SCOTLAND'S only silent film festival is set to return to the Hippodrome in Bo’ness, Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema, on Wednesday, March 16.

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (aka "HippFest") was launched in 2011, and draws audiences from across Scotland and beyond.

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2022 contains a packed programme with films featuring some of the biggest names of the silent era, including Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Lon Chaney, and Joan Crawford.

The National: HippFest volunteer Val Ferguson as Mary Queen of Scots at Linlithgow CastleHippFest volunteer Val Ferguson as Mary Queen of Scots at Linlithgow Castle

As part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival will see the premiere of a new restoration of The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots, with live musical accompaniment from Wendy Weatherby (cello, voice), Frank McLaughlin (guitar, pipes), and David Trouton (piano); and renowned storyteller Andy Cannon providing historical context during reel changeovers in the role of the "Film Explainer".

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Elsewhere in the programme, viewers will see a showing of a documentary called Journey to the Isles: Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, which will provide a glimpse into the landscapes, folktales and songs that inspired one of Scotland's great early collectors of traditional arts.

The National: Jeely Jar: Behind the Screen and Sherlock Jr will be played on Saturday, March 19Jeely Jar: Behind the Screen and Sherlock Jr will be played on Saturday, March 19

Journey to the Isles will be accompanied by a musical performance led by acclaimed and charismatic live performer Marion Kenny – one of Scotland's leading storytellers; and award-winning musician, singer and songwriter Mairi Campbell.

Weaving together words, music and song alongside Kennedy-Fraser's films, Marion and Mairi will conjure the sounds and landscapes captured by this key figure of Scotland's Celtic Revival.

Gender Rebels, on Friday, March 19, is a double bill feature with two films about gender hijinks in the Wild West – The Night Rider (1920) and Rowdy Ann (1919). For a full programme list, visit the Hippodrome website.

The National: Rowdy Ann will hit screens on Saturday, March 12Rowdy Ann will hit screens on Saturday, March 12

The festival's director, Alison Strauss, of Falkirk Community Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be back in person for our 12th edition and can’t wait to welcome the audience and performers to the Hippodrome."

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"We’re putting all the finishing touches in place – sprucing up the red carpet, shaking the mothballs out of our glamorous Gala outfits, and dressing the town for the festivities. It’s been a long time but at last we can go out out to HippFest.”

The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots performer and storyteller, Andy Cannon, said: “It brings us great pleasure to finally perform at the premiere of the newly restored The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots.

"Mary has achieved mythic status in Scotland’s history, and we are delighted to bring a little of her story to life on screen and on stage for the opening of this year’s HippFest. I hope the audience will enjoy this wonderful version of Mary’s story as much we have in telling it.”

Marion Kenny said: “I am excited and delighted to be performing at this year's HippFest alongside singer Mairi Campbell. I am looking forward to being inside the fabulous Hippodrome in Bo’ness to experience this unique festival celebrating many of the treasures from Scotland's archives of Silent Screen.

Audiences can expect to be transported with a magical mix of the silver screen, storytelling and musical soundscape, back in time to the islands of the Outer Hebrides that held song collector Marjory Kennedy-Fraser under their spell, allowing us a rare glimpse into a way of life long gone.”

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2022 will take place at the Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness, Wednesday, March 16 to Sunday, March 20. For full programme information and tickets visit

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival is organised by Falkirk Community Trust with key funding from Falkirk Council, supported by Film Hub Scotland part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and National Lottery funding from the BFI.

This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.