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A Slow Air header

A Slow Air was first performed at the Tron Theatre in 2011 and then transferred to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Tricycle Theatre in London and 59E59 Theatre in New York. In association with the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock, we revived the production with the same creative team for a nine week tour across Scotland and Wales to celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2014. Written and directed by Olivier Award winning writer David Harrower.

You can feel blood. You can. Even after all this time.

A Slow Air follows the funny, poignant and engrossing story of Morna and Athol – a brother and sister who haven’t spoken to each other for nearly 15 years. Now Morna’s son, Joshua, is turning 21 and he’s planning a party to which they’re both invited. It’s going to be a night to remember!

Their dual monologues create the platform for Morna and Athol to each tell their side of the story and unravel and explore the past that has seen them grow up together and then so bitterly fall apart. Morna’s son Joshua brings them together for his birthday party in the Black Bitch, the pub in Linlithgow where his mum used to go to folk gigs – and where their past is about to be catapulted into the present. Morna lives in Edinburgh and works as a cleaner, Athol lives in Houston, Renfrewshire and owns and runs a flooring business.

Two different lives, two different parts of the country; one compelling story.


Morna // Pauline Knowles

Athol // Lewis Howden

Creative Team

Writer and Directer // David Harrower

Designer // Jessica Brettle

Sound Designer // Daniel Padden

Lighting Designer // Dave Shea


In 2014…

20-21 Mar // Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock

28 Mar // Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

29 Mar // Paisley Arts Centre

02 Apr // Falkirk Town Hall

05 Apr // Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

12-13 Apr // Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

17 Apr // Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy

19 Apr // Cumbernauld Theatre

23 Apr // Ryan Centre, Stranraer

25-26 Apr // Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine

29 Apr // Comar, Druimfin, Tobermory

01 May // Rutherglen Town Hall

02 May // Howden Park Centre, Livingston

03 May // East Kilbride Arts Centre

6-10 May // Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Wales

13-14 May // Dundee Rep Bonar Hall

16-17 May // Gaiety Theatre, Ayr

21 May // macrobert, Stirling

22-23 May // King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

Critical Response

★★★★ “Superb…holds audiences enthralled…its narrative structure is perfect, its subtle poetic depth strangely haunting.” // The Scotsman

★★★★ “Riveting…so richly detailed and poignant…a contemporary classic…an amazingly intimate atmosphere that beguiles the audience.” // The Times

★★★★ “The sense of place in Harrower’s writing is exquisite…there’s something bigger going on in this quiet epic.” // The Herald

★★★★ “Riveting intimacy…Two exceptional performances make Borderline’s A Slow Air a production that demands to be seen…a thoroughly rewarding experience.” // All Edinburgh Theatre

“Lewis Howden and Pauline Knowles perform their oppositional roles with aplomb…a thoughtful exploration of broader social and moral tensions.” // The Stage


David Harrower and Eddie Jackson Interview on BBC Radio Culture Show with Janice Forsyth

Borderline Produces A Slow Air // The Scotsman column by Joyce McMillan

“So let’s wish Borderline a happy 40th birthday; and let’s congratulate the company on a wonderful anniversary production. A fine way to honour the occasion, though, would be to restore the modest £250,000 a year or so that would make Borderline into a full-blooded company again; and to do the same for three or four other touring companies around Scotland, who belong to a great tradition of theatre in this country, and who deserve more support, more security, and the creative room to breathe that produces the best, most unexpected, and most thrilling work.”

Birthday for Borderline and Back on the Road // The Herald interview with Eddie Jackson

“You need backing because theatre can do things for human beings that can’t really happen elsewhere. Sitting in a theatre, the shared experience of 500 people laughing at the same time. How wonderful is that?”

Daily Record Interview with Pauline Knowles

Edinburgh Evening News Interview with Lewis Howden

“The monologues interlock but they converge in a very skilful way so that, by the end, it is almost like dialogue even though we never look at each other, or talk to each other…It’s also very funny…really, really funny and bitter-sweet. It’s a play about how we live now in Scotland, about families, relationships, loss… it has everything. There is nobody that comes to see it that doesn’t have a point of contact in it because we all have our own wee dramas in our family relationships. So it touches everybody’s heart in a funny way.”

STV interview with Borderline Producer Dave Shea

“I just felt that this was a piece that Scottish audiences hadn’t had a huge opportunity to see…We want to show off the work of real quality writers and in my mind David [Harrower] is exactly that. In Scottish terms, there’s arguably maybe nobody better.”

David Harrower Interview


A Slow Air - Audience Reaction











Borderline Theatre Company
c/o Gaiety Theatre
Carrick Street

Tel: 01292 288235 (option 7)
Email: enquiries@borderlinetheatre.co.uk

Registered Company No: SC064588
Scottish Registered Charity Number: SC000564