Parliament celebrates St Andrew's weekend with family fun


This weekend, battle lines of a different sort will be drawn at Holyrood when the Parliament hosts a range of Jacobite themed activities including an interactive drama of soldiers preparing for the battle of Culloden.

The Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745 captured the imagination of people across the world and continue to do so today. An exhibition currently in the Parliament’s Main Hall called “Jacobites – Rebels with a Cause” provided the inspiration for the activities being held at Holyrood for St Andrew’s Day.

Speaking ahead of the weekend’s activities, Presiding Officer Rt Hon Alex Fergusson MSP said:

“Our Jacobite-themed exhibition ‘Rebels with a Cause’ has already attracted many visitors to Holyrood and now provides the inspiration for our St Andrew’s Day programme.

“Through a mixture of quizzes, tours, drama workshops and art exhibitions the Parliament’s St Andrew’s Day programme offers something for everyone. It is sure to be a fun and interesting weekend.”

Visitors will have the chance to take part in a wide range of activities including:

  • Quizzes, storytelling and musical performances exploring Jacobite history.
  • Discovering what it was really like to be a soldier preparing for the battle of Culloden through a drama workshop.
  • Tours run by Mercat taking people from the Mercat Cross to the Scottish Parliament by way of tales of flogging, executions and battles.
  • Decorating an egg with secret symbols, inspired by one of the highlights of the exhibition - a unique ostrich egg engraved with Jacobite symbols.
  • Exploring Gaelic communities in Glasgow by entering an art installation with Gaelic books, records and personal stories.

As well as these interactive activities, visitors are invited to be in the audience for three events:

  • Saturday 27 November 18:00 – 19:30 - Burnsong – for the second year, the Parliament will host a Burnsong evening, where Scotland’s newest songs and songwriters can be heard celebrating the nation’s cultural pasts and futures.
  • Monday 29 November 16:00 – 17:30 - St Andrew’s Day debate – where university and school students from across Scotland will come together and debate their way through several heats before taking part in the championship final in the Debating Chamber.
  • Tuesday 30 November 18.00 – 20.00 - St Andrew’s Night Debate - The winners and losers of the Jacobite cause will be the focus of a debate, led by award-winning journalist and Scotsman columnist Joan McAlpine with Aberdeen scholars Alison Lumsden, Cairns Craig, Andrew Mackillop and John Morrison.

Telephone and email opening hours:
Mon to Thursday: 09:00-17:00
Friday: 09:30-17:00
Saturdays: 11:00-17:00

Background on Exhibition “Jacobites: Rebels with a Cause”
The exhibition includes rarely seen and internationally significant material from the University of Aberdeen's collections, that explore and challenge traditional assumptions about the Jacobites.

The Jacobites left Scotland with an enduring cultural legacy, visible in many of the popular images of Scotland today: images of the Highlands, of exile, lament and romance.

Displaying rarely seen and internationally significant material from the University of Aberdeen's collections, this exhibition explores and challenges traditional assumptions about the Jacobites, whose fate often lay far beyond the Highlands, in the capitals of Europe, in the Americas and across the emerging British Empire.

Items on display include: a rare letter written by Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in 1748 from exile in France; a relic fragment of his kilt; a unique ostrich egg engraved with Jacobite symbols; objects from medals to pin cushions designed and distributed to encourage support for the Jacobite cause; examples of anti-Jacobite propaganda such as Hogarth's portrait of the roguish Lord Lovat, the last man publicly beheaded in Tower Hill in London.

Background on Burnsong – 27 November

Burnsong was established in 2003 with the objective of promoting, encouraging and nurturing song writing in Scotland and has since undertaken open searches for new, undiscovered talent in Scotland and beyond. The Burnsong Songhouse is a week-long collaborative residential song writing retreat bringing together professional songwriters from across the world to develop, enhance and extend their songwriting skills.

Background on St Andrew’s Day debate – 29 November

The Debate now in its fourth year has grown from the first debate held in 2007 for university students only, to today’s event which includes students and schoolchildren from across Scotland. Rounds one and two will be debated in Committee Rooms and the final motion, held in the Debating Chamber will focus on child poverty. Details will not be released to the finalists until they are decided giving them only a short time to prepare. Deputy Presiding Officer, Alasdair Morgan MSP will officially welcome the participants to the Parliament and Deputy Presiding Officer Trish Godman MSP will judge the final debate.

You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.
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