Secret Byrd

St Mary's Parish Church, Haddington

Wed 13 Sept 7pm & 9.30pm

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins approx



Photo credit: Mark Allan

Hear Byrd’s Mass for 5 Voices as he intended: sung for worship in strictest secrecy in an extraordinary theatrical concert to celebrate the 400th anniversary of one of England’s finest composers. During the Reformation, Byrd was a recusant Catholic writing masses to be sung in secret by worshippers in private homes with smuggled priests, hidden Catholic artifacts and the constant danger of discovery and arrest. Byrd’s courage in expressing his faith through art is a continuing inspiration, when three quarters of the world’s population still suffer from religious intolerance.

The Gesualdo Six collaborate with viol consort Fretwork for the first time in an immersive performance by candlelight, created and directed by Bill Barclay and produced by Concert Theatre Works using imaginative production techniques to bring music to life. Soup and bread are passed to foster a sense of ritual and inclusivity. The audience roves freely among the costumed artists feeling the original hand-made part-books, all illuminated by candlelight. Help us celebrate Byrd’s activism by entering a living museum – a concert experience like never before.

[Promenade performance. Some seats available for those unable to stand]

. . . glorious . . . chillingly authentic . . . ominous, buoyant and uplifting.

The Guardian

St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington

The Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin is one of the great ecclesiastical buildings of mediaeval Scotland, founded in 1380 and known for centuries as "The Lamp of Lothian".

It was severely damaged in the 16th Century during Henry VIII's 'Rough Wooing' of Scotland, and after the Reformation only the nave was used as a parish church, with the choir and tower remaining roofless.

It was finally restored to its former glory in the 1970s, and is Scotland's longest church as well as one of its most beautiful, with a wonderfully warm, resonant acoustic.

St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington


St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington
EH41 4BZ

Getting there by bus

Buses passing trough Haddington
PRENTICE: 108, 109, 101, 111, 122
Please check bus timetables before booking your tickets.

Getting there by train

The nearest station is Drem.

Getting there by car

Haddington is off the A1. There are two exits off the A1 coming from the east or the west.



There is free on-street parking, 100m from the church, on the road, and throughout the town.

We can offer 3 spaces inside the church grounds, buy the side of the church, for blue badge holders. Please email [email protected] to book a space, subject to availability and on a first come first served basis.


Tarmac and gravel.

Induction Loop:

Good male/female provision plus adapted toilet for disabled.

Wheelchair Access:

Access is easier via the North Side (side) door, next to the blue badge parking spaces, and open 30 minutes before concert. There will be a volunteer steward in a high vis jacket who will provide assistance. There is level access into venue.

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