Scotland’s Makar Liz Lochhead makes welcome return to the Kingdom for special live show

Liz Lochhead and Steve Kettley
Liz Lochhead and Steve Kettley

In 1987 Liz Lochhead caused a sensation at the Edinburgh Festival with her play Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off.

Almost 30 years later, Liz has gone from success to success, appointed Scots Makar in 2010 – and is back on the road again.

A short tour with musician Steven Kettley brings her to St Andrews later this month with her show Somethings Old, Somethings New.

It’s based on the duo’s hit Edinburgh Festival Fringe show from last year, and is a collection of some of Liz’s best work, spanning the past 45 years.

The show is described as spellbinding and beguiling, mixing poems, monologues and music.

From the bittersweet to the rude and raunchy, there are poignant observations and hilarious monologues from Liz, and a downright wacky solo piece from Steve.

Although it was 1987 when Liz really hit the headlines with her exploration of the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots, she published her first book of poetry in 1972, and her first theatre work in 1978.

Liz is only the second person to hold the post of Makar or national poet.

She followed in the illustrious footsteps of Edwin Morgan, who became first Makar in 2004.

Announcing her appointment, the then First Minister Alex Salmond commented: “As an author, translator, playwright, stage performer, broadcaster and grande dame of Scottish theatre, Ms Lochhead embodies everything a nation would want from its national poet.”

Liz responded on behalf of poetry itself which, she said ‘‘is, and always has been, the core of our culture, and in grateful recognition of the truth that poetry – the reading of it, the writing of it, the saying it out loud, the learning of it off by heart - all of this matters deeply to ordinary Scottish people everywhere.”

Steve Kettley is a long-time friend and collaborator with Liz.

He leads several bands playing his own music, including Steve Kettley’s Odd Times, and plays a wide selection of instruments.

Somethings Old, Somethings New comes to The Byre Theatre on October 30.