Serving up a tasty treat with ‘The Big Haggis’

Dougie Nixon as Tam O'Shanter, which was performed in the High Street, Kirkcaldy, as part of the Big Haggis event.
Dougie Nixon as Tam O'Shanter, which was performed in the High Street, Kirkcaldy, as part of the Big Haggis event.
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THE work of Robert Burns was brought to life in Kirkcaldy town centre as visitors to the farmers’ market and the High Street were treated to a large helping of The Big Haggis.

Actors and musicians performed poems and songs by Scotland’s famous bard on a stage in the Town Square, with audiences enjoying their performances while browsing the market stalls.

Robert Burns (Paul Comrie), Tam O'Shanter (Dougie Nixon) and Auld Nick, witches and a warlock (played by students from Adam Smith and Carnegie colleges)

Robert Burns (Paul Comrie), Tam O'Shanter (Dougie Nixon) and Auld Nick, witches and a warlock (played by students from Adam Smith and Carnegie colleges)

As an added bonus, free portions of a big venison haggis were handed out and there was the chance to enjoy some whisky tasting too.

In the afternoon, the entertainment moved to the High Street, where crowds of shoppers were enthralled as actors – supported by students from Adam Smith and Carnegie colleges –performed one of Burns’ most famous works, Tam O’Shanter.

This was the first event of the year supported by Kirkcaldy4All, and there are plans for many more family-orientated events throughout 2013, with planning already underway to bring more entertainment to the town at Easter.

The Big Haggis was organised by Kirkcaldy-based Herald Events, headed by actor Jock Ferguson, who hosted Saturday’s entertainment. He was delighted with the response the performers received from the Kirkcaldy public.

Jock said: “Working with Adam Smith College enabled the event to double in size, the Tam O’ Shanter street theatre piece being their half of the haggis.

“We weren’t able to rehearse Tam O’Shanter in the street for fear of arrest, so the first of the three performances was a very public dress rehearsal. Tam on his scooter with a horse’s tail tucked into his breeks was one way of solving the problem of portraying a drunk man on a horse in a pedestrianised area.

“After the first showing of Tam O’ Shanter, I did the ‘disclaimer’ speech about there having just been Devil-worship in the High Street and rather than complain to the cast, Kirkcaldy4All or myself it would be better to take it up with the writer. His name is Robert Burns.”

A four-strong camera crew from Carnegie College made sure the whole event was captured for a free edited version, which will be available to download from www.thebighaggis.co.uk.

Jock added: “Highlights for me included actor Audrey Jenkinson performing ‘Rights of Woman’ and ‘Scotch Drink’, two little-performed Burns works, plus classy Scots duo Espial making their Kirkcaldy debut, both on the main stage in the Town Square.

“The free venison haggis was the meatiest beastie I have ever dined upon, such was its meat-to-spice ratio. The four rare malt whiskies also found willing takers – it was a cold day after all. My brother Neill donated the drams, but turned up too late to get any.”

“So the sun shone on The Big Haggis and Kirkcaldy4All’s first public event of 2013. Already we are working on the next event. The Big Haggis is a hard act to follow, but follow it we will. We shall be back at Easter.”

Bill Harvey, manager of Kirkcaldy4All, said he was very pleased with the outcome and the way the event was received by the public.

He added: “This is the first of a series of events which we will put on in the town centre throughout the year, with everything we do being family-orientated.”