Pomegranates, Music, Poetry, Dance


Part of Pomegranates 2024

(Sat 27 Apr: 7:30pm)

Experience a dance poem lamenting the lives lost in our challenging world of wars, ecocide and inequality.

Weaving together dance theatre, spoken word and live music, this is the first dance adaptation of the poetry book Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (1948) by Hamish Henderson, Scottish soldier-poet, singer-songwriter and scholar-folk revivalist. Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Henderson winning the Somerset Maugham Award in 1949 for this very book, still considered the finest poetic writing to come out of the Second World War. The fragility of life is depicted in Henderson’s first-hand accounts from the North African desert military campaign and captured in his dedication of the book: ‘for our own and the others'; the story of the common bonds in the ‘deadlands’ of Cyrenaica (modern-day Libya) and shared helplessness of those loved ones at home waiting, praying - and dancing.

Set in a dancehall and a desert, this production is led by dancer-choreographer duo Helen Gould and George Adams who together with dancers Nicola Thomson and Edwin Wen embody ceilidh, jive, swing and lindy hop, evoking popular social dance culture of the 1940s and creating a cultural bridge to the present day.

Gould and Adams incorporate the reading of Henderson’s poems by poet/spoken word artists Morag Anderson and Stephen Watt, live music from vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Cera Impala and upcycled period costumes and set created by costume and light designers Katie Duxbury and Roddy Simpson.

★★★★ 'Evocative and relevant' (All Edinburgh Theatre)
★★★★ 'Respectful and sincere. Sombre and considerate' (Corr Blimey)


A new production by Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland originally commissioned by the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2023, Elegies is curated and produced by Jim Mackintosh, Iliyana Nedkova and Wendy Timmons.

Established in 2022, Pomegranates is Scotland’s annual festival of international dance. Initiated and produced by Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in partnership with Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Libraries, Dance Base and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This year, the festival features artists’ residencies and social dance sessions, exhibitions and tours, shows and workshops, plus our first Pomegranates Family Sunday. Find out more about Pomegranates below.


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