‘A Donkey and a Parrot’ – Family History Show at the Edinburgh Fringe, 5 to 27 August 2012

Posted on August 16th, 2012 by The British Newspaper Archive

While reading the listings for the Edinburgh Festival, we noticed that there is a one-woman show about family history running at the Gilded Balloon until 27 August 2012 – and it sounds excellent!

With the enigmatic title, A Donkey and a Parrot, the show reaches back over 300 years to tell the dramatic story of Sarah Hamilton’s Huguenot family, as they moved from France to the UK and then to Australia.

If your surname appears in the list below, then Sarah would love to hear from you! You can contact her via Twitter at @donkeyparrot.

Open Letter:

This is calling all Roussel, Beuzeville, Hewlett, Sargent and Byles families – and any others who are descended from Laurens Roussel (b.1628), physician to Louis XIV. He was placed under house arrest following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and his children escaped to England. Nine generations later, their descendants still share the story of the escape of the two youngest sons in panniers on the side of a donkey.

‘A Donkey and a Parrot’

Melbourne actor Sarah Hamilton has written a one-woman play, A Donkey and a Parrot, about the escape of the Roussel children from St Germain, Pont Audemer. Sarah has brought the play from Australia to perform it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe throughout August. She is hoping the play will bring together Roussel family descendants in the UK who recognise this as their story. Sarah is a Tasmanian-born descendant through the Sargent family.

The story of one little boy’s bravery and the resourcefulness of his older sister was recorded by Esther Beuzeville (born 1786, died 1851) in “Historical Tales for Young Protestants” published by the Religious Tract Society. The story was also told by J. Gilbert Wiblin in a paper presented to the Huguenot Society of London on 14 January 1931. The story as retold by Sarah Hamilton, 9 generations later, makes for captivating theatre!

Please find details on the Edinburgh Fringe Season below. This is an opportunity to witness both a fascinating part of Anglo-French history and one family’s own history – and to meet with others who are bound by this shared history.


‘A Donkey and a Parrot’ Family History Show at the Edinburgh Fringe

Venue: Gilded Balloon at Third Door

Dates: 5th-27th August

Weekday tickets: £8.00/ £7.00

Times: 14:00 (15:00)

Dates not performing: 13th & 20th August

Weekend tickets: £9.00/ £8.00

Box Office: 0131 622 6552 / online www.gildedballoon.co.uk

One Response to “‘A Donkey and a Parrot’ – Family History Show at the Edinburgh Fringe, 5 to 27 August 2012”

David Arthur RousselAugust 19th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

My fathers family is from guernsey. They came to Canada about 1911, but many relatives remained. Aunts always visited until their deaths in the 1960’s.

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