The Tumbling Lassie

The Tumbling Lassie

"an unusual and superb piece of work", The Scotsman

Music by Tom Cunningham

Libretto by Alexander McCall Smith

This musical play is based on a true story – that of the Tumbling Lassie, a child gymnast who was displayed in a travelling show in late seventeenth century Edinburgh. This child was seen by a woman from the Borders, Mrs Scot, who rescued her from her exploitative circumstances and took her off to live in the Borders. The showman, a Mr Reid, complained that the child was his property and that she had been stolen from him. He took the matter to the Court of Session, where the judges turned down his claim – effectively giving the first ruling in a Scottish court that slavery could not exist in Scotland. The child was released: history does not record what happened to her; the assumption is that Mrs Scot took her back to the Borders where once again she enjoyed the love she had not had in her previous life.

Narrator (speaks some lines and also sings where indicated)
Soprano (sings some of the narration and usually also sings the vocal part of the Tumbling Lassie)
Tumbling Lassie (a gymnast acts the role; if desired, the vocal part can be sung by the Soprano)
The Mountebank Reid
Mrs Scot
Judge (can be sung by Narrator)

Duration: approximately 30 minutes.

First performance 14th April 2018.

You can listen to the music for the gymnast's routines here: routine 1, routine 2, routine 3, routine 4.

You can read more about the story and the modern implications here.

You can read a press article here.  Similar articles appeared in The Scotsman, The Herald and The Times.

 Tom and Sandy at the première
 The cast take a bow