THE legacy of Scottish cultural colossus Hamish Henderson is being celebrated in a special Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

The unique dramatic view of the poet and songwriter, often known as the father of the Scottish folk revival”, is scripted from Henderson’s own poems and songs.

Directed by Raymond Raszkowski Ross, with Alastair McDonald, one of Scotland’s leading folksingers and interpreters of Henderson’s work, as musical director and performer, the show also stars Carla Grant, Isabella Jarrett and Gavin Paul.

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On The Radical Road reflects the poet’s journey across Highland, Lowland and industrial landscapes through childhood trauma, spiritual growth, the deeply morally challenging theatres of war in the desert campaign, the invasion and liberation of Sicily and Italy and the consequent struggles for a new self-knowledge and cultural alignment in a battleground of conflicting experiences, emotions and ideas in post-war and present-day Scotland and Europe.

“It’s fundamentally important that we celebrate and honour the man,” said McDonald.

“If you think about it, without the Big Man’s influence we wouldn’t have all the folk clubs and folk festivals we have now including, for example, Celtic Connections. Would there even be the Scottish Storytelling Centre where we’re performing? I doubt it.

“We all owe him so much and he still sings to us all – and to the heart of the matter of being Scottish in the most open-minded way we can. I think we’re channelling him in this show. He’s with us throughout.”

Ross, who was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronis?aw Komorowski, for his creative work in deepening Scottish-Polish relations, said the show was very much a celebration of Henderson’s life and work.

“In many ways the two most important and influential figures in modern Scottish culture were Hugh MacDiarmid and Hamish Henderson,” he said.

“Together they were fundamental in helping to forge a new consciousness in Scotland, MacDiarmid through the Scottish Literary Renaissance which he spearheaded in the 1920s and Henderson through the post-war Folk Revival which he inspired and promoted vigorously.

“As the Renaissance had reinvigorated the Scottish literary tradition, so the Revival reinvigorated the ‘carrying stream’ of traditional song; and both gave a new platform for present and future creativity and both had a direct impact on the ensuing growth of Scottish nationalism.

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Ross added: “Henderson was, of course, a fine poet in his own right, and both his songs and poems focus consistently on matters of war and peace as these were the fundamental issues which underlay his political commitments from his anti-fascist student days at Cambridge, his combat duties and intelligence work during the Second World War and his fighting comradeship with the Partigiani d’Italia, through his continuing involvement in left-wing politics and his anti-militarist and anti-imperialist agitation, his life-long commitment to Home Rule, his support for Scottish Republicanism, for socialist internationalism and for the Anti-Apartheid Movement and CND.”

On The Radical Road is at the Netherbow Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre, from August 12 to 27 at 8pm