by Sue GloverBuy Tickets


By Sue Glover
Directed by Lu Kemp

"Redd up the stables, muck out the byre, plant the tatties, howk the tatties, clamp the tatties... Shear, stook, striddle, stack. Women's work."

A true classic of modern Scottish Theatre, and a haunting evocation of a lost way of life, Sue Glover’s lyrical play with music and song follows six women land workers as they graft and dance their way through a year on a 19th Century Borders farm.

Every ploughman had to provide a woman (a bondager) to work on the farm. If his wife was too busy with family, he hired a woman to work the fields and lodge in his home. Following these women  through the passing of the seasons, we feel the rhythm of the land and the harshness, humour, hope and tragedy of those who worked upon it. 

Lu Kemp has recently has directed Don Quixote at Òran Mór, and Arabian Nights at the Tricycle Theatre. We are delighted to welcome her to The Lyceum to direct this wonderful ensemble piece.

“One of the finest plays of the modern Scottish theatre… raw and rough, warm and tender, funny enough to make your heart dance and moving enough to steal it away.”  Scotland on Sunday

Cast and Credits

Cath Whitefield - Tottie
Pauline Lockhart - Maggie
Wendy Seager - Sara
Jayd Johnson - Liza
Charlene Boyd - Jenny
Nora Wardell - Ellen

Director - Lu Kemp
Designer - Jamie Vartan
Lighting Designer - Simon Wilkinson
Composer/Sound Designer - Michael John McCarthy
Movement - Ian Spink
Voice - Ros Steen
Assistant Director - Becky Hope-Palmer
Assistant Designer - Sarah June Mills



Production trailer

Dates, Times & Prices

22 October – 15 November 2014

22, 23 and 24 October, 7.30pm
All Preview tickets £10 and on sale now - click here

EVENINGS, 7.30pm
Tuesday - Saturday

Wednesdays and Saturdays

Running time: 2hrs 20minutes, including a 20 minute interval


Season Tickets - click here for more info
From £56* for Under 26s

Individual Tickets
EVENINGS, 7.30pm
Tuesday - Saturday: £15 - £29*
Wednesday and Saturday: £12.50 - £24*

From £10*

*A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings.



  • Thursday 6 November - 7.30pm
  • Touch Tour - 6.15pm
  • Saturday 8 November - 2pm
  • Touch Tour - 12.45pm


  • Wednesday 12 November - 7.30pm


  • Saturday 15 November, 2pm

Read The Lyceum's Access Statement: click here

Take Part

Come and join our experts in a discussion of the wider themes, the writer and the play's historical context.

  • Wednesday 29 October | 10.30am - 12noon
  • Wyndham Bar
  • Tickets: £6 per event, includes complimentary coffee and tea

Join us in the Stalls of the auditorium post-show to meet the cast and driector for a discussion about the performance.

  • Tuesday 4 November
  • The post-show discussion will be fascilitated by Bondagers Director, Lu Kemp

Get in touch with our Creative Learning team to find out more about booking show specific workshops.

Press Coverage


Allan Radcliffe, The Times
"... Kemp harnesses the earthy lyricism of the writing to create a deeply moving, richly textured piece of theatre..." (paywall)

Clare Brennan, The Observer
"Lu Kemp’s fine new production, [...] brings out another aspect of the play: the mystical quality present in the relationship between people and land."

Mark Fisher, The Guardian
"Kemp’s six-strong cast hit a strident note from the start...the production brilliantly captures the play’s swirling impressionism"

Thom Dibdin, The Stage
"...a production which entrances with its historical detail and draws you into its year-long cycle of the bondagers...Poetic but hardworking take of a modern Scottish classic makes for a welcome and timely revival"

Neil Cooper, The Herald
"After more than a decade without a production on home soil, one of the most striking things about Bondagers is just how ground-breaking the play's fusion of rich poetic text, striking physicality and a rhythmic musicality remains."

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
"Wonderful performances...Glover’s drama has lost none of its energy or timeliness"

Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre
"Lu Kemp’s direction does great justice to the poetry, drama and humour of the play...The Lyceum deserves great praise for bringing Bondagers back."

Anne Hamilton, Lothian Life
"my notebook was forgotten and I was engrossed in the play"

Emma Hay, TV Bomb
"pure poetry...The most striking thing about Lu Kemp’s production is the sense of vastness..."

Pip Burnett, Mumble Theatre
"an enjoyable, almost playful, energy throughout"

Gareth Davies, The Public Reviews
"Whitefield’s stand-out performance as Tottie captures a beguiling, inquisitive energy, as well as the inevitable vulnerability of being naïve and unwordly."

(Publication does not award stars)
Mark Brown, The Sunday Herald
"... as brilliantly hellish an evocation of modern slave labour as I have ever witnessed in a theatre."
"... sense of truly collective theatre making pervades the piece, from the superb ensemble acting to the memorable music, song and choreography.'"

(Please note: This review is behind paywall and part of an article on two other productions.)

Click articles to read more


Rehearsal photos:

Production photos: