O is for Hoolet

Keep an eye on this page, or on my professional Facebook page, to hear about upcoming performances.

The Hoolet was made with the Arches (RIP) and first performed at Behaviour Festival 2015. From April to June 2016, the show was performed across Scotland in our rural tour funded by Creative Scotland and North East Arts Touring. We then took the show to the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Fringe 2016. We toured various festivals in 2017: Columbafest, in Glasgow,  Solas in Perthshire and Tartan Heart Festival, Belladrum.


Language is personal. Nothing gets closer to our hearts. And yet, by its own nature, it’s always social. Who owns it? Who appoints it? Who governs it? And why?

In this one-woman show about the Scots language, Ishbel McFarlane presents collected fragments – stories, interviews, memories, characters and attitudes – to challenge and disrupt our expectations and prejudices about language. By interrogating the history of Scots, and the ways in which it is taught and subdued, the audience is invited to question the way forward for minority languages. Winner of The Arches Platform 18: New Directions Award 2014.


‘A witty, intelligent, and interesting discussion on the subject of language’ ★★★★★ Darrow

‘A passionate call to arms for the study and preservation of minority languages.’ ★★★★ The Times

‘McFarlane is engaging as herself and as the linguists, philosophers and writers she embodies.’ ★★★★ The Skinny

‘An engaging, heart-warming piece which is a lovingly made look at language as a living, pulsating, external thing as natural as breathing.’ ★★★★ The List

‘Heartwarming and cerebral, ‘Hoolet’ is a triumph of both style and content.’ Kirkintilloch Herald

‘A gorgeous, thinky, clever hour’ Kirstin Innes (Author of Fishnet)

Writer and performer: Ishbel McFarlane

Dramaturgy: Vanessa Coffey

Design: Lisa Sangster

Produced by The Arches (2014-15) and Feral Arts (2015-present)