Controversial play set to hit stage
The Blairgowrie Players are to perform a new production twice in the coming weeks as part of two local festivals.
The Arrow, written by Lord Robert Mercer Nairne, is to be performed next Sunday, October 8, as part of the BOOKMARK Festival, and then again a few days later on October 12 as part of the It’s BRAW festival.
A spokesperson for the Players said that the play is in “two halves separated in time, but linked by a common symbol”.
Explaining the background to the controversial story, the spokesperson said: “In 1999 Lord Robert inherited a valuable silver arrow, which he decided to sell at auction.
“A local historian, Maurice Fleming, spotted the sale details and knowing something of its history and worth, claimed it did not belong to the Nairne family, but was gifted to the people of Rattray.
“The arrow was made by a Perth silversmith in the early 1600s and apparently put up as an archery prize by the Reverend Rattray, who was the minister of both the Blairgowrie and Rattray parishes.
“Little is known about it until in 1727 - the last person to win it was John Nairne and it has remained in the family custody ever since.
“He signed a bond in 1727 undertaking to return the arrow to the people of Rattray, which has been lost, but a copy dated 1796 exists.
“The arrow was withdrawn from auction and returned to the Nairne family, causing much controversy over its ownership.
“Heated public meetings were held and local personalities, MSPs and the general public were unable to come to an agreement.
“The play is Lord Robert’s personal view of the 2007 events and also his historical view of what happened to John Nairne after 1727.”
The second part of the play deals with the family’s descent into poverty, relying on the generousity of the French crown for their survival. In 1746, following the defeat at Culloden, John Nairne and his wife Catherine fled to France, where he remained in exile until his death in 1770 at Sancerre.
Some 250 years later, the play sheds an interesting perspective on the progress of political power.
Both performances of the play will be in Blairgowrie Town Hall.
The performance on Sunday, October 8, will be at 2pm. Tickets cost £10 which includes afternoon tea.
The second performance will be at 7pm on Thursday, October 12.
Tickets cost £8 and they are available from the Card Gallery on Allan Street, 01250 876444, by email blairplayers@btinternet. com or at the door.
Take on history Some of the cast members of the Blairgowrie Players’production of The Arrow