“Firebrand, the theatre company based in the Borders, has a knack for identifying new plays that are destined to become contemporary classics.”
Allan Radcliffe, in his 4**** review of Grounded for The Times
Award-winning Firebrand specialises in producing high quality touring revivals and reinventions of unfairly neglected Scottish plays, and Scottish premieres of outstanding new international work, from its home in the Scottish Borders. At its core are Janet Coulson and Ellie Zeegen as co-artistic directors, actors and producers, and Richard Baron as director of productions, all three of whom believe in the transforming visceral and emotional power of epic theatre produced in intimate theatrical spaces.
The team was further strengthened in July 2017 when Susan Taylor, previously General Manager of Heart of Hawick, joined as Associate Producer. An experienced producer, researcher and cultural planner, Susan’s skills include initiating and developing creative partnerships and new projects to support the artistic vision and business objectives of the company.
Firebrand was formed after Ellie and Janet both relocated to the Scottish Borders. Recognising the value and connection created by their shared history of training and performing with The Actors’ Temple (which Ellie founded) in London’s West End, they felt a serendipitous drive to create contemporary theatre together and export it nationally (and internationally) from their home in the Scottish Borders. This partnership was further strengthened by the involvement of award-winning director Richard Baron, and together this triumvirate — possessing a wealth of performing, directing and producing expertise — continue to enthuse, inspire and support each other as they develop Firebrand’s work.
Firebrand launched at The Wynd Theatre, Melrose in 2010, and after three successful productions, transferred its base to state-of-the-art new Borders arts venue Heart of Hawick. Since 2012 this award-winning regeneration project has become home; the place where we co-produce and create all our work.
Firebrand, in partnership with Heart of Hawick, has gone on to produce a series of highly successful national tours including the CATS Award-winning, sell-out tour of Iron by Rona Munro featuring the “world class” (The Scotsman) performance of Blythe Duff, and the critically acclaimed White Rose by Peter Arnott (“triumphant” Exeunt Magazine); Outlying Islands by David Grieg (“Richard Baron’s fine revival” ****The Times); the Scottish premiere of The Effect by Lucy Prebble (“compelling…lucid…superb” ****Guardian) and most recently a (“mesmerising” ****The Scotsman, ****The Times) production of the global phenomenon Grounded by George Brant.
Our Play, Pie and Pint “found space” productions include Being Norwegian by David Greig, 54% Acrylic and Blackbird (****The Scotsman, ****The Herald) by David Harrower, a hugely popular and innovative staging of The Great Train Race by Robert Dawson Scott, heralding the arrival of the Borders Railway (“a celebration and a pleasure” ****The Scotsman) and most recently a site specific production of Letter of Last Resort by David Greig ‘a brilliant 40-minute exploration of the whole idea of deterrence theory’ ***The Scotsman) all of which highlight Firebrand’s additional immersive, interactive story-telling skills.
Janet Coulson – Artistic Director/Producer/Actor
Ellie Zeegen – Artistic Director/Producer/Actor
Richard Baron – Director of Productions
Susan Taylor – Associate Producer