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Gilgamesh Poster
Written by Edwin Morgan
Director Tam Dean Burn
Designer Gemma Patchett
Costume Designer Eilidh Livingstone
Lighting Designer Grant Anderson
Venue New Athenaeum Theatre
Rehearsal Period 4 Sept -15 Oct '10
Tech Week 18 Oct '10
Performance Dates 2 - 6 Nov '10

Gilgamesh is the first A3 performance for the 2010/11 season at the RSAMD.

What lasts, what changes, what survives? Is anything immortal?

The epic of Gilgamesh is the world’s oldest surviving poem, over 4000 years old, but only discovered in the middle of the 19th century.

The Play of Gilgamesh was written by Edwin Morgan, Scotland's national poet. Morgan’s verse-play translation brings the ancient story of the hero king Gilgamesh to life, moving easily between ritual, comedy and moments of intense beauty – and has never been performed until now.

Promising to be a highlight of the season, renowned theatremaker Tam Dean Burn directs an edited version of Morgan's larger than life play, with songs and original music composed and played live by jazz and Scottish traditional music performers.

Flickr set by Fiona Nisbet

Flickr set by RSAMD


Gilgamesh, a king Sam Spanjian

Enkidu, a wild man Robert Shaw

Shamhat, a harlot Tamara Donnelly

Hamman, Armourer, Councillor - Ben Allan

Guard, Ninsun, Lesbian Blacksmith, Humbaba and Doctor - Lynn Ferguson

Nedu, Transvestite, Councillor, Armourer, Priest and Anu - Andrew Marquardt

Harlot, Married Woman, Ishtar and Nurse - Emily Rees

Female Prisoner, Jester and Nurse - Rebecca Smith

Production Team

Production Manager Lynfryn Mackenzie

Stage Manager Laura Jarvis

Deputy Stage Manager James Clelland

Assistant Stage Managers Ross Oliver, Samantha Burt

Technical Stage Manager Thomas Velluet - Draper

Production Technicians Iain Jolly , Simon Legg , Fiona Nisbet

Production Electrician Jonny Reed

Assistant Production Electrician Madeleine Hillmann

Electrics Crew Fraser Walker , Chris Gowling , Jonathan Towers

Sound Designer Jamie Fallen

Assistant Sound Designer Heather Sorensen

Technical Challenges

Gauze Tower

During the recent production of "Gilgamesh" there were few technical challenges that we had to overcome. The main challenge was to rig a gauze tower that hugged the set, could be rigged simply, had a sharp crease down the corner and could be flown live.


We also had to come up with a way of rigging a bull so that it could be safely rigged, yet easily detached during the show by performers.


Gilgamesh, RSAMD, Glasgow Published on 4 Nov 2010 in The Herald

Keith Bruce

A worthy tribute to the mastery of Morgan


Let us hope that the delegates at IETM are not so distracted by the packed programme of Scottish theatrical hits that has been assembled for their delectation to ignore what might be the most interesting theatre project on this weekend’s list.

Tam Dean Burn’s staging of Edwin Morgan’s lively version of the story of the Mesopotamian king has a cast of nine third-year drama students and a pit band of half a dozen from the jazz and traditional music courses, who have each composed one of the songs in the score. If the performances are not always the most measured you’ll see, there is none without merit and Sam Spanjian as Gilgamesh and Andrew Rothney as his primitive confrere Enkidu are very much in command of their roles, while Grant McFarlane’s Song of the Transvestites and Tricia Mullan’s Song of the Little Refreshment are the pick of the score.

Burn and his young company have taken on a truly epic task, and it would be unfair to assess it as anything other than a work-in-progress (it doesn’t so much end as stop) but the conception of the work is really quite superb, cleverly exploiting contemporary resonances with conflict in the Middle East and staged with effective use of video projection as well as a distinctly Peter Brook-esque earthy honesty.

Student costume designer Eilidh Livingstone’s kilts and head-dresses are also a crucially effective ingredient.

Just as importantly, though, the company do Morgan proud. His text is spiced with delicious jokes, both geo-historical at the expense of Babylonians and Egyptians and more contemporary (the conversational range of hairdressers), and his rhymes are often laugh-out-loud outrageous and well served by the verse-speaking of these young players.