Tumbling Lassie to star in three festivals

17 Jul


THE Tumbling Lassie, a 17th century girl who has been adopted by a group of advocates to highlight the evils of modern slavery and people trafficking, will feature in three different festivals next month.

First, Eric Robertson, Advocate, one of seven members of the Faculty of Advocates who make up the Tumbling Lassie Committee, is to lead a discussion, “Slaves in Scotland”, at the Just Festival in St John’s Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh, on 10 August.

Then, attention will turn to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square Gardens, where, on 15 August, Alan McLean, QC, Chair of the Tumbling Lassie Committee, will explain the background to the story of the Tumbling Lassie, and novelist Alexander McCall Smith and composer Tom Cunningham will talk about how they have been inspired to write an operetta telling the story. There will also be a contribution from International Justice Mission (IJM), a charity working in the developing world to help rescue people from slavery.

And for five days, 16-20 August, the Tumbling Lassie operetta will be performed by Edinburgh Studio Opera in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at Hill Street Theatre, along with another McCall Smith/Cunningham work, Fergus of Galloway.

Known only as “the tumbling lassie”, the girl was “bought” from her mother and used by a travelling showman as a performing gymnast until she fled and was given refuge by a couple.

In 1687, the showman went to court and demanded damages from the couple, but the judges dismissed his claim, and the official report of the case stated: “But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns.”

The Tumbling Lassie Committee has raised more than £56,000 for IJM and Community Safety Glasgow’s Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA).

Alan McLean, QC, said: “Thanks to Sandy McCall Smith, Tom Cunningham and many other generous supporters, the Tumbling Lassie is developing a new life of her own, 330 years after she was declared free by the Court of Session. It is very exciting that her story is inspiring so many people and we hope that the results will include raised awareness of the problems today, and more funds for our charities that fight for those who still suffer from modern slavery and people trafficking.”

Details of each of the events are at https://www.just-festival.org/2018-just-festival-programme#/slaves-in-scotland/,  https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/tumbling-lassie-with-alexander-mccall-smith-11846  and https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tumbling-lassie

For more about the Tumbling Lassie, see www.tumblinglassie.com