Leith-based theatre company Citadel Arts Group is bringing eleven short audio dramas based on the novel by William Haddow – Leithers One Family – thatfollows the fortunes of the fictitious Preston family from 14th to 21st century Leith as they struggle through wars, plagues and poverty. The Preston family occupations range from pickpockets, fishwives, smugglers, prostitutes, bankers and other ordinary Leithers trying to make a living and support their families.
The audio plays, that will be broadcast free on the Citadel Goes Viral website starting on 21st March 2021, are directed by Adam Tomkins, Mark Kydd and Liz Hare with sound design by Stewart Emm, Allan Rhynas and Adam Tomkins and Music by Laure Paterson. The projectis supported by Leith Benevolent Association and the Robertson Trust.
The novel Leithers One Family by William Haddow was published in 2020 by Camus Stone Press.
The short plays will be broadcast in the following order from Monday 21st March 2021:
1. The Betrayal by Hilary Spiers. When Lord Logan sells the Shore to the Edinburgh baillies, it threatens the livelihood of honest tavern keepers Agnes and Richard Preston.
2. The Preceptory by Susan Chaney. In a time of plague and religious dogmatism, Margery Preston seeks refuge in the Leith Preceptory but has to reckon with Canon Daumont.
3. The Ships by Barbara Munro. Humble carter Thomas Preston is summoned to help track down a French spy, helped by streetwise prostitute Jean.
4. Unwelcome Visitors by Elaine Campbell. Isobel Preston cannot escape her husband’s past when the Thirty Years’ War brings death and destruction to Leith.
5. The Gibbet by Pamela Hanlon. When ‘witches’ are executed in Leith, Rab Preston and his wife Marion struggle with inner conflicts and the rising tide of fanaticism.
6. The Races by Alan Mountford. Lilian rejects a rich suitor for dashing Adam Preston, and they arrange a tryst at Leith Races.
7. Highlanders by Jim Brown. Ralph Preston has smuggled Jamaican rum onto Leith quayside, when his troubles start.
8. Fishwives by Lizzie MacLean. A plucky Newhaven fishwife helps Alex Preston escape an aggressive press gang.
9. The Bank by John Lamb. Prosperous Alexander Preston manages the Leith bank, only to be outwitted by a clever woman.
10. Aliens by Laure Paterson. The persecution of Italian Leithers during WWII powerfully impacts on young Lizzie Preston and her pal Gina.
11. The Little Pearl by Rhona McAdam. Contemporary Leith may be gentrified, but it’s never possible to escape your past.