“Firebrand, the theatre company based in the Borders, has a knack for identifying new plays that are destined to become contemporary classics.”
Allan Radcliffe, in his 4 star review of Grounded for The Times
Pictured: Ellie Zeegen and Richard Baron on location on Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh for A Journey with Nan Shepherd, 2022
For over a decade, Firebrand has specialised in high-quality touring revivals and reinventions of unfairly neglected Scottish plays to premieres of outstanding new writing, produced from its home in the Scottish Borders.
In 2022, we were delighted to expand into the world of radio and podcasts with Fireworks producing A Journey with Nan Shepherd in association with Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Fast forward to 2024 and as Associate Company, the premiere of Nan Shepherd: Naked and Unashamed premieres at Pitlochry, opening their Summer Season in May. This year lso sees the premiere of our Firebrand adpatation of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own at Duns Play Fest on May 3rd.
At its core is Ellie Zeegen as creative director, actor and producer, Richard Baron as director of productions, and Susan Taylor as executive director and producer. We all believe in the transforming visceral and emotional power of epic theatre produced in intimate theatrical spaces.
Firebrand launched at The Wynd Theatre, Melrose in 2010, having been founded that same year by Ellie Zeegen and Janet Coulson. After three successful productions there, we transferred its base to arts venue Heart of Hawick where we went on to work in partnership on many more critically acclaimed national tours, A Play, A Pie and A Pint and highly popular site-specific productions. We also greatly enjoyed working in co-production with The Byre Theatre, St Andrews, on the first Scottish tours of the monologues Grounded and The Match Box, and collaborating with Pitlochry Festival Theatre on a hugely successful tour of Rona Munro’s The Last Witch and A Journey with Nan Shepherd podcast trilogy.
Firebrand are grateful for the support of Live Borders, Heart of Hawick and The William Syson Foundation
For more information on our previous shows please go to our Past Productions section.
Ellie Zeegen (Founder, Creative Producer, Actor)
Ellie forged Firebrand in 2010 and has gone onto co-produced every production since. She also co-founded The Actors Temple which trained hundreds of actors in London's West End.
Ellie is fiercely passionate about the theatre and acting has been honoured to play many dream roles including Olga in The Three Sisters, Ophelia, a female Indiana Jones and the Prime Minister since her debut of Jane Eyre at 16.
Additionally, Ellie has over 20 years script development experience and has nurtured many new writing projects including Page to Stage and Create with Director Law Ballard which featured Awaken by Cheryl Prince (runner up: Park Theatre Script Accelerator), Scooter by Paula Connelly (recipient of the Tim Gebbells Bursary) and Normalcy by Bonnie Adair.
A graduate of St Andrews University, Richard is Firebrand’s Director of Productions and a former Scottish Arts Council Trainee Director at the the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, Season Director at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and associate director at the Perth, Dundee Rep and Nottingham Playhouse theatres. His productions have won TMA, Herald Angel and CATS Awards and have been nominated for 13 other major national awards. His Royal Lyceum/Bath Theatre Royal co-production of Look Back in Anger won TMA and CATS Best Actor and Director awards and nominations for Richard and David Tennant and he has been described as “one of the most accomplished and imaginative directors working in Britain today” (The Stage). Notable productions include a 2018 CATS Award-winning production of The Monarch of the Glen, followed by the musical Chicago at Pitlochry, Bold Girls at the Glasgow Citizens and a sold out Firebrand/PFT tour of The Last Witch to the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Richard Baron (Director of Productions)
Susan joined Firebrand in July 2017. Before that, she spent eleven years transforming a derelict spinning mill into Heart of Hawick, a £10m multi award-winning arts and culture –led regeneration project. Wider responsibilities included leading on Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership programme, commissioning “A Cultural Strategy for the Scottish Borders” and planning and shaping a Cultural Forum for the creative sector. An experienced senior manager, producer, researcher and cultural planner, Susan’s skills include initiating and developing creative partnerships and new projects to support the artistic vision and business objectives of the Company. Prior to Heart of Hawick, she worked in publishing and finance and was an Arts & Business Skills Bank Adviser for many years. Susan holds an MBA from The University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Cultural Planning & Policy, supervised by Professor Franco Bianchini, one of Europe’s leading authorities on cultural planning.