Muir intriguing events on the way to celebrate ‘father of Scottish democracy’

Thomas Muir, radical reformer and adventurer
Thomas Muir, radical reformer and adventurer

EXCITEMENT is rising as plans are firmed up for a festival celebrating the life and times of one of Scotland’s greatest sons – Thomas Muir.

A series of special events will be held in Bishopbriggs and beyond between Wednesday, November 13, and Saturday, November 16.

Muir – known as the Father of Scottish Democracy – was persecuted and banished for his beliefs. His family owned Huntershill House and there is a cairn at Huntershill Village, as well as a heritage trail in his memory.

Organiser Jimmy Watson said: “The Thomas Muir Festival is about democracy and how we as a community interpret this through freedom of speech and creativity.

“From a local history point of view, we’ll be focusing on the 1820 Rising, which is directly linked to the struggle for political reform that Thomas Muir fought for.

“We are working hard to make this year’s festival the best so far. ”

Iain Arnott, manager of Mugdock Park and one of the organisers of the Kirkintilloch Canal Festival, is on board to organise the main events at the Fort Theatre on the Saturday night – November 16.

Cadder Parish Church is organising a special event that will include Kirkintilloch Male Voice Choir, Pam Cowan (playing the clàrsach), Don Martin and a recital of William Muir’s poetry on November 15. It is a free event, but donations will help

raise funds for the planned Thomas Muir stained-glass window in the church.

The 2013 festival will include events in Milngavie for the first time.

* Douglas Academy are hosting this year’s symposium on November 13. Original music specially written for the event will be performed during the afternoon and pupils will be speaking alongside some of Scotland’s leading academics and local historians.

* Hopscotch Theatre – one of last year’s favourites with families – is returning with its new show, Cinderella.

* Around 40 Bishopbriggs Academy pupils are performing two Shakespeare plays.

* Bishopbriggs Library is arranging a number of events on November 15 aimed at families and older members of the community, to include a haunted evening when the library closes its doors, afternoon tea with poetry recitals and music.

* On November 14 it is planned to have an art exhibition at the Thomas Muir Coffee Shop. There will also be a Reading of the Rising by Hector MacMillan.

* The Fort Theatre is the place to be on Saturday, November 16, with Bishopbriggs Academy plays, a puppet show, Hopscotch children’s theatre and Antonine Youth Theatre. Also on that day, Forth and Clyde Canal Society is holding a cruise with a Thomas Muir Trail talk.

Mr Watson said: “We’re always looking for people who want to help out and support what we’re doing, local business to sponsor us or organise and host events in their own venue. Get in touch – info@thomasmuir.co.uk.”

* What’s your view? E-mail kirkyherald@jnscotland.co.uk

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