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Bill McLaren: Fighting the Enemy

By Firebrand Theatre Company
November 2021
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FTE Photo 3 DR & DS.JPG
FTE Photo 11 Cast.JPG

Bill McLaren/George Orwell              Crawford Logan

Bette McLaren and others                  Dannielle Stevenson

Young Bill  and others                         David Rankine

Director                                                 Richard Baron

Designer                                               Edward Lipscomb

Lighting Designer                                Laura Hawkins

Sound Designer                                   Jon Beales


Supported by Creative Scotland

With generous support from Live Borders and the Bill McLaren Foundation, our first live production in two long years went down a storm with audiences at Heart of Hawick and ended with a standing ovation for our superb and highly versatile cast of Crawford Logan, David Rankine and newcomer Dannielle Stevenson, who made an outstanding professional debut.

Written and researched by the Firebrand team and staged by director Richard Baron as a live radio play, the world premiere of Fighting the Enemy was based on the diaries and letters of rugby great Bill McLaren and author George Orwell, as they both bravely battled tuberculosis in hospitals less than an hour apart. This at times funny, romantic and intensely poignant story was enriched by Laura Hawkins inventive lighting, Jon Beales’ haunting music and the actors skilfully inhabiting multiple roles and accents— and even persuading the audience to join in an unexpected TB related sing-song!

The production was filmed for release  (more news soon) but in the meantime here is a selection of the uniformly enthusiastic comments of the many who braved floods and pandemic to come and be nourished by some live theatre!

Best night out in the Borders for 18months. Great story. Brilliant performances all round. 

Christopher Ryan on Facebook

Fantastic show, an absolute delight to watch. Well done again Firebrand. 

Verity Sinclair on Facebook

Tremendous show Firebrand. Exceptionally well written, clever, witty, extremely well performed with a very poignant message. Bravo.

Bill McLaren Foundation on Facebook

Best night out in the Borders for 18months. Great story. Brilliant performances all round. 

Christopher Ryan on Facebook

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Fighting the Enemy. It was a real treat. 

Judy Steel via Firebrand website

A fantastic performance. Very moving.

Marjorie Keys on Facebook

Simply outstanding. Huge congrats and well done to everyone involved with thisincredible production #fightingtheenemy #standingovation

@TheVoiceofRugby on Twitter


Thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with Dad (Bill McMurtrie) watching the premiere of #fightingtheenemy here in Hawick, then spending time reminiscing with Alan and

Linda Lawson afterwards. Congratulations to Firebrand Theatre Company - fantastic interpretation of all the material available. Very moving and emotional journey for many. 

Andrew McMurtrie on Facebook

Was lovely being back at the theatre and hearing some Borders accents. Really enjoyed the show.

@lesharkey on Twitter

Congratulations again on a superb play. We heard from friends who had been to the other performances how much they had enjoyed the whole occasion. 

Alan Lawson via email

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