For the Mind, Body & Spirit of Edinburgh: What Would You Like to See?

Since our founding in 2011, the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre has strived to serve our community here in Edinburgh – and often beyond. As a spiritual centre for the holistic wellbeing of society, it is ever-important that we keep up with the changing and growing needs of our community and that we know how we can truly be of value and service.

Here at the Centre we have gone through a number of changes in recent years, from a growing staff and volunteer team, to developing our brand and online presence – we even have a newly refurbished website on the way. It has been a busy time indeed!

Continue reading For the Mind, Body & Spirit of Edinburgh: What Would You Like to See?→

Spotlight 2018 : News@1066

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

It all began when I was five and was regularly murdered – I played the duchess’s daughter in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, production of The Duchess of Malfi! Margaret Plantagenet (aged nine), was my next RSC role. This time my father was murdered – in a butt of Malmsey wine! More light hearted roles have ranged from Tatiana Romanov in Otma’s Glory, Moth in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lydia Bennet in Prawn and Prejudice (film).

Studying at Edinburgh University has been one big drama! I have been on night patrol on the Pentland Hills with the Officer Training Corps, sailed the seven seas with the university’s Navy Unit, sang my heart out in Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, run my legs off with the first lacrosse team, and worked my fingers to the bone producing six editions of my history satire magazine, The Plague – free copies available at my show!

Is this your first time performing at the fringe? (If yes, how do you feel about it?) 

Yes – and I’m all a flutter!

Could you describe to us, briefly, what your show is about? 

Set in a TV studio, News@1066 puts history straight! Roving reporters get to the bottom of history’s biggest stories.

Fast-moving and wacky, this one-woman comic show races from one breaking story to the next! Historical fact mixes with modern technology – screen, sound effects and music as anchor woman Alice Roberts interviews live celebs from the past. (Spoilers: Anne Boleyn in a lifejacket and Richard III’s parking fine).

This show is a belly full of laughs – accessible to all. Totally unique and jolly good fun!

Where did the name News@1066 come from? 

As I slumbered in my stone turret, trying to think of a name for the show, an arrow flew threw the window, narrowly missing me! Tied to its shaft was a piece of parchment, and clearly visible was the royal seal of Harold. What could this be? I unrolled the parchment, and there was a message from the king himself (such an elegant hand). It read: “Go forth, and call your show ‘News@1066’. I have a feeling this date will become quite memorable”. As a loyal subject, I could only obey this royal command.

Can you describe to our readers, in three words, what they can expect from your show?

A show to-blow-your-bonnet-off!

To attend the show, book your space here


Spotlight 2018 Fringe : The Snake Oil Art Show

Hello Ian, we are so happy and intrigued to host your show this year! It does sound really interesting and so different!

Could you tell us more about yourself as well as your talk?

“I am a practising homeopath with over 30 years experience. I started the art and homeopathy movement in 2014. We have a web site The link between the two is obvious. Art is about individual expression and so is homeopathy. It is a therapy based on the idea that disease is not just a collection of symptoms but a picture of a sick person. We need to see that picture and find the remedy which best fits it to bring about cure. In the same way as a picture, or a poem, or a piece of music, or a creative dance, can all express what a person is about.”

How and when did you first see a link between art and soft medicine like homeopathy?

“Depends what you mean by soft medicine. But if you mean connected with people and not just about a medical model which is driven by using damaging drugs, then I have always seen that connection. Art is a form of human expression and as such tells us a lot about the artist, the subject and what needs to be looked at. If it’s illness which needs to be looked at then this has to be from the perspective of the sick person and not just the symptoms they have. They are just part of what the person is expressing about what needs to be cured. Art often reflects this about the society which produces it.”

How would you define an art and homeopathy movement?

“ Why art and homeopathy? It’s because homeopathy is about healing, because art is known to be healing and because art also is an expression of individuality and creativity.  Homeopathy is individualised medicine which depends on hearing/sensing/observing all that a patient has to show about their suffering so that it can be cured. It relies on personal expression. Art is a way in which people can show their inner self and that is what we are looking for in homeopathy. It is the individual and not the disease we are interested in.”

In your description, you mentioned that homeopathy can be a “controversial science”, can you explain to us what you mean?

“The phrase I used was apparently controversial. It is not at all controversial in that it can cure people very effectively, safely and cheaply. The controversy is created by those who say it is not scientific. Well no it is not scientific according to a narrow approach of double blinded laboratory tests of drugs. Our science is based on clinical and experimental evidence, but the basic premise is always that individuals are individually sick in their own way and we need to find the individual cure, not the blanket use of drugs which are often not effective. It is a known fact that for example anti-depressent drugs are often no better than placebo effect. And they are very dangerous. Many young people on some of these drugs have developed suicidal tendencies.”

If you are interested in this show, book your space here.

Spotlight 2018 Fringe : Alistair Savage, Alone with History

We are so happy to welcome Alastair Savage, member of the BBC  Scottish Symphony Orchestra for a special folkloric fringe concert! Do not miss his performance on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th of August at the Centre! You can book your space here

For how many years you have been performing at the Fringe and what made you start? 

I reckon this is my 10th year at the fringe. I’d been building up my work in traditional music outside of the orchestra for a few years and made my first solo fiddle album in 2004 so coming to play in Edinburgh at the fringe seemed a great way of expanding the audience and getting my music out there.

Can you tell us more about your music? How would you describe it?

It’s really a broad spectrum of Scots fiddle history, everything from the 18th century classics linked to Rabbie Burns and the great Perthshire fiddle composer Niel Gow, through the 19th century with people like James Scott Skinner and then into the 20th century including my own compositions. I like to explore the geographical links in the music too, so I feature music from the Scottish Islands and music associated with the bluegrass elements of North America.

Can you explain to us your show’s title “Alastair Savage, Alone with History”? Is your music related to Scottish history or its heritage?

Yes, the title of the show relates to my most recent album called ‘Alone With History’ recorded in Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral Castle. The album is completely solo fiddle without any accompaniment thus the title and also tries to show how each composer in Scotland’s past stands ‘Alone’ and is unique in their own way. There is a strong historical element to the show and hopefully giving Scots and people from overseas a special look at Scotland’s proud musical heritage.

You are also part of the Celtic band with which you released 3 albums, we are impressed! Can you tell us more about your last album?

The last album was actually unaccompanied but before that yes, 3 albums made at Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean’s Perthshire studio alongside my trio with Euan Drysdale and Iain Crawford. Much of those albums is new original music written by myself and arranged by the trio. Some of our music has been used by BBC Alba and we’ve broadcast several times on BBC radio.

Spotlight 2018 Fringe : Arthur Conan Doyle – The Spiritualist

With five years of sell-out shows behind her Ann Treherne, Chair of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, will talk about Edinburgh’s famous son, a man of literature and world spokesman of Spiritualism during the 2018 Fringe Festival.

If you want to find out more about Ann’s show, don’t hesitate to read our second Fringe spotlight blog post! You can also book your place for the show here

For those who missed your show in previous years, can you remind us briefly what your talk is about?

It’s about Arthur Conan Doyle, Edinburgh’s most famous son, who was born and brought up here.  Famous author of the Sherlock Holmes stories but less famous as the world’s foremost spokesman on Spiritualism.  The talk explores his life in Edinburgh, before he was famous, but also his interest in Art, Music and Politics, for which he is less well-known.

After five years bringing your show to the Centre, how do you renew your talk every year ?

Can people expect something different this year ?  It is an award-winning show, so it’s important to deliver that show to the public, but there is always something interesting that crops up concerning Arthur Conan Doyle – and this year is no different.  This year I’ll be showing the sketch he did just before he died, which portrays his life’s work.  And, we’ll have the Sherlock Holmes Tartan on display.

Why do you think Arthur Conan Doyle was so interested in Spiritualism?

He had a very enquiring mind from a very early age – which started whilst he was attending Edinburgh University.  This is where he met Joseph Bell, his tutor and the inspiration from Sherlock Holmes.  But, he had an investigative mind himself – just like his famous sleuth – so when he heard about mediumship, he wanted to investigate it.  He rooted out fraudulent mediums and applauded those he found to be genuine and realised there was a greater purpose to their actions.  This caused him to devote the rest of his life to promoting spiritualism – he felt he had a duty to us all to bring this message to our attention.  In my very small way, I’m trying to follow in his footsteps.

As a medium yourself, could you give our readers a quick summary on what drew you to Spiritualism and practising mediumship ?

I had a very successful career in finance – as a senior manager.  I was stopped in my tracks by premonitions which subsequently came to pass.  These were traumatic for me and caused me to question what was happening, and just like Arthur Conan Doyle, coincidentally I started to investigate the phenomenon – and eventually gave up my job to devote my time to psychic investigation, mediumship and giving talks at home and abroad on these subjects and of course on Arthur Conan Doyle.

Lastly, are there any other shows you’ll be attending yourself or could recommend to our readers? 

My show will be followed by a show called, ‘The Strange Friendship of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houndini. It’s by live stream from America, by Bob Stek.  Bob has a Doctorate in Psychology from Univeristy of Regina, USA and is a retired lecturer from Indiana State University.  He has worked collaboratively with Gary Schwartz and is a keen member of The Sherlock Homes Society and The Baker Street Irregulars.  Bob will explore the turbulent relationship between Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdinin – including some live recordings which I’m sure the audience will find fascinating.



2018 Fringe Spotlight : The Strange Friendship of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini

Our third spotlight blog post will give you a quick overview of the live streamed talk, which reveals the friendship of Spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle and the well known illusionist Harry Houdini.

Hello Bob, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. How would you describe your talk ?

Though most famous for creating the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a passionate believer in spiritualism – that gifted individuals are able to receive messages from the deceased.  Master magician Harry Houdini was well known for debunking phony mediums who used tricks to dupe people into believing that they had the ability to communicate with their dead relatives.  This talk initially focuses upon the very real, if later strained, friendship between these two men with opposing views.  The talk then examines a proposed serious scientifically controlled experiment to provide evidence that information from both Doyle and Houdini may be available from psychic mediums.  An audio recording of a preliminary session with a medium gives the suggestion that, when invited, both Doyle and Houdini make their presence known, although Carl Sagan does not!

We are sorry to hear you can’t make it to Edinburgh yourself this year, however it will be great to have your talk over live stream. Can you give us a short teaser for our readers on why they should come and listen ?

The great religions all posit that in some sense our individual consciousness survive bodily death, and everyone at some point in their lives wonders if this is true.  Many people report some type of experience which suggests that death may not be final.  Science is a wonderful tool which helps us make sense of the universe and our experience.  This presentation points in the direction of using systematic scientific investigation to explore if our own consciousness will somehow continue after our physical body no longer supports life as we know it.  Sooner or later, we will all eventually find out for ourselves!

What made you interested in Arthur Conan Doyle and Houdini’s special friendship ?

I am a long time member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a world wide organization interested in the stories of Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.  In my career as a professional psychologist I was interested in how we experience the world in different states of consciousness – from our normal waking consciousness to sleep and dreams to hypnosis to various alcohol- or drug-induced states and anesthesia to so-called multiple personalities to the claims of trance mediums who seemed to have access to information not conveyed by our normal senses.  Upon learning that spiritualist Doyle enjoyed a relationship with phony medium debunker Houdini, I researched the lives of these two famous men who seemed to hold such opposing views.

In a few words, how would you describe Harry Houdini ?

While many fine illusionists entertain us today, the name Houdini still has the power to captivate the imagination of anyone who has ever wondered just how the most famous stage magician in the world managed to produce his illusions as well as perform escapes from seemingly impossible conditions.  Houdini was the ultimate showman and a master at self-promotion.  Any of the many biographies about his life are well worth reading to get just an inkling of his fascinating life.

This is your first time at the Fringe festival, how are you preparing for your talk and will you be tuning in to any other shows?

I have been to the Fringe Festival on three previous occasions – last here in 2015 I first gave my presentation about Doyle’s and Houdini’s friendship at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre.  It is only due to the recovery time from a medical procedure which prevents me from again visiting one of my most favorite cities in the world, especially during the Fringe Festival.  While watching videos of the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo or checking in on live feeds may be enjoyable, nothing compares to walking amongst the crowds on the Royal Mile and being entertained by the thousands of live performances across the city.  In 2015 while giving my own presentation I attended a theatrical performance examining that exact same relationship between Doyle and Houdini, and the part of Houdini was portrayed by Alan Cox who had portrayed John Watson as a boy in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film, The Young Sherlock Holmes!

If you are interested, book your space here

2018 Fringe Spotlight : “Alice Hawkins – Suffragette”

We are so delighted to welcome back the passionate and heartfelt Peter Barratt with his 2018 Fringe Show “Alice Hawkins – Suffragette”.

For those who missed his spoken word show last year, Peter Barratt is the great-grandson of suffragette Alice Hawkins who strongly campaigned for women’s rights one hundred years ago, is coming back to the Centre for the 2018 Fringe Festival!  Take a look at the interview below and book your space here.

Hello Peter! Thank you for taking the time to answer our few questions. Could you remind us briefly what your show is about?

I will be speaking on the inspiring life of my suffragette great-grandmother Alice Hawkins and her campaign for the right to vote over a 100 years ago. As I speak of Alice’s campaigning years, I illustrate the talk with images of the suffragette memorabilia that once belonged to Alice and is still with the family to this day and am strongly supported by actor Ruth Pownall who plays the part of Alice, adding an extra dimension to the show. Alice’s sash, hunger strike medal, prison notes and more are all illustrated in the show. It is a fantastic collection and is considered to be one of the finest examples in the UK today still with descendants.

It will be the second time that you are performing at the Fringe, how do you feel about it and have you added some new elements since last year?

The audiences at last year’s Fringe were so enthusiastic and receptive I felt we had to return and for a longer run. There certainly are new elements to the show as through the great support of staff at The National Archives in London, documented notes and statements that Alice made have recently been discovered. Her experiences on ‘Black Friday’ for example are in a statement taken by a journalist of the day, Henry Brailsford.

You and Alice have been featured in the local and national news plus BBC and Sky this year, have you noticed a different interest in 2018 especially from the media in general? and why?


This year is a special year to be at the Fringe as it is the centenary of women (in part) first gaining the vote. Also after a successful fundraising campaign I co-lead, we unveiled a bronze statue of Alice in a centenary week last February in her hometown of Leicester. The first of only four suffrage statues due to be unveiled this year in the UK. (See photo).The unveiling gained national media attention and now a major exhibition ‘Voice and Vote: Women’s place in Parliament’ has just opened at Parliament in London featuring Alice’s suffragette memorabilia.



Over one hundred thousand visitors are expected during its three-month run and many international Fringe-goers will have the opportunity to visit the free exhibition when visiting London, seeing Alice’s memorabilia first hand.







How do you think that your spoken word show can be a relevant way to approach a serious subject such as women rights and sex equality?

Alice became a suffragette and campaigned throughout her life on the issue of gaining equal pay for the women in the shoe factories where she worked and the issue of equal pay is as relevant today for women as it was over a 100 years ago. Through hearing the inspiring life story of Alice I believe it will encourage women today to campaign on issues that affect their own lives and use the vote as an influencer of positive change in society.

Is there anything further you’d like to share about your show?

As a proud descendant, I truly believe speaking of Alice’s campaign for the rights of women is my calling in life and is a fantastic story to be told.

Book your tickets for Alice Hawkins – Suffragette’s show on the official Fringe website now!

A very special visitor – a Doyle through our doors!

Here at the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre we were blessed to have a very special visitor – Cathy Begg (nee Doyle) – the great niece of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Cathy and her husband Mike were visiting Edinburgh for a very specific reason – Tania Henzell, Doyle’s great, great step-granddaughter launched the official Sherlock Holmes Tartan this week and held a prestigious event at Physicians Hall on Thursday evening to mark the occasion.

Arthur Conan Doyle had five children, none of which had children themselves, so meeting a blood-relative of the man himself is an exciting event, made even more brilliant for the fact the Cathy is one of the directors of the Conan Doyle Estate.

We were delighted to give Cathy a tour of our building – named after Arthur Conan Doyle in honour of his work towards spiritualism. Ann Treherne, founder of the Centre, and Eleanor Docherty, one of our receptionists, spoke at length with Cathy about Conan Doyle and his amazing life.


Ann Treherne is going to Germany!

The jet-setting Chair of our Centre, Ann Treherne has got an exciting week coming up – she’s going back to Frankfurt, Germany to team up with Steven Levett to present an amazing two day workshop. In this workshop, the pair will teach how to improve your own life energy and use it to heal and strengthen the spiritual energy of others.

This is an exciting opportunity both for those attending the workshop to learn from two experienced teachers and also for Ann to teach at this fantastic event organised by the Frankfurter Ring.

You can read more about the event here.

Mediumship with June Field: Demonstrations and Workshops


February promises to be an exciting month for anybody interested in mediumship, with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Center hosting a variety of events with the world-renowned medium June FieldContinue reading Mediumship with June Field: Demonstrations and Workshops→