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King's old school reinterprets Macbeth sixty years after his Majesty's leading role

Pupils from King Charles’ former school will stage an innovative performance of Macbeth at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, 61 years after its most famous pupil joined the school and went on to play the lead role.

Event goers at the world's largest performance arts festival will be treated to a theatre rock adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays, showing from August 5-12 in the heart of Edinburgh. Crafted by Gordonstoun's Dance and Drama department, the piece presents a high-energy performance, integrating acting, movement and song, bringing this story to the stage as it’s never been seen before.

In an unconventional collision of genres, the play amalgamates Shakespeare's prose with Biffy Clyro’s lyrics and music, taking the audience on an energetic exploration of power, scrutinising how it might lead to downfall. Tracks include top hits ‘Mountains’ and ‘Many of Horror’, and the Scottish Rock band was chosen for this contemporary pairing as the songs touch upon many of the same topics explored throughout the play. 

18 year old student Angus Brown, who plays Macbeth and plans to study film and acting at university, said:  

“Macbeth was my first real introduction to Shakespeare and, from an acting perspective, I have absolutely fallen in love with the language and style of his writing. Paired with the music of Biffy Clyro, this version of Macbeth is definitely a unique experience. To all that come to watch, I hope you enjoy the show!” 

18 year old Theo MacGregor, who plays Lady Macbeth, said:

“It's been the most incredible experience to do our version of Macbeth! The process of combining the 400-year-old show with modern rock music has been a lot of fun and really ramps the show up. We have the most amazing team and teachers! I'm so excited to go to the Fringe with them, even if it is totally nerve-racking.“It’s been fascinating playing the part of Lady Macbeth and I’ve been able to find my own style of acting throughout the process. She is pushed to insanity by personal grief and pain, more than merely being a horrible person, but she certainly is manipulative.”

Both Theo and Angus have been heavily involved in the dance and drama departments throughout their time at Gordonstoun, initially sharing the role of ‘Puck’ in ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ three years ago.

King Charles joined Gordonstoun in 1962 and went on to play Macbeth in the school production in 1966.

Commenting, Principal of Gordonstoun Lisa Kerr said:

“This is a production cloaked in passion and energy. The rock musical production of Macbeth is worlds apart from the one His Majesty will remember. Our drama department has reinterpreted the famous play using some of Biffy Clyro’s best known songs and combined them with Shakespeare’s prose.  Performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is such an exciting opportunity for the students, and the audience will bear witness to Macbeth as they have never seen it before.”

A total of 15 students from Gordonstoun, aged from 16-18, will take part in the performance. The last time Gordonstoun staged a theatre production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was in 2014. The performance will be shown at Paradise in Augustines, George IV Bridge, and tickets are available to purchase here.

The production was first staged at the school last year (2022). Comments from audience members included:

“Macbeth like I’d never imagined it – dynamic, raw, urgent and the music just works! I wish Shakespeare could see it! I think he’d smile.”

“What an absolutely outstanding production of Macbeth by the Senior School students of Gordonstoun.  This modern upbeat rock musical production performed to the highest calibre will have you on the edge of your seats from start to finish. Shakespeare’s words combined with words and lyrics from Biffy Clyro. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  A production not to be missed!”

July 2023