Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield Group advisers, so we made great efforts to ensure historical accuracy.” English war ships, as well as Spanish and Italian mercenaries, joined the English land forces to take Musselburgh, and seize East Lothian. The aim was to force the Scots into the marriage of the infant Queen Mary to Edward. The resistance led to a vicious battle with heavy casualties, mostly borne by the Scots, who were defeated on the day. Irvine Allan continued: “The play was a stunning linguistic, visual and musical commemoration of the event. Our students were really proud to be involved in such an interesting collaborative project which brought an important period of history to the attention of a wider public.” Councillor Tim Day, Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, East Lothian Council, said: “This project gave our local community drama groups the opportunity to work with QMU students to bring a significant period of Scottish history to life through the medium of theatre.” In September 2013, The Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield Group will launch ‘The Battlefield Trail’, the route of which will encompass the key sites of the battle. It is hoped that the area will develop as a visitor attraction. ❒ QMYOU / Community Engagement 7