Samhuinn 2017 Group Info

This is the place to find information about all the performance and production groups at Samhuinn Fire Festival 2017.



Organisers: Tamara Piddock & Rachel Miller


Organisers: Anna Chaney, Cat Somerville, Michael Richie

We are Dancers who will perform a sacred ceremony of dance to call upon the Callieach. Our bodies are our instruments for the Goddess, whose dance is housed in our bodies and released from the wild places held within us.

Our process and performance is about connecting with Samhuinn through movement. Rehearsals will be workshop based and we will be exploring; The Japanese art form of Butoh, physical theatre / devising movement, dance as ritual, and embodiment.

What we are looking for: No experience necessary just come with an open heart and a willingness to give creatively to the process.

Rehearsals: Sundays 1pm-5pm and Thursdays 6.30pm-9.30pm. Location TBC. May be additional social and costume days.
Weekend Away: 6th – 8th October

Guth nam Marbh

Organisers: Adam Dalmer & Caity Hainesworth

Guth nam Marbh (Voice of the Dead) is a Gaelic singing group dedicated to promoting Scottish Gaelic language and culture.

In terms of ritual significance, our group represents Samhuinn’s historical connection to the veneration of ancestors and wandering spirits. It is widely believed that in pre-Christian times and still more recently, the Gaels looked on Samhuinn not only as the end of the harvest, the beginning of winter, and the start of the New Year, but as a time at which the dead and other supernatural beings could inhabit the world of the living. Guth nam Marbh represents a modern acknowledgement of this folkloric tradition.

As to member expectations, no prior experience of either singing or speaking Gaelic is required, although a willingness to learn to correctly sing at least as much Gaelic as is in our songs is essential. The group will meet weekly in September as of the the second week of September; and will meet twice-weekly in October. Practices will range between one and two hours in length, and will include workshops on Gaelic pronunciation, Gaelic history, and – of course – song practice. Additionally, members will ve encouraged to attend the group’s weekend away, which will take place in October.

Meeting times and locations will be decided following our interest meeting on 5 September (venue TBA). If you would like to find out more information about the group, come to the Samhuinn open meeting on 27 August, and the Guth nam Marbh interest meeting on 5 September. Also, you are welcome to join our Facebook group, the Guth nam Marbh Interest Group:

Ignis Drummers

Organisers: Lewis Hartley & Stuart Wedge

The Ignis Drummers serve as messengers; we are here to warn of the coming of Winter and the approaching cold, dark days. We are a transitional group, associating ourselves initially with Summer, passing on our warning, before making the gradual, yet inevitable, shift to Winter with the changing of the seasons. Our message is expressed through the forces of fire spinning/dancing and drumming, over a range of technicality.

What we are looking for: We desire enthusiastic, highly-committed volunteers, with an openness to learning. We have much to achieve in our time before Samhuinn, and we would like to offer the opportunity for volunteers to dabble in both crafts of fire performing and drumming, so experience in drumming and/or fire performing is preferred (but not strictly necessary); our greatest requirement is a feel for rhythm, and a keenness to harness it through noise and flame.

We will be meeting on: Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons, beginning Sunday 3rd September.


Organisers: Louise Glendinning, Rudolfo Pereira & Sandra Spanikova

Obsidian is created when volcanic lava cools down rapidly. We, too, represent the union of ice and fire energy. As a fire group aligned with the winter court, we will grow stronger as the season approaches, culminating in an icy display of strength. Our transition from summer to winter will be portrayed by incorporating elements of fire play, acro performance, character work and movement. We will lead workshops on these skills and create a unique spectacle that blends them all together – simultaneously.

Who we are looking for: We’re a high-energy, high-commitment group and are looking for enthusiasm, fierceness, courage and willingness to train hard to portray the inevitability of the approaching winter. Experience is celebrated but by no means mandatory and all levels of ability are welcome.

When we will be meeting:
Open Rehearsals (meet outside Pavilion on Meadows for each):
Wed 30th of August 7pm-10pm / Sunday 3rd of September 2pm-5pm / Wed 6th of September 7pm-10pm

Rehearsals: Wednesdays 7pm-10pm / Sundays 1pm-6pm

Weekend Away: 29th of September -1st of October


Organisers: Mark Taylor & Neil Barton

Photo Point create a high quality, permanent record of the festival and the preparations leading up to it through photography and video. We aim to help promote the Society and spread the joy of Samhuinn through our work.

We hold photography workshops specifically aimed at preparing our members for photographing the festival. We photograph preparations leading up to the festival as well as the festival itself.

Who we’re looking for: Group members will require their own photography and/or video equipment, and should be committed to attending as many or our group events and photo shoots over the next two months as possible. For still photographers we accept all skill levels and can teach the necessary skills, however videographers will need to be competent at video editing and at using their equipment in low-light conditions.

When we will be meeting: Sunday afternoons & Wednesday evenings. Other days may be necessary when we’re requested to photograph other group rehearsals.


Organisers: Lila O’Leary, Sam Haddow & Siobhan Wilson

Reds are elemental creatures of chaos, misrule, fun and excess.  Reds are representatives of summer and as such their role in Samhuinn is as sacrificial figures, offering themselves willingly in order to ensure the survival of the broader community.  Their performance is powered by the explosive delirium that life encounters at the point of death. Reds embody an attitude of living life to the fullest – fearless, vivacious, playful, boisterous, passionate, and free of struggle – emboldened by the knowledge that their Red energy will long outlast their physical bodies, as it is reabsorbed by the world around and serves to nourish another turn of the cycle of life.

We are a high commitment and very physical group.  We are looking for people of any level of experience who are prepared to train hard, and to creatively engage with their own internal chaos.  We will train our members in acro-performance, physical theatre, yoga, meditation and dance, and will lead workshops and activities designed to help them discover and give form to their inner “Red”.

Our open sessions will be Wednesday 30th August 7-9pm, Sunday 3rd September 1-4pm, Wednesday 6th 7-9pm.

Thereafter, our regular sessions will be Wednesdays 7-10pm and Sundays 1-7pm

You must also be available for the weekend away over 6th-8th October, and there will be optional extra practices and social events arranged within the two month rehearsal period.

Stewards (Nightwatch)

Organisers: Danielle Christie & Stew Wilson

The friendly human face of the Beltane Fire Festival.

We work with the production crew, emergency services and the performance groups to make sure everyone has a safe and joyful Beltane. We are not a performing group but we will interact heavily with the audience, telling them about the significance of the celebrations and about some of the things they will see so that they can make the most of their experience.

Of the performance, the stewards interact most with the torchbearers, and this Samhuinn we are working closer than before as the Nightwatch – collectively, we are the groups that separate performers and audience. As such, we practice together to share skills and knowledge.

When we are meeting: Our regular training meetings will normally take place on Calton Hill once a week on Sundays  between 1-4pm but the location and time of the meetings may vary depending on what other groups we need to practice with in the lead up to the festival. We’ll be playing games and building our confidence in holding spaces and working as a team, and we’ll also do some fire training.

If you are keen to join us but can’t make all the meetings, talk to us anyway. We are a flexible group suitable for people with real-world responsibilities.


Organisers: TBC

Torchies (Nightwatch)

Organisers: Danielle Christie & Stew Wilson

Torchbearers are the keepers of the fire and the light, allowing the audience to see through the veil and witness the conflict between Summer and Winter.

Not aligned with either court, the Torchbearers are the physical representation of the veil between worlds. We light the neid fire and carry its flame, giving light and warmth to the performers and audience alike.

The torchbearers interact most with the stewards, and this Samhuinn we are working closer than before as the Nightwatch – collectively, we are the groups that separate performers and audience. As such, we practice together to share skills and knowledge

Who we are looking for: All experience levels welcome, whether you are new to our festivals or have performed in lots of festivals. Torchbearers will teach you everything that you need to know to be a Torchie and is a great introduction to the festival.

We will be meeting: Thursdays from 7pm-9pm, and Sundays 1pm-4pm with the stewards. Thursdays will initially be at St Mags, Sundays and later Thursdays will be on Calton Hill.

Winter Drummers

Organisers: Thomas Caine, Scott Miller & Lyndsey Bell

We are the approaching storm, the icy onslaught, the deluge and the howling gale.   We march forth for it is fated and it is right.  Our beats are our ice cold pulse and all that keep us moving.  Our rhythms herald the turning of the wheel as we muster for our champion, the Winter King and all will celebrate his triumph.  It is time. Time to embrace the darkness.

We are searching for a crew of dedicated passionate volunteers to play drums HARD.   Rehearsals will be focused and intensive so, good concentration, a strong work ethic and willingness to do some homework are a priority.   Drumming experience is helpful but not a requirement.  There will also be character work involved in the rehearsal process.


Wednesdays 19.00-22.00 at the Bongo Club

Sundays 19.00-22.00 at Coloursound.

We will be having three open rehearsals commencing Sunday 3rd September.

Weekend Away: October 6th-8th


Family Samhuinn

Organisers: Cat Somerville and Clara Koenig

Photo Project

Organiser: Martin McCarthy

Every festival is shot in great detail by Photopoint, but the preceding preparations are necessarily recorded as just a small number of snapshots as there are so many different groups to cover. This Samhuinn I’ll be joining a performance group with the aim of creating a photographic document of the entire preparation process for a single group in the weeks leading up to the festival.
This project is a bit of an experiment and no additional members are being recruited for Samhuinn.

Featured image by Martin McCarthy for Beltane Fire Society.