This new musical composition and film by Catriona Macdonald, Shona Main and Angelica Kroeger will view Unst-born Jessie M. E. Saxby as a woman, writer, folklorist and mother through the lens of contemporary female creative practice.

Wildie and Lalla | Available to watch from Wednesday 21 April at 10am

This film will be available online from Wednesday 21 April at 10am.

The work will be premiered across our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram TV channels, and available to view online until Monday 31 May.

Watch online or see the piece in person at Bonhoga from Wednesday 21 April to Sunday 2 May - book a free ticketed timeslot for the screening at Bonhoga here.

'Wildie' was the pet name given to Jessie by her father Laurence Edmondston, when she grew up in the house and gardens of Halligarth, Baltasound, Unst. Jessie moved away to the Scottish mainland, for the benefit of her husband Dr Henry Saxby's health, and after his early and untimely death, she lived in Edinburgh with her surviving children, for most of her adult life.

However, before she left Unst, Jessie experienced, like many other women of the period the loss of a much-loved child: their only daughter Laura, 'Lalla'. Extraordinarily, unlike many other mothers of this time Saxby was able to articulate her own grief and loss via her own creative practice, writing an intimate portrayal of her child's death in her 1875 book ' The One Wee Lassie'.​

Jessie returned to Unst in 1898, to her final home 'Wulvers Hool' which was built in direct view of Halligarth and Lalla's resting place. Her final written works foreground her lifelong interest in Shetland folklore and cultural heritage, and I hope that this new creative work based on themes of her lived experiences will further elevate her as an important female figure in the cultural history of our islands. (Catriona Macdonald)

Catriona Macdonald is a world-renowned Shetland fiddler, composer and scholar. In addition to playing in her own band, she was a founder member of Blazin' Fiddles, and currently plays with the fiddle band String Sisters. Catriona is the Degree Programme Director for the BA in Folk and Traditional Music based at Newcastle University, and is in the final stages of her creative- practice doctoral thesis which aims to recover and respond to women's role within pre-20th century vernacular cultural practices in Shetland.

Shona Main is a writer and filmmaker. Starting her working life writing for D.C. Thomson's Jackie magazine, Shona then studied Law and had a career in politics, before turning back to writing and filmmaking. In 2013, she made Clavel, a film about Shetland Crofter James Robert Sinclair. Shona is currently working on a PhD, a written and a film thesis (filmed in the Canadian Arctic) looking at Jenny Gilbertson and her ethical practice of attention.

Images: Catriona Macdonald.

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