Outlawed by Mary of Guise, Robin returns

Stan Reeves as the Abbot of Unreason
Stan Reeves as the Abbot of Unreason
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A PLAY about Robin Hood and his Merry Men will be performed at the Netherbow Theatre later this week, a place it was banned from by Mary of Guise in 1555.

Gathering at John Knox house on Saturday, and you can meet Sherwood Forest’s most famous citizens, Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John and the Abbot of Unreason, and other May Day revellers past and present, in a free performance.

Robin Hood’s escapades are firmly embedded in our cultural imagination thanks to film and television adaptations over the years. But over time, the roots of Robin Hood in folklore, have largely been forgotten.

The tradition of the Robin Hood Games, which would take place every year in Burghs across Scotland engaged whole communities.

The celebrations which centred around May Day would often last for four days. Short plays would be performed featuring Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marion and the Abbot of Unreason.

The Robin Hood Games and plays were often lively and bawdy so the Scots Queen Mary of Guise decided to ban any form of Robin Hood celebrations or festivities as they were being performed at a time of civil unrest which led up to the Scottish Reformation.

This caused outrage among Edinburgh citizens which resulted in riots outside the Netherbow Port in the Old Town.

Now The Scottish Storytelling Centre, The Netherbow will host the traditional play telling the story of the outlaw as part of TradFest.

The People’s Heritage events have been specially commissioned for TradFest in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 and presents a unique opportunity to come face-to-face with Edinburgh’s past.

Robin Hood, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Royal Mile, Saturday, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, free