New production of ‘Get Up and Tie Your Fingers’ written for Eyemouth

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A special adaptation of the script of ‘Get Up and Tie Your Fingers’ and the accompanying choral piece is being written for an Eyemouth cast.

The call has gone out for local people to get involved, whether it be singing, acting or helping behind the scenes and anyone interested is invited along to the first meeting in Eyemouth Parish Church Hall on Sunday, January 31, from 3-5pm.

The original award-winning play by Ann Coburn has been performed in Eyemouth before but the choral score, added when the play was used as part of a hugely successful community art event ‘Follow the Herring’ which toured the east coast of Scotland and England, has never been sung in Eyemouth and Eleanor Logan decided it was finally time the play and choral accompaniment came home to the fishing port.

Ann Coburn’s moving play ‘Get Up and Tie Your Fingers’ tells the story of the day 45 fishing boats left Eyemouth for the fishing grounds and how a great storm took the lives of 129 men and boys from the port. The story is told through the eyes of three local women, mother and daughter Jean and Molly and their neighbour Janet, the title coming from the fishing lassies who followed the herring fishing down the east coast gutting up to 60 fish a minute who would tie their fingers with sail cloth to protect them from the sharp gutting knives because in the winter they couldn’t feel if they had sliced through flesh until their hands started to thaw in the evening.

For the 2014 ‘Follow the Herring’ event Karen Wimhurst was commissioned to add a choral score and now Ann and Karen have collaborated to produce a new version of ‘Get Up and Tie Your Fingers’ specifically for an Eyemouth cast and audience.

Ann has adapted the narrative to make the focus far more on narrating the story and while the original choral piece was for female voices only, the wealth and depth of singers in the Berwickshire community has prompted Karen to broaden the score to add in male voices to this particular production.

The result is a production which involves a unique series of readings and songs to be performed by the community.

A grant from Creative Funding has helped project manager, music and singing coach Eleanor Logan, bring the whole thing together: “I sang in the production in Musselburgh and thought it was such a shame it was never performed in Eyemouth.

“This is as much about the process of people coming together and learning together over the next six months as it is about the final production.

“The reason we are doing this is we asked the community if they would like to have a go at it and they came forward with lots of ideas about how to do it, so there was definitely a lot of 
interest locally.

The advantage of the production being in Eyemouth is that few, if any, of those involved will need to have the story explained to them.

The detail of the fishing disaster will never be allowed to be forgotten in Eyemouth and the Berwickshire fishing port still lives with the consequences of that fateful day which makes this performance on home ground all the more poignant for those taking part, reflecting on where the community is now.