January 2005 saw the launch of IDEOMS Theatre Company. As founder members of the Rowan Tree Company, John Nichol. Hilary Bell and Lucy Cowan had built a considerable reputation for storytelling with music. When the Rowan Tree Company changed direction, it seemed that the hugely popular annual Robert Burns shows at Bowhill Theatre would come to an unwelcome end. The initial purpose of launching IDEOMS was to continue the Burns shows .
The show, Crossfire, was written for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe of 2005, and the popularity of IDEOMS was on the rise. The play, written and performed by John Nichol, with musical numbers performed by Hilary Bell, was inspired by Giles Foden's novel, Ladysmith.
Celebrating their many years of performing together, John Nichol, Hilary Bell and Lucy Cowan devised a show called, Three's Company, which featured highlights from their previous shows.
Over the years, more shows, devised from the works of Robert Burns, have been written and performed all over Scotland, over the border and overseas, and IDEOMS has earned a reputation for authenticity and accessability second to none. Burns shows include: Lovers Fules & Cutty Stools; Honest Poverty; Haughtie Hizzies & Houghmagandie; Instant Burns - just add haggis; Burns Bites back; Best Laid Schemes; Lords of the Creation - and other beasts; and their quirky Burns feast - Not Another Burns Supper.
IDEOMS performs newly developed works; new writing and new adaptations of older, mostly traditional writing, blending the dramatic content of each piece with music, both original and traditional, carefully chosen to create atmosphere and to heighten emotion. The emphasis is on storytelling, poetry and song with a distinctly Scottish flavour and a special intimacy.
Other acclaimed IDEOMS shows are War & Glaur, Soddin' Flodden and Willie Wastle's Account of His Wife.
2016 sees the return of Soddin' Flodden to the Edinburgh Fringe, and a revamped Willie Wastle's Account of His Wife will be performed as part of the Berwick Literary Festival in October.
The name IDEOMS is similar to the word IDIOM, meaning a custom or phrase peculiar to a particular region. We thought this was appropriate. Also, when a friend told us he had been to see Les Mis in the West End, and that he enjoyed it so much, he said ”I didnae even open ma sweeties”, we took the first letter of each word from that phrase and made IDEOMS. Again, we thought this might be appropriate.
You can be the judge!