Foot and Mouth play tours rural venues

There's not much in the way of joy to be taken from the foot and mouth outbreaks that scarred British agriculture in 2001, but a critically acclaimed play is touring rural venues examining this very subject.

The play follows Jeff, a dairy vet with a problem and Michael, a cattle farmer, who is a problem. The two men have a begrudging respect for each other and a blossoming friendship based on sharing a fag, a nip of whisky and boisterous banter. But when Foot and Mouth sweeps through the British countryside, communities are thrown into chaos. Michael watches in grief stricken disbelief, the shooting of his beloved cows. He also watches his friend brandish the gun.

By turns heart-breaking and hilarious, And Then Come the Nightjars is a tender portrait of male friendship and a requiem to rural life.

The play will open in Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, from Monday, April 3 to Thursday, April 6, before touring throughout April to Byre Theatre in St Andrews, Eastgate Theatre in Peebles, MacArts in Galashiels, and rural Perthshire venues; Inchyra Arts Club, Blair Atholl Village Hall, Aberfeldy Town Hall, Birnam Arts Centre, Blairgowrie Town Hall and Strathearn Artspace, Crieff.

Directed by Paul Robinson and starring Finlay Welsh and Nigel Hastings, And Then Come the Nightjars was nominated for six Off West End Theatre Awards including Most Promising Playwright for writer Bea Roberts.

Bea Roberts who grew up in Devon during the Foot and Mouth crisis said: “I started writing Nightjars during the ten-year anniversary of FMD in 2011 because I felt attention needed to be paid to this devastating period in our countryside's history. I hope people whose lives were affected by FMD feel that their stories are being

acknowledged and commemorated in some way even if their exact experience differs from our characters. It's also a play about recovery and resilience and there's some hope in that even if things don't turn out as you might have wanted.”

And The Come the Nightjars is part of Perth Theatre’s offsite programme, taking theatre out to audiences across the area while the historic venue is restored and redeveloped. The transformed Perth Theatre will open later in 2017.

Tickets for And Then Come the Nightjars, at £11.50, can be booked directly at the venues. Tickets for Perthshire dates can also be booked at Perth Concert Hall. Visit for further info.

Mon 3 – Thu 6 Apr: 7.30pm Wed + Thu matinee: 2pm - Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

Tue 11 Apr: 2.30pm + 7.30pm - Byre Theatre, St Andrews

Wed 12 Apr: 7.30pm - Eastgate Theatre, Peebles

Thu 13 Apr: 7.30pm - MacArts, Galashiels

Wed 19 + Thu 20 Apr: 8pm - Inchyra Arts Club

Fri 21 Apr: 8pm - Blair Atholl Village Hall

Sat 22 Apr: 7.30pm - Aberfeldy Town Hall

Wed 26 + Thu 27 Apr: 7.30pm - Birnam Arts Centre

Fri 28 Apr: 7.30pm - Blairgowrie Town Hall

Sat 29 Apr: 8pm - Strathearn Artspace, Crieff