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1) English Premier. An Evening with Robbie Burns. (Ilfracombe , North Devon, England - 20th Jan 2007)

2) Capturing The Spirit of Burns. (Arbroath Herald - 9th Jan 2015)

3) New Twist on Traditional Burns Night. (Dundee Courier - 12th Jan 2015)

4) ‘Burns Eye’ View of his Life. (Arbroath Herald - 23rd Jan 2015)

5) The Spirit of Burns at Knox’s Church. (Arbroath Herald - 22nd Jan 2016)

6) Get into the Spirit of Burns at Knox’s. (Arbroath Herald - 8th Jan 2016)

7) The Spirit of Burns. (Arbroath Herald - 27th Jan 2017)


My grateful thanks to the following:

Mr Duguid of the Burns Federation for his support and for providing copies of authentic handwritten correspondence to and from Robert Burns.

Theatrical directors, producers and Burns’ enthusiasts for their valuable testimonials.



(In Ilfracombe , North Devon, England,  20th January ,2007)

A Burns’ night this far south of Scotland could be a very artificial and contrived affair but thanks to Robbie Murray we were taken 300 miles or so north and 200 years back to the world of the Bard himself.

Robbie organised the venue, the casting of readers and singers and a Burns supper during an interval of the show. He also played the part of Burns in a portrayal that took us from Alloway and obscurity to Edinburgh and then to Dumfries his final residence and resting place.

It was a theatrical presentation which gave us not just the facts (though they were there) not just descriptions of who and what and where but a re-enactment with tremendous passion of the agony and ecstasy, the joys and sorrows of that turbulent life. Sat at his table, quill in hand, cup of kindness beside him, he took us through all that Burns experienced and endured recording it in his commonplace book.

It was this that gave such meaning and significance to all else that happened, the reading and singing of the lyrics that in many cases have been familiar to us since our school days. We were fortunate in having with us not only Robbie but others from north of the border who gave us the authentic sounds in reading and song.

How better to begin the evening than with the skirl of the pipes and live pipers leading in the performers.

Then the interval and the dramatic moment when the haggis was piped in and addressed by our President---a first for him. The meal was in tune with the evening, the Selkirk grace then followed by (which for most was the first experience) that unique traditional haggis dish.

To complete the life story we returned to the stage show to follow Burns and his untimely end at the tender age of 38 years but again we revelled in the heritage he has left us . How else could we have ended the evening but in the way Burns has taught the world to end all significant events ---with crossed arms, holding hands and singing “Should auld acquaintance be forgot”.

Thank you Robbie Murray and thank you ‘Our Robbie Burns’ (for tonight they were one ) for a delightful and memorable evening.

                                            Jim Bates ,Ilfracombe, North Devon.