By Tim Barrow
Directed by Mark Thomson

"Two Nations. Like oil and water, they cannot mix."

Union tells the story of the original Union of Scotland and England in 1707 as you’ve never heard it before.

Tim Barrow’s play is an energetic and highly theatrical romp through the raucous leaking taverns off the Royal Mile, Kensington Palace and the Scottish Parliament.

Union is rich in famous historical figures such as Daniel Defoe and Queen Anne, as well as our great Scottish poet - Allan Ramsay - who finds love in Grace, a prostitute in the bawdy and dangerous world of Eighteenth Century Edinburgh.

Don’t miss this big, foul-mouthed yet eloquent story as it leaps onto The Lyceum stage in the year of referendum.

Writer, Tim Barrow says: " Before writing this play, I knew nothing about the Act of Union in 1707 — I wasn't taught it at school. When researching these incendiary times, an amazing cast of characters were uncovered and, above all, I found the poetry of Allan Ramsay and fell under his spell. The events are incredible. Scottish MPs took money and titles to write their Parliament out of existence and their poverty-stricken, powerless citizens were left to struggle on as best they could. I am so excited to share this incredible story with Lyceum audiences."

Cast and Credits


Josh Whitelaw - Allan Ramsay
Sally Reid - Grace
Liam Brennan - Duke of Queensberry/Tea Salesman
Irene Allan - Queen Anne
Ifan Meredith - Daniel Defoe/Lord Halifax/Sergeant
Andy Vincent - Duke of Marlborough/Duke of Hamilton
Keith Fleming - Macdonald/Robert Harley/Lord Belhaven
Mark McDonnell - Earl of Seafield/William Congreve/Master of House
Tony Cownie - Earl of Stair/Robert Walpole
Rebecca Palmer - Sarah Churchill/Favour

Creative Team

Director - Mark Thomson
Designer/Video Artist - Andrzej Goulding 
LX Designer - Chris Davey
Costume Designer - Megan Baker
Composer/Sound Designer - Philip Pinsky
Assistant Director - Becky Palmer 
Deputy Stage Manager - Heather Wilson
Assistant Stage Manager - Julia Dixon-Phillips


Dates, Times & Prices

Dates and times

Running Time: To be confirmed (there will be a 20 minute interval)

Thursday 20 March, 7.45pm (Preview)
Friday 21 March, 7.45pm (Preview)
Saturday 22 March, 7.45pm (Preview)
Monday 24 March, 7.45pm (Preview)

Tuesday 25 March, 7.45pm 
Wednesday 26 March, 2.30pm
Wednesday 26 March, 7.45pm
Thursday 27 March, 7.45pm 
Friday 28 March, 7.45pm
Saturday 29 March, 2.30pm 
Saturday 29 March, 7.45pm

Tuesday 1 April, 7.45pm
Wednesday 2 April, 2.30pm
Wednesday 2 April, 7.45pm 
Thursday 3 April, 7.45pm (Touch Tour, 6.30pm and Audio-described Performance)
Friday 4 April, 7.45pm
Saturday 5 April, 2.30pm (Touch Tour, 1.15pm and Audio-described Performance)
Saturday 5 April, 7.45pm

Tuesday 8 April, 7.45pm
Wednesday 9 April, 2.30pm
Wednesday 9 April, 7.45pm (BSL Interpreted Performance)
Thursday 10 April, 7.45pm
Friday 11 April, 7.45pm
Saturday 12 April, 2.30pm (Captioned Performance)
Saturday 12 April, 7.45pm



  • Grand Circle & Stalls PREMIUM SEATS: £27.50
  • Grand Circle & Stalls STANDARD SEATS: £25
  • Upper Circle STANDARD SEATS: £17
  • Restricted View Seats: £14


  • Grand Circle & Stalls PREMIUM SEATS: £22
  • Grand Circle & Stalls STANDARD SEATS: £20
  • Upper Circle STANDARD SEATS: £15
  • Restricted View Seats: £12

Preview performances

All seats £10, unreserved seating (no concessions)
A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings


Appropriate ID will be required to verify age or status.

Seniors and Arts Workers

  • £3 off full price tickets

Students, people with disabilities and under 18s 

  • All seats £10
  • Student standby tickets £7.50 (Available on the day of the performance)
  • Wheelchair spaces available in Stalls Boxes
  • Assistants accompanying people with disabilities go free

Registered unemployed

  • All seats £10
  • Tuesday - Thursday: £5 Stalls tickets on the day (excluding Premium Seats, max 20 per show)

School discounts

  • Tuesday - Saturday: £8.50 (Stalls & Grand Circle), £7.50 (Upper Circle)
  • One teacher free with every ten pupils
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949
  • Discount not available on Premium Seats

Group discounts for 8 or more people

  • £5 off full price tickets (Stalls and Grand Circle) plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • £3 off full price tickets (Upper Circle) plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949
  • Discount not available on Premium Seats

Transaction Fee

  • A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings (excluding free events) to cover the service costs required to process a transaction
  • If you buy multiple tickets at the same time the fee will remain £1
  • Applies to all booking methods and forms of payment


Accessible performances for this production

Touch Tours for the visually impaired

  • Thursday 3 April, 6.30pm
  • Saturday 5 April, 1.15pm

Audio-described Performances

  • Thursday 3 April, 7.45pm
  • Saturday 5 April, 2.30pm

BSL Interpreted Performance

  • Wednesday 9 April, 7.45pm

Captioned Performance

  • Saturday 12 April, 2.30pm

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum


Access facilities at the Lyceum


  • Blue badge parking spaces directly opposite the theatre
  • Street level access to the Lyceum foyer

Front of House

  • Lifts to all levels
  • Front of House wheelchair available for audience use
  • Induction loop at Box Office
  • Accessible toilet in foyer


  • Infra red and radio headsets for hearing enhancement and audio-described performances
  • Assistance dogs welcome in auditorium or can be left with Front of House staff
  • Raised Stalls Boxes offers space for up to 27 people in wheelchairs/companions
  • Underlit row letters, tactile row markers and embroidered seats numbers
  • Booster cushions and footstools available
  • Induction loop permanently on

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum

Take Part

Creative Learning events for this production


Curtain Raiser: Union

(Change of speaker due to illness, Owen Dudley-Edwards will now replace Professor Tom Devine)

Join distinguished historian, Owen Dudley-Edwards, director Mark Thomson, and playwright, Tim Barrow, for a stimulating and informative conversation about the historic setting of the play and the making of The Lyceum's production - Union.

Saturday 29 March, 12.30 - 1.30pm
£6* (Season Ticket Holders/ Conc. £4*)

Focus on: Union

Spend a relaxed but informative morning with local historian and theatre expert Owen Dudley Edwards as he discusses Union.

  • Wednesday 26 March, 10.30am
  • £6 per class
  • Includes coffee/tea

Post-show Discussion

  • Tuesday 1 April, after evening performance
  • FREE, unticketed

Theatre Discussion Group

Join facilitator Rod McAra for a friendly discussion.

  • Wednesday 9 April, after matinee performance
  • FREE, but ticketed

To book for ticketed events, please call 0131 248 4848 or book online.

(£1 transaction fee applies per booking)

Audience Feedback

Audience feedback for this production

This page is for  feedback from audience members, including comments from social media such as Twitter  (#Union) and Facebook, and also audience reviews.

If you would like to submit your own review of this production, please use the form on this page.

Selection of Twitter Reviews

Richard Findlay, ‏@RichardFindlay
@lyceumtheatre 'Union' it’s a must see play and provokes a positive #indyref debate in a historical context

Jim Tough, ‏@jutough
Really enjoyed Union @lyceumtheatre tonight. Bawdy, bold and brilliantly designed. Great performances too.

Mihaela Bodlovic, ‏@AliceBoreas
The Union @lyceumtheatre was truly fantastic! Sharp new writing from @MrTimBarrow. Bravo! pic.twitter.com/02x90Tkf2s

Ronnie Gurr, ‏@ronniegurr
2 great nights of theatre in a row.Union @lyceumtheatre and A Taste Of Honey @NationalTheatre Both food for the soul and highly recommended

Seonag MacKinnon, ‏@SeonagM
Awards surely 2come for new play Union re merger of Scot parliament with another. From opening seconds a stunning production @lyceumtheatre

Christine Carr, @ChristineCarr
Saw Union at @lyceumtheatre with @Allyhib last night. Story well told with both pathos & a touch of Blackadder. Cast and staging excellent.

Vivien Reid, ‏@VivienReid
Last night I saw UNION up on one of the most beautiful stages in Scotland @lyceumtheatre go and see it if you can. What a huge achievement.

Emma Mortimore, ‏@ZuzuEmma
Huge congrats to @MrTimBarrow and @lyceumtheatre for the fascinating #union. Great writing and superb cast, set and costumes. Go see it

Peter Ranson, @_ranson
@lyceumtheatre UNION imaginatively presented both visually and aurally, well acted and worth seeing for historical perspective on 1707 event

Janet Scot, @JanetScot1
Just back from preview of #union at the @lyceumtheatre. Absolutely brilliant. Go and see it!

Ross Williams, ‏@Ross_Williams87
Would thoroughly recommend #union at the @lyceumtheatre A very entertaining look at the1707 Act of Union - great cast and production

Read more on twitter.com/lyceumtheatre

Press Coverage


Click on the publications for full articles (some publications implement pay-walls)

"Thrilling...A boldly audacious work!"
Neil Cooper, The Herald

"...approaches the vivid history behind the choice Scotland now faces with such vigour and boldness, and such powerful flashes of poetry and insight, that everyone in Scotland who cares about the nation’s future should see it and then argue about it, far into the night."
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

"...Union should be remembered as a brave and brazen play"
Mark Brown, The Telegraph

"...this is a lively and engaging journey back to the historical moment that did as much as any other to define the UK."
Mure Dickie, Financial Times

"Tim Barrow’s Union has fired the starting gun on issues which have scarcely been discussed in Scottish theatre until now...Director Mark Thomson presides over a beautiful-looking production, with designer Andrzej Goulding’s video-enhanced backdrop and Philip Pinsky’s continual ambient soundtrack lending gravity"
David Pollock, The Independent

"Deftly directed by Mark Thomson...Union is easy on the eye. Barrow’s language is colourful, witty and of the streets. It paints larger-than-life characters requiring just the right level of heightened performance, without straying into pantomime...the stage belongs to Liam Brennan’s delightfully duplicitous Duke of Queensberry."
Liam Rudden, Edinburgh Evening News

"...Liam Brennan is a truly scurrilous, self-serving Duke of Queensberry, Irene Allan is outrageously twisting as Anne and Keith Fleming is vicious, hurt and intimidating by turns in various roles. But Tony Cownie’s limpid Earl of Stair stands out for its depth, his weak eyes masking vicious brutality...Bawdy, fun and timely..."
Thom Dibdin, The Stage

"An exceptional cast, including Brennan as the debauched and duplicitous Duke of Queensberry are one of the true joys of this production"
Amy Taylor, The Public Reviews

"In rude health...hugely compelling and energetic, mixing comedy and menace"
Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre

"Witty barbs compete with elegant, measured rhetoric, as we revel in skillful political language, now rarely used by our own beige overlords. It’s the crowning cherry on a play rich in colour, language and spectacle."
Kirsten Hayley, TV Bomb

"Union is a flirtatious and controversial drama."
Melissa Steel, Wow247

"Many of the ten actors play a whole selection of obnoxious characters...The most fun though is to be had when Brennan and Allan with Queensbury get the Queen wrecked on whisky and then introducing her to some particularly unsuitable songs...a light romp through history."
Seth Ewin, British Theatre Guide



View photos on Flickr: