Big drama planned as Lesmahagow lass graduates in theatre and film
Rebecca Lannery, from Lesmahagow, has just graduated with a BA (Hons) Theatre and Film from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
Rebecca, aged 22, not only graduated with a first-class honours degree, she was awarded funding from the University to write and develop her own play, which is set to be part of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2024.
Making the most of every opportunity which came her way, Rebecca threw herself into University life – achieving great results in her Theatre and Film degree while also working and gaining experience in different roles that she undertook with the University. Always there to support, Rebecca worked for a year as one of the University’s social media ambassadors and as a guide at the University’s open days. Outside of University, Rebecca put her theatrical skills to good use as a guide for the Mary King’s Close experience. It was her work with the popular Edinburgh historic tourist attraction on the Royal Mile that developed her interest in the historical character Maggie Dickson, who would become the focus of her new play.
Rebecca’s play ‘Maggie Knows Best’, which is currently a work in progress, is based on a real story about the life of Maggie Dickson. Maggie lived in Musselburgh in the 1700s and was known for surviving her own hanging. Her crime was to have a baby out of wedlock. She was accused of concealing the pregnancy and then the baby, and was sentenced to hang. Miraculously, she survived her planned execution and the court had to let her go, as her punishment was to be hung, not to ‘die’ by hanging.
"Maggie was an extraordinary woman and it’s an extraordinary story which I got hooked on and wanted to tell. I am so grateful to the Vice Chancellor’s Fund at Queen Margaret University, which is supporting me with a grant to develop the play and pitch it to the Edinburgh Fringe. I am really excited about bringing the story to the stage and potentially presenting it to an international audience. I also feel passionately about sharing the true story about the plight of women in Scotland’s past, and the cruelty that was inflicted on them because of societal norms.”"
On the day of graduation, Rebecca was joined by her family and classmates at an impressive ceremony held in Edinburgh’s beautiful Usher Hall. She was presented with her degree award by Queen Margaret University’s Chancellor, Dame Prue Leith CBE, best known as an entrepreneur and for her TV appearances as a judge on the Great British Bake-off.
Discussing her experience of studying at Queen Margaret University, Rebecca said:
"The thing I am most grateful for is the enormous support I received from my lecturers and programme leader, who stuck by me every day of the four years. They helped make me the person I am today, and steer me to the fulfilling career I want to have in the creative industries."
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