Theatre & Shows

Walking Theatre At Falkirk Tunnel (My Experience)

Walking theatre productions is something I hadn’t heard of before attending one in my hometown of Falkirk. I had no idea what to expect from the experience. Today I’m going to be sharing my thoughts and feelings of the Falkirk Tunnel Walking Theatre Production.

Before we headed off on the walk, I was a little apprehensive as it was a walking theatre production and there are times where walking can be difficult for me due to my chronic illness. Also because the walk was along a public footpath there was no guarantee that the path would be even. I was concerned I might stumble. Thankfully the walk up to the start of the production wasn’t too bad it was a little steep but nothing I shouldn’t have worried about.

Falkirk Tunnel

The majority of the walking theatre production took place inside the Falkirk Tunnel. As its name suggests it is a tunnel on the Union Canal, a canal that was mainly used for transporting good such as coal. The tunnel is considered the biggest canal tunnel in Scotland at 630 metres.

When I was younger, the canal was spooky, there wasn’t a lot in the way of lighting and as someone who doesn’t like the dark, I would generally avoid it. The fact that the footpath didn’t have any form of barrier scared me too.

However the lighting has been updated which makes the tunnel feel a little more comfortable to be in, don’t get me wrong it is still a little spooky but not as bad. Worth a visit if you are ever in Falkirk though.

Telling A Story Through Walking Theatre

One of the most infamous stories about the Union Canal is that of Burke and Hare. Two men who came to Scotland from Ireland to work on the construction of the canal. During their time in Scotland, the men committed about 16 murders to sell the corpses for medical experiments. Doctors would use the canal to transport corpses hidden in containers to Edinburgh university, where the various experiments would take place.

It’s a gruesome yet interesting story if you’re into that kind of things. There have been many fictionalisation tellings of the store of Burke and Hare in books, stage and even a movie based loosely around the murders starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis.

Walking Theatre - Burke & Hare

The actors who were involved in the production were incredible. They told the story of their characters so well, even getting some of the audience involved in telling the story, by asking them to participate and read a line or two from a piece of paper.

My Overall Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed the walking theatre production. I was a little anxious at the beginning when we entered the tunnel, There are lights but mostly at the waterside not along the path itself. Making the visibility not that great. As for the path, it is fairly narrow up against a wall of solid rock that jags out here and there. One half of the path is cobble like with the other half more like concrete which I’m assuming was added on a later date, making the path a little uneven. The tunnel is pretty damp with water falling from the ceiling, meaning that the path was slippy and because I was unable to see where I was going until I adjusted to the dark I held on to a friend for stability and so she guided me and stop me from hitting into the rocks.

Once we got out of the tunnel my eyes adjusted to the day light, I was able to see that the path was a little wider and I no longer need to hold on to my friend.

As for my fibromyalgia it was a lot of walking, I think in total we walked about 2 miles which was along footpaths but up and down hills. It was safe to say that by the time I got home I was tired and my body was aching from all the walking.

All in all, it was a good experience. I really enjoyed the story of Burke and Hare, but I doubt I would do it again on my own, or at night. Sadly because the path is narrow inside the tunnel I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone using walking aids or wheelchairs.

Have you ever heen on a walking theatre production? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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