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From Poland to Scotland via Stalin and Hitler

By Alistair Whitfield

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ONE of the most highly praised Scottish theatre productions of the last decade is being performed at two Moray venues this month.

The Tailor of Inverness was an instant success when it was premiered at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms in 2008 and has since been performed worldwide from Australia to New York.

Its writer is Matthew Zajac, whose acting appearances include both Taggart and Shetland.

Matthew takes on the role of his own father whose life was directly shaped by some of the most dramatic and violent events of the last century.

Born exactly 100 years ago, Mateusz Zajac grew up on a farm in Poland.

When the Second World War broke out he was taken prisoner by the Russians and put into a forced labour camp before being freed to fight for the Allies.

He arrived as a refugee in Scotland in 1948 to join his brother who had already settled here. Mateusz went on to marry a Scottish wife and together they raised three children in Inverness where he became a highly respected figure.

However, as the play reveals, Mateusz kept several wartime secrets from his neighbours and even his own family, which only came to light after his death.

Matthew Zajac in The Tailor of Inverness
Matthew Zajac in The Tailor of Inverness

Awards for the production, which is touring again to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, include The Stage Award for Best Solo Performer 2008.

Its original team has been united again, with director Ben Harrison, designer Ali Maclaurin, lighting designer Kai Fischer, sound designer Tim Brinkhurst and on fiddle Johnny Hardie and Gavin Marwick.

The Tailor of Inverness is on at Portgordon Village Hall on Tuesday, April 16, from 7.30pm. Tickets from

Taylor Pharmacy 01542 831116, and Moray Hearing 01542 831423.

It is also being performed at the Universal Hall, Findhorn, on Saturday, April 27, from 8pm. Tickets 01309691170

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