When it comes to stories, The Crichton has quite a tale to tell and thanks to a successful application to the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund, The Crichton Trust has recently been approved as an official host of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 events at The Crichton in June 2022.
The submission entitled ‘Up the Middle Road’, led by Dr Valentina Bold, Heritage Project Officer at The Crichton Trust, is one of the regional applications approved for funding through the Scottish Government’s themed years’ initiative which is managed in partnership with VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.
The annual initiative aims to shine a spotlight on Scotland’s unique assets and to encourage organisations to work collaboratively to showcase the very best of Scotland through the promotion and delivery of a diverse programme of themed events in Scotland.
Following the announcement, Dr Bold said: “In 2022, Scotland’s Year of Stories, a host of exciting events will be held across the country, celebrating Scotland’s rich storytelling and literary heritage and I am delighted, and proud, to announce that The Crichton Trust’s Heritage Project will be featured within this programme, through its delivery of ‘Up the Middle Road’: Crichton Stories of Resilience and Recovery. We are grateful for the support of the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund, which will make our event possible and also to The Crichton Foundation for their financial contribution and enthusiasm for the project.”
In describing the significance of the event Dr Bold added: “Our performance, ‘Up The Middle Road’, will creatively share the stories of The Crichton Royal Institution, as told first-hand by former patients, nurses, support staff and those who grew up on this resonant site, and in the places where they happened. Their powerful and authentic narratives, compassionate and inspiring, shed new life on the hidden life of The Crichton Royal, from the late 1930s to the 1990s. To communicate Crichton stories effectively, and in respectful ways, it will be my pleasure and privilege to work with four of Scotland’s finest storytellers in words and music and to direct the performances at The Crichton in June 2022.”
Amanda Edmiston is an artist and storyteller who specialises in healing tales. Her previous commissions include work with the National Museum of Rural Life, National Library of Scotland, Chelsea Physic Garden and Scottish Ballet; a regular performer at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, her work has been appreciated through international tours ranging as far as China.
Award-winning Kathleen Cronie, who will guide us around the site, is well-known as a champion of the stories, and hidden histories, of Dumfries and Galloway, with Mostly Ghostly Tours. Her current portfolio includes innovative and informative tours starting at the Crichton Crypt.
Musical interpretations will be provided by internationally respected performers Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan, who have worked together for almost twenty years and live in Dumfries and Galloway. Emily is twice winner of Scots Singer of the Year and, together with Jamie, has performed globally, including Europe, North America, Japan and Australasia. The performers will be joined by two apprentices, recruited locally, contributing to a legacy of expertise and knowledge among young people within Dumfries and Galloway.
Two performances, and a learning workshop, will be held over two days: Friday 24th and Saturday 25th of June 2022 at The Crichton in Dumfries.
Starting from an assembly point at Easterbrook Hall, performers and audience will move together through the centre of the estate, enjoying significant Crichton spaces including the Rock Gardens, Solway House, and the Sports fields where patients and staff together enjoyed therapeutic and recreational activities: gardening, making, football and cricket matches.
Building on The Crichton’s heritage of developing creativity through movement, drama and the visual arts, the performances may also extend into The Crichton’s historic buildings where the audience will enjoy stories and songs that communicate the past of particular places, and the experiences of those who had treatments, worked and lived there.
Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan are excited about their involvement in the project and in helping to share the experiences of former patients: “With all that is going on in the world today, mental health is very much at the forefront of national conversation and so ‘Up The Middle Road’ is a timely project that we’re honoured to be a part of. We’re looking forward to hearing the stories of the patients who spent time at The Crichton Royal in Dumfries and hopefully turn their legacy into music that will speak to our own experiences and lives today.”
Dr Bold, who has been interviewing former staff and patients as part of her role with The Crichton Trust in recent months said: “I am absolutely delighted to have this chance to share the experiences of those who know The Crichton best, in this creative way. I am also so grateful to the people, former patients and staff, who came forward to be recorded during the pandemic. Their generosity, along with their knowledge and insight, has made this project possible. Together, we look forward to honouring their stories with respect, and admiration, bringing the legacy of The Crichton into the present, for those within this region and beyond’.
For more information about Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 events at The Crichton visit
Pre-booking is essential and tickets will be available to buy for £5 from early 2022. Free entry and learning workshops for school groups and young people from within Dumfries and Galloway and for former patients and staff whose experiences are at the heart of ‘Up the Middle Road’.
For details of Year of Stories 2022 events taking place throughout Scotland visit: