Since the start of lockdown, many of us have had to adjust to a new normal, relying on the internet as a way to work, to communicate with family and friends, and even to enjoy personal interests like theatre and music.

One show that has been made available online is Matthew Zajac‘s The Tailor of Invernesswhich first opened at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008 and has since visited 12 countries and over 40,000 people. This deeply personal and engrossing play tells the tale of Zajac’s father, who wound up as a tailor in the Scottish Highlands after starting life out in a small village called Gnilowody (once owned by Poland and later Ukraine). Now, Zajac and his theatre company, Dogstar Theatre, offer a new side to The Tailor of Inverness through Circling A Fox – a film delving into the life of Zajac’s father and the how the play came to be.

In 2010 and 2013, film director Brian Ross accompanied Zajac and his musicians on tour with the show to Ukraine and Poland, revisiting many of the places his father had passed through in his youth and during the war. Combining footage of locations , people his father had once met, and of the performances in agricultural colleges and village halls, Circling A Fox is part history lesson, part epic family tree, and also a tribute to “the children of war”. Zajac’s father had a fascinating story to tell – one that started long before he settled as a tailor in Scotland after World War Two, and Ross’ film allows Zajac to share his father’s experiences.

Those seeking an insight into the way the world once was will not be disappointed by this unique documentary. For theatre lovers, it’s a moving demonstration of the power of theatre to unite and edify its audiences. But first and foremost, this is one of those stories that almost feels too incredible to be true – even when all the evidence is displayed before you.

Circling A Fox is a tribute to love, a tribute to forgiveness, and a tribute to how our differences tend to be less significant than the fact that we all sometimes find ourselves at the mercy of circumstance.


Circling a Fox is available to watch now on Vimeo.

Our 2016 review of The Tailor of Inverness can be read here.