William Paterson was a financial adventurer who devised one of the most daring and disastrous speculations of all time.

His plan: to found a Scottish colony on Darien in Central America and turn Scotland, one of the poorest nations in Europe, into an imperial power. He invited the public to invest. And they did – in a big way. Within weeks a vast proportion of the nation’s wealth had been subscribed.

What went so wrong that, within a few years, the Scots – demoralised and impoverished – gave up their nation’s independent status and signed the 1707 Treaty of Union with England?

Inspired by documents, journals, letters, songs and poems of the period, celebrated playwright and satirist Alistair Beaton has created a work that is both a tribute to heroic ambition and a darkly witty take on the deceptions and self-deceptions of rich and poor alike.

Caledonia is directed by Anthony Neilson, the Scottish writer/ director whose award-winning work for the Edinburgh International Festival has included the National Theatre of Scotland’s Realism and The Wonderful World of Dissocia.

Caledonia is a story of greed, euphoria and mass delusion. It is the story of a small, poor country mistaking itself for a big, rich country. It is an ancient story for modern times.

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