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Gairloch kids catch Gaelic panto as 15-day tour winds towards Highland capital; Peadar Dan agus am Mapa-ionmhais helps spread use of Gaelic

By Hector MacKenzie

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The Gaelic panto has reached hundreds of children already.
The Gaelic panto has reached hundreds of children already.

PUPILS in Wester Ross have been amongst hundreds of people across the Highlands and islands to catch a Gaelic language panto tour.

Peadar Dan agus am Mapa-ionmhais (Peadar Dan and the Treasure Map) is in the middle of a fifteen-day national tour.

It is scheduled to deliver a total of 26 performances for children from over 40 Gaelic medium schools.A public performance will take place on Thursday, December 12 at The Ironworks, Inverness at 7pm with audience the welcome from 6.45pm for a winter warmer provided by Perk coffee shop.

The play was written and directed by Angus Macleod, drama officer with Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

He said: “The play is set on stormbound Eilean an Òir and tells the tale of Peadar Dan’s Christmas Eve adventure after he discovers a fairy treasure map. Performers, Artair Donald, Anna MacDonald and Alexander Donaldson have created very engaging and fun characters and provide lots of opportunity for audience interaction.”

Artair Donald, who plays the pirate Caiptean Carach, hails from Tiree and has many years of acting experience under his belt, both on stage and on television.Off-stage Artair is regularly involved in Gaelic drama development, providing direction and tuition to schools and community groups.

Anna MacDonald, also from Tiree, plays two roles – Peadar Dan’s grandmother and the fairy Tina Bellag.Earlier in the year she performed in Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s early-years theatre project Hùb Hàb and features regularly as a presenter on CBeebies Alba. Anna is also an accomplished musician and artist.

Peadar Dan, played by Alexander Donaldson from Inverness, is a graduate of Inverness College UHI’s Higher Diploma in Drama and Performance and in 2018 participated in Scottish Youth Theatre’s National Ensemble.Alexander is a member of Last Stand, an independent theatre company based in Inverness.

The production and tour are delivered through Fèisgoil, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s arts in education service, which is managed by Eilidh Mackenzie.

This is the twelfth successive year that Fèisean nan Gàidheal has produced and toured a Gaelic language pantomime thanks to funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland and HIE.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig said it aims to see Gaelic used as much as possible, by as many people as possible and in a wide range of situations. The annual pantomime allows young people to experience Gaelic in a setting outwith the normal school curriculum.

It said live theatre in Gaelic is an important tool to enhance children’s experience of the creative arts.

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