Hand Me Down

… this collage of everyday experience is tremendously nourishing, heart-warming and affecting. Like life itself, you want it to go on for ever.

Mark Fisher,  The Scotsman

★★★★★ The Scotsman | ★★★★ The Herald



A photographic memory. Thick brown hair that goes frizzy in the rain. A cameo brooch that belonged to my grandmother. An obsession with list making and thank you letters. Small ears. Asthma. The ability to achieve ten things before breakfast. The knowledge that it’s always important to wear clean underwear as you never really know when you might have an accident… These are some of the things I got from my mother.

Hand Me down is an original show made with ten women from the same family which aims to explore female relationships in families.


The Idea

The idea for Hand Me Down came around the time we were making a lot of work about families and became really interested in the memories and histories that bind us together. We were fascinated in the things which are ‘passed down’ between generations whether it be physical attributes, personality traits or belongings. We wanted to investigate the value in these things we shared.

We also had a strong feeling that this story might be a female one as historically the male line is more heavily documented . And so we decided we wanted to explore this idea from a family of women of different generations living in the Glasgow area.

We began by putting out an open call in local newspapers and on the radio for groups of women to come forward and help us with this exploration. Then we waited…

Soon we heard from Margaret Hendry from Port Glasgow who sent us a poem about the women in her family. She had seen her advertisement and was keen to be involved. She told us about how every Thursday all of the women in her family get together at her sister’s house and share stories about their week. She invited us along to one of these meetings to talk to these women about the idea.

From the moment we met Margaret, Moira, Helen, Moira, Lucinda, Molly, Emma, Francis, Kirsty, Christine and Helen we were hooked. These were some of the warmest, funniest women we had ever met. On the first night we spent together we knew that this was the story we had hoping to tell and these were the women who would help us to tell it.

For the next three months we worked together in small halls and in living rooms to sort through the hundreds of things binding these women together. Sometimes we had to work in the car park as there was just so many of us.  We ate cake, told jokes and shared our favourite memories. Out of all this came Hand Me Down…

Hand Me Down was first performed at the Arches in Glasgow and the Traverse in Edinburgh as part of the Arches Platform 18 Award for New Work 2010.


Original Rehearsal Footage




Mark Fisher, The Scotsman

Mary Brennan, The Herald