The Edinburgh Makars will present a rehearsed reading of

Noble Prospects

Thu 28 September 2023

Auditions at the clubrooms, 7.30pm on Mon 15 May

This year, 2023, is the 250th anniversary of the Tour of Scotland in 1773 by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and The Edinburgh Makars have agreed a collaboration with the Royal Society of Edinburgh to commemorate that episode. This will be an evening event on Thursday 28th September, at the RSE rooms in George Street. The second half of the evening will be a seminar, with presentations by experts on Johnson and Boswell, on the context and impacts of the Tour. The first half of the evening will be a rehearsed reading of a new play written and directed by Mike Appleby, Noble Prospects, largely based on Johnson and Boswell’s own written and reported words.


Auditions will be held at the clubrooms (13 Brunswick Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH7 5JG) at 7.30pm on Mon 15 May. If you cannot attend that evening and would like to be involved, please email .

As well as the two main characters, there will be a cast of six or more others, who will get the fun of playing a host of other folk in the story, without the need to learn all the lines. We expect this to need just three or four rehearsals. Rehearsal dates will be decided in consultation with the cast.


Samuel Johnson    Johnson is English, 63 years old but robust. He is a famous writer, opinionated and often portentous. His hearing and sight are weak but perception acute. Mannerisms sometimes include twitching movements of his head. Often hearty, his laugh is a ‘good humoured growl.’ Physical characteristics are less important but he is described by Mrs Boswell, for his appearance and manner, as a bear.

James Boswell    A member of the Scottish landed gentry, with an accent from southern Scotland and Edinburgh, aged 32. He is a lawyer, proud of his descent, his appearance and his illustrious friend. Lively and civil, sometimes imprudently lively in company. Physical characteristics are again less important but he should preferably look less impressive than Johnson.

Company    There are thirty three other speaking (and some non-speaking) parts. These will be played by a company of at least three men and three women, preferably more, of varied age. Characters include English writers and landowners, Mrs Boswell, Scottish gentry (some with English accents), lairds, ministers, Flora MacDonald, seafarers, Highland villagers and servants. It will be helpful if some of the company can use either English or Scottish accents.