This Hallowe’en the doors are being opened on a largely forgotten building. The proprietors are inviting you to The Feast – somewhere in central Dumfries.

The award-winning Bunbury Banter Theatre Company, in association with Grid Iron and Surge will be presenting Beneath the Dust – an immersive and site responsive production plan to put a real scare into Hallowe’en.

In a region, and a country, rich with folklore about witches, warlocks, ghosts, spirits, fairies, the undead (and even the Deil himself) the production draws directly on tradition but gives it a modern, unsettling update.

And rather than being safe in a cinema or in front of a TV screen watching a third rate Hollywood movie, Beneath The Dust restores Hallowe’en as a live, immersive, communal experience which turns people’s perceptions about their world upside down.

The plot is secret and audiences are simply being invited to enter a shadowy building that Dumfries residents walk past every day without giving it a second thought.

Ali Anderson-Dyer, Director and co-founder of Bunbury Banter, said: “Hallowe’en was traditionally a time when communities banded together to ward off darkness and evil. After all, nothing brings people closer than fear of the unknown. 

“We are creating something with more bite than a Hollywood horror movie and hope that Beneath the Dust will get people wondering how well they know the place they live, and how confident they really are that it’s all just a show.

After all, many people have a secret fear that the world may not be as it seems and that there might be something nasty in the shadows. 

Beneath The Dust takes traditional ideas and gives them a twist to suit modern times. It will also make use of 21st century techniques and technology to give people what we hope will be a really gripping experience.”

Grid Iron from Edinburgh have been lending their expertise to the project. They have experience of staging performances in such diverse venues as The London Dungeon, a former jute mill, a haunted underground street in Edinburgh and parks, gardens, playgrounds and fields all over Britain and Ireland.

Producer and Co-Artistic Director Judith Doherty said: “Grid Iron are delighted to lend their support to Bunbury Banter to develop Beneath the Dust. It can be hard for site-specific companies like us to tour our work outside our own area so it is great to support a company that is working hard in a part of Scotland where audiences are excited to have more innovative theatre and cultural provision. 

“The artistic direction, vision and partnerships are all Bunbury Banter, we have been there for advice on the nitty gritty side of things such as licensing, health and safety and contracts.

“We have also had interesting discussions on how far to push audiences in terms of scaring the living daylights out of them! We know a bit about the journey the audience will take, but the detail of what is going to happen is a closely guarded secret – we do know that they want the show to be really scary! 

“Bunbury Banter are working really hard to create something people haven’t seen before. They have a lot of backing from the local community and we hope it is going to be a fabulous show.” 

The historical popularity of Hallowe’en in Scotland, as an occasion packed with pranks, scares and a sense of community and fun, is well recorded. 

Many will be familiar with Rabbie Burns’ poem Halloween. But there was also an earlier work of the same name, from around 1780, by Dumfries poet John Mayne. Mayne says that “customs vary wi’ the times” but is very clear that it was a major occasion:

Of a’ the festivals we hear,

Frae Handsel-Monday till New Year,

There’s few in Scotland held mair dear

For mirth, I ween,

Or yet can boast o’ better cheer,

Than Hallowe’en

  • Strictly for over 18s, Beneath the Dust takes places at various times from 30 October to 2 November.

– Ends –

Listings Details

  • Venue: to be revealed
  • Dates: 30, 31 October 1, 2 November
  • Performance time: 18:00, 19:30, 21:00
  • Tickets: £23.50 or £19.50 concessions
  • Book online at

About the Director

Ali Anderson-Dyer has directed Black Roses (Theatre Royal, Dumfries), Words Live (The Stove and Catstrand), all four of the A Play, A Poet and A Pastry series (Theatre Royal, Dumfries), Blackout (Theatre Royal, Dumfries), Ego et Al (Hidden Door Festival 2017), Freedoms Cut (National Theatre of Scotland’s five Minute Festival), Moon On A Stick & Fancy Meeting You Here by Lisa Fulthorpe (Bunbury Banter), Rain Stops Play  (Bunbury Banter, starring Timothy West and Prunella ScalesThe Bonk (Bunbury Banter, starring Nichola McAuliffe), Handmaidens of Death(University of Hertfordshire), Memories of Loss (Riverside Studios), The Fastest Clock in the Universe by Philip Ridley (Battersea Arts Centre), Stiff (Rosemary Branch Theatre), Settled (Rosemary Branch Theatre) and Gaelic Storytelling; The Bravery of Love (St Mary’s University College).

About Bunbury Banter

Born from a desire to make high quality arts accessible to all, the awards-winning Bunbury Banter Theatre Company produces fearlessly responsive, entertaining theatre, specialising in creating immersive experiences and bringing together multiple arts forms. Their artistic projects often involve working with new writing but the company also experiments with other forms of theatrical performance and storytelling, outside the realms of the traditional theatre space. To date they have produced over eighty individual pieces of audio drama, several site-specific installations and staged many theatrical works. Recent work includes Words Live, a collection of gratitude’s woven together, Black Roses, originally by Simon Armitage updated by Bunbury Banter to include local verbatim stories, Blackout, by Davey Anderson, Freedoms’ Cut, a verbatim theatre piece for the National Theatre of Scotland Five Minute Festival; Mortar, a web-based audio experience which peaks behind the curtains of a shared townhouse in modern day Britain and shines a light on each inhabitant’s existence, starring Timothy West, Prunella Scales and Nichola McAuliffe; The Dark Outside, a site-specific transmission of select pieces of their past audio work in the UK’s first dark sky forest.

About Grid Iron

Grid Iron are an Edinburgh-based theatre company who, following their incorporation in 1995 and their first show Clearance at the Traverse, Edinburgh, swiftly gained a reputation for creating high-quality, high profile shows. The Company went on to specialise in presenting shows in unusual locations. They are a new writing company who work in challenging sites that lend themselves especially well to Grid Iron’s taut production style. Occasionally they create work for the stage or use theatre buildings in a site-specific, promenade manner.

In 1997 Grid Iron produced their first full-scale site-specific production, The Bloody Chamber, their adaptation of Angela Carter’s Bluebeard fairytale, which they presented in famously haunted underground vaults beneath Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile. It was the company’s first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and, by the opening night, the show had sold out for its entire three-week run. Awards: Herald Angel for Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Theatre and Total Theatre Nominations for Best Newcomers and Best Design.

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

Media information: Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org