She Sells Sea Shells

Theatre (new writing, physical theatre)

Add to favourites
  • Accessibility:
    Relaxed Performance
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


'It ain't a fossil. It's fossilised dung. But if he wants to pop it in a cabinet I don't want to spoil his day'. In 1811, the daughter of a Lyme Regis carpenter discovered the world's first Ichthyosaur. She was twelve. Before she was thirty, Mary Anning made discoveries that transformed our understanding of the universe. Then she was written out of history. Nearly. Scandal and Gallows bring their blend of movement and storytelling to this extraordinary story of genius, gender and dinosaurs. Previous work: 'Riveting' **** (Sunday Times). 'A masterclass in theatrical storytelling' **** (

Please note that while all media gallery content is provided by verified members of the event, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society does not review or approve this content before it is posted. Reports of inappropriate content or copyright infringement can be directed to [email protected].

General venue access

  • Captioning
    Relaxed Performance
  • Accessible entry: There are 50 steps into this venue from the cowgate entrance.
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

Captioned performances

  • Dates: 16 August
  • Type: Open
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team to book your tickets and request any specific seating locations or if booking a unit is required.

Relaxed performances

  • Dates: 13 August
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team for more information or to discuss any accessibility requirements.
  • Character Introduction Details
  • Additional information: For this performance, lights will remain on throughout, guests are welcome to leave & return, any noise or movement from the audience is absolutely fine and SFX will be quieter. This will also be explained in the beginning of the performance by one of the characters.

Be aware that this show features:

  • Permission to move around and make noise

Show does not feature:

  • Total Audience Black Out
  • Flashing Lights/Strobed Lighting
  • Loud/repetitive/high pitched/unexpected or overlapping sound
  • Distinctive smells
  • Special effects (e.g. smoke/bubbles/pyrotechnics)
  • Latex balloons
  • Characters expressing anger
  • Heavily dialogue-driven scenes
  • Audience required to walk around
  • Audience required to undertake directed movement
  • Audience required to sing/speak along with/for performer
  • Audience invited on stage
  • Performer goes into audience area
  • An intermission
  • Audience chill out area
  • Permission to engage with performer
  • Show guide or synopsis or character list

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

gini trower 111 days ago

Absolutely epic the best show I have seen at the festival Brilliant don’t miss it only two days left

AlainaS 120 days ago

One of those great Fringe shows that tells you a story you didn't realize you didn't know, creatively staged and wonderfully performed. Definitely worth seeing.

Chris Green 121 days ago

A real highlight of this year's Fringe, illuminating, entertaining and very relevant to our times as the tendency of male-dominated societies to write women out of history shows no sign of abating (think not just Mary Anning but Rosalind Franklin and Katherine Johnson). Staging the production as a present-day academic lecture invaded by the spirit of Mary Anning proved very effective, as did the placing of Anning in the context of overall 19th century debate around creation and evolution, a debate which sadly continues today in spite of the body of evidence that Anning helped to compile. The three performers deserve huge praise, Charlie Merriman and Emma MacLennan for their multi-charactered appearances as the Chorus, and especially Antonia Weir for her passionate portrayal of the force of nature that was Mary Anning.

Christine McDerment 122 days ago

This show must win my best of the fringe for creativity alone. It is imaginative, well written, well acted and performed by three talented actors who fill the whole stage with their storm-tossed choreography, just as Mary Anning would have liked. You could hear the wind and smell the sea as they told the story. Antonia Weir was particularly good as the self-possessed young fossil hunter but her chorus of characters portrayed by Charlie Merriman and Emma MacLennan were not far behind.
Cannot recommend this highly enough!

Naomi Ellynn 124 days ago

Such a thoughtful performance, characterisation was so well done!

James Beagon 126 days ago

An excellent show, easy to recommend to anyone and everyone. Informative and punchy whilst at the same time simple and well-presented, it achieves exactly what it sets out to do. A talented cast, a well-honed script and a story well worth telling.

Melanie Colman 127 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this show. The storytelling was excellent, informative and highly entertaining as well. I found the story of Mary Anning very emotional and I now feel inspired to find out more about her. Thank you to the excellent young cast for such a wonderful experience, I could have watched the show for another hour, I was so transfixed!

Phil Colman 127 days ago

I enjoyed that. Very much. Three performers portraying numerous characters in an informative, amusing and emotive life-story. Definitely worth a visit!!

Nikki Plowman 128 days ago

Loved this show. Left feeling pretty moved at that the discoveries of such a woman were so unrecognised. I told at least 5 people about Mary Anning yesterday as requested by the cast! Beautiful storytelling. A fringe classic show.

Isabel Paterson 129 days ago

Once again the contribution of a woman to historical and scientific advances in only just receiving the recognition it deserves, decades after the fact. Great story telling and very convincing performances. I enjoyed the several changes of style and pace throughout the performance, a quick whirlwind of information balanced with genuine, emotional portrayal. Well
done all.

Ben L 129 days ago

This show was sublime. Incredibly interesting subject matter that was acted beautifully. (Shout-out to Giles and Miranda). Will give you giggles and goosebumps.

Jon Wainwright 129 days ago

Tremendous show about the extraordinary Mary Anning. Three great actors, some wooden cabinets, and a lively script take us onto the beach at Lyme Regis, and into Anning's life as one of history's preeminent fossil finders. "I've always been fond of a bit of weather," she says, which is just as well since without the wind and the waves the crumbling cliffs would never have given up their million-year-old secrets.

Antonia Weir plays Anning as a young working-class woman with an admirable self-confidence, every ounce of which she needed to make any kind of impression in a scientific world run by middle-class and aristocratic men (cue mandatory but thankfully fleeting bout of wokeful bleating). This confidence, however, also tips over at times into an arrogance at odds with the true scientific spirit of humility and ignorance. Knowing with certainty that there are 214 bones in an Ichthyosaur might win you a pub quiz but it doesn't make you a scientist. Science is not facts and rules, it's black cats in dark rooms - or fossils on beaches that only the eye of an Anning can see.

The chorus (Charlie Merriman and Emma MacLean) supplies a range of characters, including a genteel couple (Giles and Miranda) who have the kind of wonderfully eavesdroppable marital spat that happens every day in the aisles of Ikea but which here is a theological argument that brilliantly evokes the turbulence of a century coming to terms with the idea that Scripture doesn't have all the answers to the big questions. "Things don't just not exist anymore," spits Giles through gritted teeth in response to Miranda's blasphemous suggestion that maybe, just maybe, some of God's creatures no longer exist.

Anning is rightly outraged by others taking the credit for her discoveries (priority is fundamental to scientific status), but is wrong to complain that, while she sells a fossil for £23 without leaving her Lyme Regis home, a man sells it on for nearly double the price. It's like a farmer complaining that the supermarket sells her eggs for twice the price that she sells them at her farm gate. This gets in the way of understanding how amazing it is there was a market for "curies" at all (a century earlier and these fossils would have been worthless bits of rock).

I came to this show having enjoyed Remarkable Creatures, the novel about Mary Anning by Tracy Chevalier, and was very impressed. A classic fringe production.

Alex 130 days ago

I took my daughter, who is in to dinosaurs and fossils and all of that. She was reluctant to go, as she 'knew everything' on Mary Anning. However, she left saying the show was 'beautifully packaged', and for my part I think it is a great inspiration for girls who want to pursue science and their dreams. An important story (with so many implications) that was passionately retold....well done and thank you.

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

Everything Theatre (4/5 stars) 112 days ago

This inspiring biopic is brought to life in a moving play that combines enthralling storytelling with flowing physical elements. These sequences never feel forced into the plot, helping instead to create an evocative atmosphere that celebrate the proximity of the sea. The choice of a gorgeous cabinet as a main set piece works both as a reference to the family trade and storage for the smaller props that support the narrative.

Read the full review

The Wee Review (4/5 stars) 113 days ago

It is often the case that a classic children’s rhyme has some sort of historical significance to them. This can be said for tongue-twister and show title, She Sells Sea Shells. In the brilliantly illustrated life of Mary Anning, Scandal and Gallows Theatre bring an educational and biographical telling of...

Read the full review

British (4/5 stars) 116 days ago

In an enthralling piece of storytelling, the three-strong cast takes us back to Anning’s childhood.
More than 170 years after Anning’s death at only 47, they are now telling her story and it is unforgettable.

Read the full review

Broadway World (3/5 stars) 120 days ago

Because she was a girl, and because herstory was not a consideration in the 19th century. Mary Anning is the subject of She Sells Sea Shells, both the tongue-twister and the production - the latter is an attempt to let the world know about one of science's most influential women...

Read the full review

Miro Magazine (3/5 stars) 120 days ago

Scandal and Gallows Theatre tell of Mary Anning, who discovered the world’s first Ichthyosaur at twelve years old.

Read the full review

The Scotsman (4/5 stars) 121 days ago

A surprising number of nursery rhymes are based on women from history; “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” is about Bloody Mary, “There Was an Old Woman” is about Queen Caroline, and “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” is about the female inmates of Wakefield Prison. ...

Read the full review

British Theatre Guide (4/5 stars) 127 days ago

Look for tickets... The name Mary Anning is not one that might immediately spring to mind, but her work in the field of palaeontology cannot fail to impress. Yet despite her devoting most of her life to the discovery and knowledge surrounding geology and fossils, her achievements were barely credited...

Read the full review

One4Review (5/5 stars) 128 days ago

This was fringe theatre at its very best. Scandal and Gallows Theatre Company bring the life story of the 19th Century palaeontologist Mary Anning to Edinburgh and tell it in such a riveting way that I was gripped from … Read More ...

Read the full review

Broadway Baby (4/5 stars) 128 days ago

Searching through the Fringe guide for a show worth seeing is a job that could perhaps be likened to archaeology – you spend hours carefully probing, sorting the dross from the distinctive (and always with the risk of discovering that what you initially took to be a precious and unique...

Read the full review

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

Please login to add a review

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.