• This chapter emerges from the energies and aspirations of the years leading up to the Scottish Independence Referendum of September 2014, and explores three dramas created during this period: The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (David Greig, 2011), The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project (Northern Stage, 2013) and Rantin (Kieran Hurley, 2013). It borrows the mythic figure of the ballad-hero Tamlane (shape-shifting, multiform, and elusive) to reflect on the ways in which national identities have been asserted, subverted, challenged, and re-made (across several centuries) through the medium of Scotland and England’s traditional songs. The chapter specifically focuses on the ways in which these three modern theatre works sought to activate the convivial, participatory performance interactions associated with traditional song practices. In this way, it highlights the value of traditional ballads and songs for politically engaged performance-makers in both England and Scotland during a turbulent, uncertain, and ebullient historical moment.