‘But pleasures are like poppies spread, 
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; 
Or like the snow falls in the river, 
A moment white – then melts for ever…’

Toonspeak are often approached to take part in events and projects outwith our regular programme, and sometimes it is for our participants to take part in performance opportunities.

And thus we were delighted to be asked by the Hunterian Museum to participate in their special “Night at the Museum” event to celebrate Burns Night.

Our young people were asked to recite one of Rabbie Burns’ most famous works as quoted above, ye olde favourite Tam O’ Shanter.


Regular Toonies Eve, Karly, Millie and Casey came forward to perform. They joined an ensemble including members of Platform Young Company, students and professional actors for a staged reading of Rabbie Burns’ most famous poem Tam O’ Shanter.  The young people did themselves and Toonspeak proud. Their performance was staged alongside musical performances, readings and some fantastic living history.

“It was a great privilege to have the young people from Toonspeak contribute to our Burns on Stage Night at the Museum at The Hunterian.  Active engagement though the performing arts was a new approach for us, and we were moved by the passion and conviction of their contributors to the Tam O’ Shanter performance.  Being able to stand up in front of a huge crowd of people with little or no preparation and hold the audience for that spine tingling moment was an incredible achievement, (approx. 1000 people were booked into the event.)  We would like to build on this experience and pursue new other opportunities to work with Toonspeak again in the future.”
Message from Monica Callaghan (Head of Education at The Hunterian, Glasgow University)


It was also lovely to see a familiar face on the night, Libby McArthur, who we bumped into outside. Libby was generous enough to give plenty of encouragement to our readers, and some professional tips on delivery. General Manager Alan Govan was very thankful for this when he ended up being drafted in to join the group on stage!

Hopefully we did justice to this fantastic poem. The large crowd seemed to enjoy it.  Thanks to everyone at the Hunterian Museum for having us.


Copyright:  Photographic Unit, University of Glasgow


As Toonspeak’s Young Company kicks off, we look forward to more performances out and about over the coming years.