a re-working of the Scottish folktale 'Childe Rowland'

In our version, Burd Ellen sets out on a quest to save her much loved youngest brother, Rowland, who has been whisked away by the Elf-Queen. Her two older brothers have already tried and failed; they made some bad choices. Burd Ellen shows determination in the face of adversity and, with support from the Wizard Merlin, she finds her way to the Elf-Queen's Palace. There she shows true love and courage as she battles the shape-shifting magic of the Elf-Queen and finally triumphs over the forces of darkness. The play contains the classic elements of the great folk tale tradition: the quest, the guide, the rule of three and, of course, the happy ending.

Within the framework of this exciting adventure we also look at what might be involved in making good choices. This includes some basic neuroscience about the roles played by different parts of our brains - the cortex and the amygdala! And so we combining modern scientific understanding with the ancient wisdom of old words.

original version

Burd Ellen in front of a brain