First Performance Of Folk Festival This Evening

Bec Appleby

The first show of the Scilly Folk Festival is due to take place this evening although performer Bec Appleby had to make some last-minute changes this morning.

That’s because the Scillonian III was cancelled today due to bad weather and all the scenery and props for her one-woman show have had to fit on the plane.

But Bec is confident it won’t spoil the performance of Oh Mary, based on the life of Cornish highwaywoman, Mary Bryant.

Bec will be using ‘physical theatre’ to tell the story, something she describes as a cross between acting and dancing where the movement is just as important as the script.

The idea for the show came to Bec as she was reading the book ‘To Brave Every Danger’ by Judith Cook, a biography of Mary’s life.

From Radio Scilly

Bec Appleby talks about ‘Oh Mary’

She says she was struck by the amazing life she had, which was both exciting and tragic.

And Bec doesn’t think she’s glorifying the life of a criminal. She says that, while the robbery that Mary was accused of was very violent, she was living in incredibly tough times and was homeless and without work.

Mary was on the first fleet of convicts sent to Australia in 1778.

Bec says she must have been an amazing woman with huge spirit to endure what she did, both in Cornwall and Australia.

Bec originally thought the story would need a huge cast to do it justice, but realised that careful use of music could allow her to perform it as a one-woman show.

The performance has an original and traditional Cornish folk music backing by the group Dalla and the words are written by Anna Murphy.

Bec says coming to Scilly to perform is always wonderful. She’s been a regular visitor here since she was a young girl, staying with friends on St Mary’s.

And she’s encouraging everyone to come and enjoy the traditional Cornish folk music on offer around the islands over the next week.

Oh Mary is on tonight (Wednesday) at the Five Islands School. The performance is at 8.00pm (doors open 7.15) and there will be a special performance with Dalla afterwards.

You can find out about other performances at this year’s festival at