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The Buke of the Howlat

“Granted; we are but songbirds.

Though Nature has charged us wi a task –

Tae cerry forward these forgotten wurds,

An we’re duty bound, alas. “


The Buke of the Howlat premiered as part of Findhorn Bay Arts 2018 Festival in a unique promenade adaptation of the 15th century epic Old Scots poem by Richard Holland written at Darnaway Estate, Moray.




As the show begins at dusk, the audience gather with four songbirds amidst the ancient trees on the edge of Darnaway Forest at Brodie Castle Estate to celebrate the poet, and his patrons the Douglas family, with comic disagreement and beautiful harmonies.


Follow them deeper into the Forest where we gather together to hear the tail about the Howlat (young owl) – who believes himself to be ugly and blames Mother Nature for his misfortune. Seated under the stars we’ll join the Peacock-Pope, head of the Forest, and his summoning of the great birds from near and far to hear the Howlat’s plea.


A team of professional actor-musicians, a choir and a community cast featuring talented young people, work with an award winning creative team to bring this very old and very significant story of wealth, power and creativity to life.

Buke image
The Buke of Howlat at Brodie



"The Buke of the Howlat is a stunning and colourful interpretation of a 600-year-old tale of envy and retribution." (Forres Web)


"...a grand adventure" (Keith Bruce, The Herald, 4****)


"There’s no overstating the scale of what producer Kresanna Aigner, Young and director Ben Harrison have achieved in presenting this important and joyous show, as part of Aigner’s increasingly impressive Findhorn Bay Festival; it feels as though a fire has been lit in Moray that will not be extinguished, in terms of bringing Holland’s work, and the culture it represents, back to life." (Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman)


Audience reactions


"What a delight of language, colour, music, wit and movement. Songbirds braw. Nightingale hilarious. Deft integration of a community cast. Visually vibrant. Crack musicians. Something about the swallows broke my heart. Bravo! Bravo!" (Karine Polwart, singer)


"A glorious night" (Karen Dick, Creative Scotland)


"I genuinely loved every minute and feel so honoured to have been given the opportunity to see such a creative and beautiful production. From the dedicated and versatile community cast to the exceptional musicians and the outstandingly talented and clever leading actors, I salute you, you took my breath away!" (Emma Sharpe, dragonfly drama)


"You mixed the original story and poem and humour and history and humour - and masterly craftsmanship." (Frieda Morrison, Scots Radio)  






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