Essays, Studies, and Works
We first conceived the idea of writing a hybrid piece containing elements of opera and musical theatre in 1998. The musical, as we now call it, is based on Lillian Faderman’s Scotch Verdict, which revolves around the true story of Jane Pirie and Marianne Woods who ran a boarding school for girls in 1810 Edinburgh, Scotland. The accusation of one of their students, Jane Cumming, illegitimate grandchild of wealthy and powerful Dame Cumming Gordon, brought ruin upon the school and the schoolmistresses. Jane Cumming had accused the schoolmistresses of committing “unnatural acts” together. This tale told to Dame Gordon led to letters circulated to the families of the other girls of the school, and in a matter of a couple of days, no one remained at the school except for Jane and Marianne. Jane and Marianne went to the best lawyer in Edinburgh to sue Dame Gordon for libel, and from this actual case, we have the complete trial transcript. The tale may sound familiar to you as it is the same story that Lillian Hellman presents in A Children’s Hour, though she never gave credit to the original historical incident.
©2011-2012 Cynthia Goatley and Rebecca Burkhardt
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Goatley, Cyntia and Burkhardt, Rebecca
"Timeline of Creating the Original Performance Work, A Scotch Verdict,"
UNIversitas: Journal of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity: Vol. 7:
1, Article 11.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/universitas/vol7/iss1/11