The View From Castle Rock

A Scottish family’s journey in search of a better life in Canada by Alice Munro, adapted by Linda McLean

Nobel Laureate Alice Munro is the world’s greatest living short story writer.

As a centrepiece of the 2016 Book Festival, Stellar Quines and Edinburgh International Book Festival present the world premiere of a specially commissioned theatrical adaptation of two stories, taken from the author’s collection The View from Castle Rock.

These stories imagine the extraordinary experiences of her Scottish ancestors who sailed from Leith Docks in 1818 in the hope of a better life in Canada.

Acclaimed director Marilyn Imrie and award-winning Scottish playwright Linda McLean have created, in this word-for-word adaptation from Alice Munro’s text, a vibrant drama about the nineteenth century Scottish migrant experience.

The View from Castle Rock is supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and this event is also part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Following daily performances during the Book Festival at artSpace@StMarks in Castle Terrace (Venue 125), The View from Castle Rock will tour to the Borders including the Ettrick Valley, home of Munro’s ancestors who were related to James Hogg.

image: Bettman/CORBIS


[AFG_gallery id='26']
Images © Alan McCredie


“…the story is given weight, depth and a poignancy elevated both by Pippa Murphy’s score and sound design, which seems to echo down the centuries, and a closing coup de theatre which can’t fail to tug at the heart-strings.”

The Herald - Neil Cooper (read more)

“With a talented cast and beautiful staging, The View from Castle Rock is a memorable piece with a story that is both touching and at times humorous.”

Fringe Review - Glenys McIntyre (read more)

“Marilyn Imrie’s production is stark and elegant, employing simple-yet-effective techniques, including billowing sheets to represent waves and beautiful choral singing from the cast, accompanied by Brian James O’Sullivan, who plays various traditional instruments.”

The Times - Allan Radcliffe (read more)

“Filling the altar and the aisles of this old church with electric energy, the piece reveals the pressures on family of uprooting across the world, and the newly unleashed role of women in the New World.”

The List - David Pollock (read more)

“Elegant use is made of music by Pippa Murphy, and not only are the sturdy wooden structures of Claire Halleran’s set used to evoke both the Castle Rock and shipboard life, sparing but effective use is made of the space in St Mark’s – itself, of course, in the shadow of the Rock.”

AllEdinburgh Theatre - Hugh Simpson (read more)

“The Laidlaws will stay in my memory for a long time. Stellar Quines give a truly stellar performance, and the audience gave them loud and prolonged applause. This is another sell-out show, so hurry and get a ticket if you possibly can.”

ScotsGay Fringe - Mary Woodward (read more)

“a lovely piece of theatre that truly reflects both the word and the spirit of Munro’s original and is definitely worth a look.”

British Theatre Guide - David Chadderton (read more)

‘there’s also a chilling parallel with the millions of people still boarding, in Munro’s words, “leaky sepulchres” to escape poverty and war.’

Fest Mag - Tim Bano (read more)

“This powerful piece of theatre from a totally braw ensemble is a timeous and heart wrenching reminder of the perils of emigration.”

Edinburgh Guide - Irene Brown (read more)

“A fine ensemble of five actors brings this story vividly alive in a quietly moving show rooted in real lives”

The Guardian - Lyn Gardner (read more)

Edinburgh International Book Festival and Stellar Quines present The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro, adapted by Linda McLean

Creative Team

  • Writer (based on the stories by): Alice Munro
  • Writer: ["Linda McLean", "Linda McLean"]

    Linda McLean comes from Glasgow, Scotland. Her plays have won many awards. They include Every Five Minutes, Sex & God, Any Given Day, strangers, babies, Shimmer, Riddance, and One Good Beating.

    Since her first production in 1997 she has been known as a playwright who experiments with form.

    Her plays have been translated into many languages. In 2015 an anthology of her work was published in France by Actes Sud. This year she has plays opening in Los Angeles, Des Moines, Seattle and Avignon.

    She is currently writing Glory on Earth for the new season at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

    She was Chair of Playwrights’ Studio from 2008-2015 and is on the artistic board of Magic Theatre Co, San Francisco.

  • Director: ["Marilyn Imrie", "Marilyn Imrie"]

    Previous Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows include Lucy Porter’s The Fair Intellectual Club [now a BBC Radio 4 series], and Elsie & Mairi Go To War by Diane Atkinson.  For Oran Mor’s Play Pie & Pint, productions include Bill Paterson’s Astonishing Archie, Liz Lochhead’s Mortal Memories & James Runcie’s The Jazz Club Murder & A Word With Dr Johnson. Other recent Scottish productions include Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman In Mind (Dundee Rep Theatre), Lauder & Son (The Boswell Book Festival) and  Peter Manuel: The Beast Of Birkenshaw (Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival).

    A new dramatisation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein premiered at this year’s Bristol Festival of Ideas. A play about the painter Joan Eardley by Anna Carlisle is in development to tour with Heroica Theatre Company in 2017.

    Ongoing work for BBC Radio includes the award winning series Rumpole of The Bailey, The Ferryhill Philosophers &The Stanley Baxter Playhouse.

  • Designer: ["Claire Halleran", "Claire Halleran"]

    Claire is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and Master of Fine Art, Queen Margaret University.

    Her most recent design credits are Polar Bears Go Up (Unicorn/Fish and Game) The Devil’s Larder (Grid Iron) Whisky Galore (National Theatre of Scotland) and she has also designed for many Scottish companies including Borderline/Hirtle, Ros Sydney, A Moment’s Peace, Grinagog, Cultured Mongrel Dance Theatre, Frozen Charlotte, Visible Fictions, macroberts arts centre, Platform, Smallpetitklein, Wee Stories, Magnetic North and Birds of Paradise.

    Claire has also designed several film festivals for Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins and has developed and created many interactive events and workshops for the Edinburgh International Science Festival. She is currently looking forward to re making Paperbelle with Frozen Charlotte in China later this year.

    She is co-founder of The Envelope Room, a network set up to support and promote stage designers in Scotland.

    For other information and images of her designs, please go to



  • Composer/Musical Director: ["Pippa Murphy", "Pippa Murphy"]

    Pippa Murphy is an award winning Scottish composer and sound designer who writes for theatre, dance, opera, film and bands. She has written music for BBC 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, Scottish Opera, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in St Giles Cathedral, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, St Magnus International Festival, and numerous theatre companies including Stellar Quines, Dundee Rep Theatre, Birmingham Rep, Tron Theatre, Eden Court Theatre, Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, 7:84, Dogstar, Fire Exit, Eden Court, Mull Theatre, Ed Littlewood Productions and Janis Claxton Dance.

    She has recently arranged strings for Celtic Connections’ Pilgrimer with Karine Polwart, written songs for Kathryn Joseph and done the sound design for Karine’s latest show Wind Resistance in the Edinburgh International Festival.

  • Lighting Designer: ["Emma Jones", "Emma Jones"]

    After graduating from Aberystwyth University with a degree in Drama, various theatre jobs took her from the West End of London to Butlins Entertainment Resort before migrating north to become the Deputy Chief Electrician at Dundee Rep. Emma enjoys lighting design and recent credits include NQR, Drift and The Long and the Short of It (Scottish Dance Theatre), Talking Heads and The Little Mermaid (Dundee Rep), Twice Upon a Time and The Children (Dundee Rep Young Adults), The Bridge, Our Country’s Good and Maybe Tomorrow, (Dundee Rep Creative Learning).

    Travelling to China, Dubai, Italy and The Netherlands have been touring highlights of 2009/10 although Emma’s favourite venues are the ones in the remote Scottish Highlands. Emma co-founded Llama Dance Company with colleague Amy Steadman which has created 4 unique works.

  • Movement Director: ["Janice Parker", "Janice Parker"]

    Janice is a choreographer, director and performer originally trained in Laban Movement.

    Her work in theatre includes Wind Resistance (Royal Lyceum Theatre/Edinburgh International Festival), The Strange Undoing of Prudentia Hart, Truant (National Theatre of Scotland), Crazy Jane (Birds of Paradise) The Maw Broon Monologues (Glasgay!), Kes (Catherine Wheels), Age of Arousal (Stellar Quines/ Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), The Girls of Slender Means (Stellar Quines/Assembly).

    Janice is also artistic director of Janice Parker Projects and develops dance and performance works in collaboration with people, places and organisations within Scotland and Internationally. Her awards include a Herald Angel, an Unlimited Cultural Olympiad Commissionand a Creative Scotland Award.

    She is currently making a new piece with Festival Theatre, Edinburgh and in 2017 will co-direct The Hour with Wils Wilson and the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

  • Assistant Director: ["Rosa Duncan", "Rosa Duncan"]

    Rosa studied Theatre Studies at the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts. She recently directed McPherson Square at the Tron Theatre as part of the Tron 100 Festival.

    Her credits as an assistant director include: The Lonesome West (Tron Theatre), Dream On! (Shakespeare Lives! BBC/Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Great Expectations (Dundee Rep Theatre/Horsecross Arts), The Glass Menagerie (Dundee Rep Theatre)

    Directing whilst training includes: NSFW (Dukes Theatre, Lancaster) ‘Til Dawn, Umbrella, Hamlet: The Dinner Party (LICA)

  • Associate Producer: ["Dani Rae", "Dani Rae"]

    Dani Rae is a freelance producer, dramaturg and consultant. She has worked with and for some of the UK’s leading arts agencies, artists and theatre companies including: Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Imaginate, Starcatchers, Gill Robertson, Wee Stories Theatre, Reeling & Writhing, Royal Lyceum, Errol White Company, Plutôt la Vie, Scottish Opera, AJ Taudevin and Magnetic North. Internationally, Dani has worked in Berlin with Chamaeleon Productions and Y2D Productions as booker and PR for their multi award-winning production LEO.

    Dani produces for Wolfgang Hoffmann’s Aurora Nova, managing the worldwide rights to Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit Red Rabbit, and is Artistic Producer for the Tron Theatre in Glasgow as part of Creative Scotland’s Producers’ Project. Current artists include Caroline Bowditch, Rick Conte, Morna Young, Lynda Radley & Catrin Evans and Stellar Quines.

  • Production Manager: Laura Hawkins
  • Company Stage Manager: Linsey Johnston
  • Technical Manager: Andy Stuart
  • Costume Support: Ari Liakeas
  • Choir: ["Castle Chorus", "Castle Chorus"]

    This Edinburgh local choir is led by Caroline Overy. Highly commended in the Original Music category at the 2016 Chorus Awards, they have a traditional and contemporary repertoire and work with singer-songwriters on original choral arrangements of their songs.

    Castle Chorus 

  • Fiddle: Alasdair Macrae


  • ["Nicola Jo Cully"]
    Nicola Jo Cully

    Mary and Ensemble

    Trained at Queen Margaret University College

    Recent theatre credits include: Too Many Penguins? (Frozen Charlotte), Control Z (Traverse),

    Thread, Allotment (Nutshell), The Last Great Dictator (Oran Mor), The Dark Things (Traverse Theatre), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Northampton Royal and Derngate/Assembly), Sunshine on Leith (Dundee Rep Theatre), The Wasp Factory (Cumbernauld/Tron Theatre), Translations (Arches/Citizens Theatre), The Journey of Jeannie Deans (Rowantree), My Dark Sky (Reeling and Writhing), Sinbad (Eden Court Theatre/Team Entertainments), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh).

    Recent TV/Film credits include: Waterloo Road (BBC), River City (BBC Scotland), Casualty (BBC), Taggart (SMG), ‘Till The Violets Come (Mothcatcher Films), Honour (Pursuit Films Ltd), The Space Between (Lyre Productions), Solid Air (Elemental Films).

    Recent radio credits include: Rachel’s Cousins, The Grapes of Wrath (BBC Radio 4), Archive on 4 – What Big Teeth You Have, McLevy ( BBC Radio 4 ), On The Skids, SecretsPart Two: The Escorts Tale, Striptease, Scottish Shorts – Matryoshka, Desperate Measures (BBC Scotland).

  • ["Simon Donaldson"]
    Simon Donaldson

    Andrew and Ensemble

    Simon is from Bowden in The Scottish Borders. He trained at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

    Recent theatre credits include: Lovesick Blues: The Hank Williams Story (Oran Mor) The Great Train Race (Firebrand), A Word with Dr Johnson, Thoughts Spoken Aloud from Above, (Oran Mor), Hello Dolly, Present Laughter, A Chorus of Disapproval, Lady Windemere’s Fan (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Tam O’Shanter, Zlata’s Diary (Communicado), The Not So Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo (Vox Motus), The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Spokesman, Jason and the Argonauts, Big Baby, The Curse of the Demeter (Visible Fictions), Elf Analysis, Turbo Folk, 200, (Oran Mor) and Fly (Liverpool Everyman)

    Recent radio credits include: The Fair Intellectual Club, 44 Scotland Street, A Sudden Surge, Life of Pies, A Lulu of a Kid, Paul Temple, Sullom Voe, McLevy, The Pearl, Rebus, Maigret, The Heart of Midlothian, Dr Korczak’s Example, Westway, Book at Bedtime and the I-dent for BBC Radio 4 extra.

    Recent TV/Film credits include: Andrew Marr’s Great Scots: The Writers Who Shaped a Nation, Outpost 2, Scot Squad and No More Shall We Part

    He has performed on Broadway and at The Sydney Opera House.

  • ["Lewis Howden"]
    Lewis Howden

    Old James and Ensemble

    Recent theatre credits include: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The BFG (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), To Begin, Dunsinane (National Theatre of Scotland), The War Hasn’t Started Yet, The Heart of Darby Park, Rolls in Their Pockets (Oran Mor), In My Father’s Words (Dundee Rep Theatre), Found At Sea, The Artist Man & The Mother Woman, Any Given Day (Traverse Theatre), Edwin Morgan’s Dreams and Other Nightmares (Tron Theatre/Glasgay) and A Slow Air (Tron Theatre/East 59th St, New York), Riddance (Paines Plough) and Word for Word (Magnetic North).

    Recent TV credits include: Shetland (ITV), Hope Springs (Shed Productions) Taggart (SMG) & The Conegatherers (BBC).


  • ["Brian James O'Sullivan"]
    Brian James O'Sullivan

    Walter and Ensemble

    Brian works as an actor, writer and musician throughout the UK, USA and Australia.

    Recent theatre work includes: Keep Right On to the End of the Road (tour),To Hell and Back (Oran Mor) and The James Plays (National Theatre of Scotland).

    In 2015 Brian wrote and directed the musical Newcomer with Triple Threat Theatre Academy in Queensland, Australia and this year sees him returning to Australia to play music for the Australian National Irish Dancing Championships in Hobart, Tasmania.

    Brian is delighted to be working with Stellar Quines for the first time.

  • ["Sally Reid"]
    Sally Reid

    Agnes and Ensemble

    Recent theatre credits include: The James Plays (National Theatre of Scotland), Great Expectations, Time and the Conways (nominated for a TMA Award for her performance as Madge), (Dundee Rep Theatre), Three Sisters (Tron Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Perth Horsecross), Guid Sisters, Union (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), Days of Wine and Roses (nominated best actress Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland, CATS awards 2012), Doubt (Theatre Jezebel), Sunset Song (His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen), The Wall (nominated best actress CATS awards 2008), The Ducky, The Chooky Brae (Borderline).

    Recent TV credits include; Only An Excuse, Scot Squad (3 series for BBC Scotland.

    Sally attended the School at Steppenwolf in Chicago where she trained in Meisner, Viewpoints and improvisation with ensemble members.


Production Tour Dates

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Dates: 11-29 August 2016
Venue: artspace@stmarks (venue 125)
Address: 7 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh
Tickets: £15 / £12 conc / £10 preview
Box Office: Edinburgh Festival Fringe (from 26th May) +44 (0)131 226 0000 (from 8th June). Edinburgh International Book Festival or +44 (0)845 373 5888 (from 21st June)

  • August 11 & 12 at 10.30am (preview)
  • Aug 13, 15 & 29 at 10.30am
  • Aug 17 – 20, 22, 24 – 27 at 12.30pm
  • Aug 14, 28 & 29 at 4.30pm
  • Aug 17 & 20 8.30pm

BSL Interpreted performances 14 Aug at 4.30pm and 17 Aug at 8.30pm

artSpace@StMarks (Venue 125) is a restored 19th century church with a view to the Castle. It has level access, wheelchair accessible toilets and accessible parking. Assistance dogs are welcome.

Borders Tour
Dates: 31 August – 3 September 2016

Part of Booked!: Edinburgh International Book Festival on the road and Borders Live Touring