25 Days of CoDI: Day 6

On the sixth day of CoDI Mr Murray asked me, when, where and how would you like to die?

Scott Murray: Bringing Death Back to Life 

 scott murray

Professor Scott Murray, St Columba’s Hospice Chair of Primary Palliative Care at the University of Edinburgh, is appearing at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas as part of Death on the Fringe. Death on the Fringe is a series of events looking at this difficult topic. Director of Death on the Fringe, Robert Peacock explains more…



Death is never the easiest thing to talk about. That much is obvious. But like many things, it doesn’t go away just because you push it to the back of your mind and pretend it’s not going to happen. Paradoxically, if you do discuss it, it can become much easier to deal with and hence quite liberating.


What do you want to happen after you die? Have you made a will? Have you thought about your funeral? What about if you become terminally ill?


These are questions it is better to have with relatives and friends while everyone is calm and in good health, rather than in the emotional upheaval that surrounds a health scare or emergency situation.


Death on the Fringe exists as a way to kick-start those conversations in an entertaining and understanding way, at the world’s biggest arts festival. If the taboo surrounding death can’t be broken at the Fringe, where can it?


We are now in our third year. As well as incorporating comedy and drama, we also programme a range of events featuring prominent academics and thinkers in the area of death and bereavement.


Professor Murray has supported Death on the Fringe since the beginning and we’re delighted to have him performing this year as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas. He used to work in rural Kenya and has very interesting perspectives on how different cultures treat death around the world.


He draws on that experience to challenge people with the questions: when, where and how would you like to die? Why are we not planning for death the same way we plan for a wedding for instance? Could it not save a lot of heartache, suffering and expense?


These are challenging things to think about, and there are no easy answers, but we do hope that by posing the questions, it helps to make the inevitable less intimidating and unthinkable.


Please join us at Professor Murray’s talk, and when you’re not at other Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas events, see what else is on at Death on the Fringe on our website, www.deathonthefringe.org.uk.  You can also find out about the wider year round initiative of which it is a part, Good Life Good Death Good Grief, on the website www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk.


Scott’s show takes place on Tuesday 9th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at: http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/99/performance/1534/book-tickets

Scott Death