Talking Sheep

“Mind to be kind to ane anither.”

Talking Sheep develops and performs fun, entertaining shows that educate, question and engage. We have a special interest in exploring the culture and heritage of Scotland.

Dark City

Only the Dead know the whole truth – so we have invited the dead to speak.

Dare you join us?

Dramatised Tales From Edinburgh Past and Present

Burke and Hare
The Devil and Major Weir
And More!

What They Said about Dark City

Charley Scott-Atkin thought that the show gave us “a new perspective on the dead and the damned” while Robert Girvan called it “a fascinating journey of true horror and deprivation from the 17th century to the modern day”.

Read the full reviews at Radio Summerhall and the Edinburgh Reporter

Audience members told us it was:

“Excellent” “Fabulous” “Bloody brilliant” and “Too spooky for me!”

Some noted the “searing social comment” and thought the show “captured our fascination with the duality of the Scots psyche.” while others called it:

“A combination of storytelling, drama and first class performances”

“Thought Provoking”

“Fresh and original…a new light on the subject”

“Entertaining, intelligent, and suffused with human interest.”

Cast and Creative

Written by Mark Meiklejohn. Directed by Colin McPherson.
Sound Design and Composition by Chris Bathgate. Publicity by Fiona Watt.
Performed by David Gibson, Danny Farrimond, Ryan Faulds, Edith Peers and Georgie Purvis.

Burns for Beginners

“The show about Burns that Burns would want to see!”

The show about Burns that really is for everyone – absolute beginners, lifelong fans and everyone in-between. Burns’ key poems and songs are performed to a cracking live musical accompaniment, along with discussion, context and English Subtitles – SO YOU’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT THE BARD’S ON ABOOT!

Audience feedback from our sell-out shows in Tradfest, BurnsFest and the Edinburgh Fringe said the show was:

“Brilliant, inspiring”
“Funny and informative”
“Explained clearly and passionately – and suitable for all ages.”

Burns for Beginners includes:

Poems: To a Mouse, Holy Willie’s Prayer, and Tam O’Shanter, and Songs: You’re Welcome Willie Stewart, Green Grow the Rashes, Charley He’s my Darling, The Lea Rig, Ae Fond Kiss, The Condensed Jolly Beggars, A Mans A Man, and Auld Lang Syne.

Why we do Burns for Beginners

Burns in a book is but half a Burns!

Burns is a poet who really comes alive in performance – a poet for pubs, clubs and theatres, and as a songwriter, obviously, he has to be heard to be fully appreciated. There hasn’t been a poet before or since that spoke to an audience with such immediacy, who was more accessible or just so much fun as Robert Burns.

Nowadays though, the Scots language and some of the 18th century references can get in the way of a full appreciation. We made Burns for Beginners so that everyone could enjoy Burns. We’re really happy that the show seems to be enjoyed by lifelong Burn fans, folk who have come along knowing absolutely nothing about Burns and everyone in-between. Burns wanted to be a poet for everyone – from parson to ploughman – and we want Burns for Beginners to be for everyone too.

Cast and Creative: Written by Mark Meiklejohn (and Burns!) and performed by Mark Meiklejohn, Mark Percival and Valerie Sim. Publicity and Technical Support by Fiona Watt.

What they Said About Burns for Beginners

Folk have been very kind! Feedback from the sell-out shows in Tradfest, BurnsFest and the Edinburgh Fringe included comments like :

“Funny and informative”

“Delivery was amazing”

“Excellent Acting”

“Loved Tam O’Shanter”

“Brilliant night, as a non Scot found it really interesting.”

“Superb. A must, especially for Scots”

“The singer sang the songs so beautifully.”

“Fun witty informative and stimulating.”

“Great fun and very educational. An antidote to all those sycophantic Burns nights.”

“Explained clearly and passionately and suitable for all ages.”

“I’ve never heard Tam o’ Shanter recited with such passion”

“Epitomises what the Fringe should be about.”

Burns and Hafez – Bards Apart?

Separated by four centuries and over 4000 miles, by culture, by history, by religion, by language. Burns and Hafez can’t really have anything in common – can they?

The key poems and songs of the two Bards are performed – sung, recited, acted – accompanied by Santoor, Guitar and Bass, together with a bit of context and discussion. For those who don’t understand Persian – or 18th century Scots – we have English Subtitles!

Are Burns and Hafez “Bards Apart” or have they got far more in common than that which divides? You – the audience- will decide!

Cast and Creative: Written by Mark Meiklejohn (and Burns and Hafez!) and performed by Lucy Deacon, Mark Meiklejohn, Parmis Mozafari, Mark Percival, Valerie Sim, Saeed Talajooy and Manijeh Zargar. Publicity and Technical Support by Fiona Watt.

What they Said About Burns and Hafez – Bards Apart?

Areej Malik from The New Normal thought the show was “Outstanding” “captivating” and “didn’t want it to stop”. Read the whole article.

Audience comments have included:



“Fantastic performance.”

“Such love and enthusiasm.”

“A wonderful combination of poetry & music.”

“Funny, thought provoking and moving.”

“It was just wonderful! It made me cry.”

“Uplifting, original, clever melange”

“One of the best and most memorable events my husband and I have attended.”

Upcoming Gigs

No upcoming gigs

Past Gigs

Dark City

21 -24 November 2018, Edinburgh, The Vault. 

Burns for Beginners

5 May 2017, Tradfest, Edinburgh, Augustine Church Theatre.
22 August 2016, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Netherbow Theatre, The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
15 August, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Netherbow Theatre, The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
22 January, 2016, Edinburgh BurnsFest, Netherbow Theatre, The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
12 June 2015, Glasgow , Glad Café.
24 January 2015, Edinburgh BurnsFest, Netherbow Theatre, The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
23 August 2014, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Acoustic Music Centre@St Brides.
22 August 2014, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Acoustic Music Centre@St Brides.
15 August 2014, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Acoustic Music Centre@St Brides.
2 May 2014, Tradfest, Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms.
24 Jan 2014, Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms.

Burns and Hafez – Bards Apart?

19 August 2018, Edinburgh, The Nomads Tent.
21 March 2018
, London, Victoria and Albert Museum.
13 December 2017, London, Brunei Theatre, SOAS.
25 October 2017, St Andrews, Byre Theatre.
12 February 2017, Edinburgh Iran Festival, Nomads Tent.

About Us

Chris Bathgate (Sound Design and Composition)

was a keen musician and sound engineer until tinnitus ended his live career. Now he likes to put together soundtracks in his spare time.

Lucy Deacon (Performer)

is an MSc student in Persian Civilisation at the University Of Edinburgh and has a research interest in the Persian theatre form ta’ziyeh. She previously worked in contemporary circus for 15 years, performing in many cross art form productions fusing aerial acrobatics with physical theatre, sculpture and dance.

Danny Farrimond (Performer)

is an actor and keen electronic musician who has written and produced the soundtrack for a number of productions. Previous acting appearances have included Macbeth (world premier of Macbeth in Scots), Moon Over Buffalo, The Front Page, The Memory of Water, Noises Off, Writer’s Cramp and Rope. In his spare time he enjoys reading, cinema and dog walking.

Ryan Faulds (Performer)

started acting in 2017. He has taken part in several theatre productions and recently has been working on screen and television. He is working towards a professional acting career.

David Gibson (performer)

has spent his working life teaching English as a foreign language – even in Scotland. At other times he’s enjoyed playing a variety of roles with a local drama group – all of them he’s treasured.

Colin McPherson (Director)

is the Director of Dark City and has performed and directed in and around Edinburgh for thirty years.

Mark Meiklejohn (Performer, Writer)

is the writer of Burns for Beginners, Dark City and Burns and Hafez, developing the shows in collaboration with members and associates.

Parmis Mozafari (Musician)

is a Santoor player and an ethnomusicologist. She did her BA and MA studies in Iran and received her PhD from the University of Leeds. Her research interests include female performers, mystic music, and the music of minorities in Iran and the Middle East. She also plays Daf and Tombak and has taught and performed in Iran and in the UK.

Edith Peers (Performer)

has performed for many years in both professional and community theatre (Edinburgh Theatre Arts) and notably played Gruoch (Lady Macbeth) at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford in the world premiere of “Macbeth In Scots” by Robin Loriimer . Edith has also performed with Crossfire Theatre Company and Spartiki Theatre.

Mark Percival (Performer, Musician)

plays bass, guitar and contributes spoken word in Burns For Beginners. He has played in his bands and others over the years and has collaborated with others including performance and recording of songs by, and with musician / writer / director, Cora Bissett. In past lives, Mark P has also been a DJ and promoter of gigs at indie venues in Glasgow, and has been a broadcaster with BBC Radio Scotland.

Georgie Purvis (Performer)

is currently in her final honours year of the BA Acting for Stage & Screen course at Queen Margaret and Napier University. Georgie has taken part in National Theatre Connections in the play ‘Pronoun’ performing in both the Traverse and Royal Lyceum Theatres and attended PASS (Performing Arts Studio Scotland) which gave her further opportunities to broaden her acting ability by taking part in several productions, some of which were taken to Cumbernauld Theatre and The National Theatre of Targu Mures in Romania. In addition to her course work Georgie has gained extra acting experience including short films, voice overs and stage work. Recent productions include ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and her first show with Edinburgh Theatre Arts earlier this year when she played the part of Roz in Ken Ludwig’s ‘Moon Over Buffalo’.

Valerie Sim (Performer, Musician)

sings, plays guitar and does poems in Burns for Beginners.

Saeed Talajooy (Performer)

is Lecturer in Persian and Comparative Literature at the University of St Andrews. His main research interests are Persian poetry and Iranian drama and his hobbies include writing poetry and singing.

Fiona Watt (Publicity and Technical Support)

has achieved record sell out shows for Talking Sheep Productions. She is a founder member of Girls Rock School Edinburgh (teaching vocals and performance) and is active in many Edinburgh choirs including the UK’s largest community choir, Love Music Community Choir, experimental art-house noiseniks Rhubaba Choir and political rabble- rousers The Megaphone Choir.

Manijeh Zargar (Performer)

is an Iranian based in Edinburgh, teaching Farsi while studying for her Masters in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. She has a passion for poetry – especially Persian poetry.

Keep in Touch

If you’re booking a show or have any questions email us directly at Otherwise send us your details so we can update you with our latest news.