A Doric twist will be given to a children's Christmas favourite as part of a special event to help those who have moved away from the north-east reconnect with their time here.
Aberdeen-based writer and performer Shane Strachan has translated sections of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ for the University of Aberdeen’s Celebration of Carols to be held in London on December 18.
The event, now in its sixth year, brings together former students of the University to celebrate the festive season.
Shane, who is originally from Fraserburgh, will read at St Marylebone Parish Church alongside entertainer and performer Robert Lovie and singer, songwriter, broadcaster and producer Fiona Kennedy who are both honorary Aberdeen graduates.
Joining the festivities for the first time will also be actress Sophie Kennedy Clark who won a Scottish Bafta for her role in the film Philomena starred in BBC drama The Cry.
He said: “I’ll be reading passages taken from the last half of the book and although this is for a one-off performance, we have seen from the Doric Gruffalo just how well this kind of translation can capture the public imagination.
“Dr Seuss’s ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ is beautifully written but because it is quite rhymed, it can be tricky to translate this kind of work into Doric with different vowel sounds from English.
“I was surprised how much of it has come across well but the characters really take on a different dimension in Doric and the Grinch has a more humorous tone!”
Shane, who is a triple graduate of the University, added that he was delighted to be asked to perform at an event where he hopes to spot a few familiar faces in the audience.
“I spent eight years at the University of Aberdeen but when you graduate you naturally follow the opportunities wherever they may take you.
“With so many people working in or having access to London I’m looking forward to reconnecting with people I met during my time who have since moved away.
“I hope that the reading from The Grinch will also add to the sense of reconnecting as it’s a story most people will know and as all the graduates spent several years living in Aberdeen or may come from the region originally they’ll all have come into some contact with Doric.
“It is such a big part of our regional identity so whether those in the audience are fluent speakers or know only a couple of words, I hope that hearing The Grinch in our local tongue will help them to re-connect with the north-east and their memories of their time as a student here.”
The service led by Revd Canon Stephen Evans, who studied at Aberdeen, will also feature the winners of the 2019 Ogston Music Prize, Matthew Kilner (saxophone)and David Walsh (tenor) and former students will have the chance to meet University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor George Boyne – a fellow member of the University’s alumni family - over mulled wine and mince pies.
Professor Boyne said: “Our Celebration of Carols has proved hugely popular and is a way to bring people back together at this important time of year.
“Whether former students studied alongside each other or decades apart, they have the University of Aberdeen in common and many shared memories of people, places and events which have shaped their lived and careers.
“We are delighted to be able to offer an opportunity for them to come together in one of the world’s busiest cities and to be able to raise money to support University causes with all proceeds from the 2019 event going to support the new Centre for Women's Health.”
Places are complimentary but numbers are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. They are available to book here or by calling 01224 273234.
Author: Joanne Milne