Shakespeare on the move stops off at the Cruickshank gardens

The University of Aberdeen's Cruickshank Botanic Garden will host an outdoor performance of Macbeth, which will arrive at the scenic venue thanks to pedal power.

The University of Aberdeen’s Cruickshank Botanic Garden will host an outdoor performance of Macbeth, which will arrive at the scenic venue thanks to the pedal power of a touring sustainable theatre group.

The gardens have been added to a list of tour dates for the HandleBards – an award-winning company taking their irreverent version of Shakespeare’s Scottish play the length and breadth of the country.

It is the first major public event the Botanic garden has hosted since the pandemic began and curator Mark Paterson says the Handlebards are a very fitting first act.

“Cruickshank Botanic Garden has long played an active role in cultural events through the University’s festivals and events programmes but it has been a long wait for everyone to welcome back this type of performance.

“The Handlebards badge themselves as the most environmentally friendly Shakespearean theatre company there is, packing the play onto their bikes with the performers cycling from venue to venue, so they are completely in keeping with the ethos of the Botanic garden.

“We are looking forward to seeing their unique take on a play that conjures up images of the Scottish landscape in our own beautiful corner of the country.”

Despite their mode of transport, The Handlebards have carefully considered sight lines and the social distancing of the audience and will use a bespoke wooden stage with bicycle powered mechanisms to ensure everyone gets a good view.

Their props travel with them in an electric van, in order to keep their emissions as low as possible.

The Cruickshank performance of Macbeth is on Saturday September 4 at 6pm and promises a ‘frantic, delirious, full-of-beans, bike-powered farce’, rather than the tears and tragedy that might be expected.

Jenny Fernandes, Director of External Relations at the University of Aberdeen says the performance promises to be a fun-filled family affair.

“The Handlebards’ performance is aimed at children aged eight and upwards as well as adults and we are delighted to be able to host them here at the University of Aberdeen.

“We are looking forward to experiencing their unique take on outdoor theatre in the wonderful surroundings of Cruickshank Botanic Garden. The gardens are an amazing space in the middle of our city and are an ideal setting for the return of cultural events to the University campus.  We are delighted that we can support the local economy and offer cultural experiences to city residents as the region continues on its journey of recovery from the pandemic.”

Demand for tickets meant the original release sold out almost immediately. Additional spaces have now been added and can be booked at