Media release: Rocket Post – a new show for all ages to tour Scotland this autumn

Rocket Post courtesy of Museum nan Eilean

World premiere

National Theatre of Scotland presents

Rocket Post

Sponsored by Mackie’s of Scotland

Based on a true story

Written and directed by Lewis Hetherington, with collaborators Ailie Cohen and MJ McCarthy, and movement director, Kane Husbands

Touring to Glasgow, Stornoway, Ullapool, Thurso, Forres, Tarland, Portsoy, Aberdeen, St Andrews, Giffnock, Stirling, Alloa, Falkirk and Paisley from 19 September to 21 October 2017

Full cast is Ceit Kearney, Christina Gordon, Gavin Swift, Harry Ward and MJ Deans

THE National Theatre of Scotland heads north and then across Scotland, presenting Rocket Post, an inventive new show for children and families, created by Lewis Hetherington in collaboration with Ailie Cohen and MJ McCarthy.

Based on an incredible true story, the show delightfully follows the antics of German rocket engineer, Gerhard Zucker, and his ill-fated attempts to bring a rocket-based postal service to the Western Isles in 1934.

Rocket Post opens at An Lanntair in Stornoway on 23 September, with preview performances at Platform, Easterhouse (19 and 20 September,ber)  before embarking on a Scottish tour to 21 October 2017.

Ever heard the expression, ‘reach for the stars’?

Back in 1934, that’s just what German rocket engineer, Gerhard Zucker, did with his radical new idea for delivering letters at high speed over long distances – ROCKETS! Next stop: the Western Isles, and the scene of a dramatic experiment to send two rockets full of letters on a 1,600 metre flight path between the isles of Harris and Scarp.

On the 28th and the 31st July, Gerhard launches his rockets. On both occasions, the rockets go up in flames. His vision for the future of communication explodes into thousands of tiny pieces that fall through the sky like rain. Back to the drawing board for Gerhard. But maybe, one day, his vision will be realised.

A fantastically fun new show for everyone aged six-plus, Rocket Post is equal parts play, gig and hoedown.

Full of humour, heart and hope for the future, it’s a tale of miscommunication, vaulting ambition and the joyous discoveries that can happen when everything goes wrong.

Rocket Post also playfully tells an extraordinary real story, celebrating one man’s ambitious endeavour and how an island community responded.

The Rocket Post, a film that tells the story of Gerhard Zucker and his rocket mail experiments, was made in Scotland and distributed in 2004. The film went onto win the Festival Grand Prize at the Stonybrook Film Festival in New York.

Lewis Hetherington is a celebrated playwright and theatre-maker based in Scotland. His previous acclaimed collaborations with Ailie Cohen include The Secret Life of Suitcases and Cloud Man.

Rocket Post opens at An Lanntair in Stornoway, one of Scotland’s most northerly arts centres. The National Theatre of Scotland continues its commitment to touring Scotland and reaching rural and geographically-diverse communities with the world premiere of an innovative and energised piece of music theatre for all ages.

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to welcome Mackie’s of Scotland back on board as a sponsor, supporting another of the company’s touring productions for children.

Previously, Mackie’s of Scotland sponsored the successful tours of Last Polar Bears, which toured to primary schools and The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish.

Mackies will shortly be announcing an exciting competition for children around the Rocket Post tour. Full information from

The production is supported by a family workshop programme at each venue, which will be free to ticket holders. Join the ‘Rocketeer Scientists’ and help build a new rocket that will take your letters on a very special journey.

To book a space, please contact Suitable for everyone aged six-plus. Spaces are limited. so will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Touring to Platform, Glasgow (19  to 20 September 2017); An Lanntair, Stornoway (23 to 26 September 2017); McPhail Centre, Ullapool (26 September 2017); Mill Theatre, Thurso ( 28 September 2017); Forres Town Hall (30 September 2017); Macrobert Memorial Hall, Tarland (3 October 2017); Portsoy Church Hall, Aberdeenshire (4 October 2017); Aberdeen Arts Centre (5 October 2017); Mount Vernon Community Centre, Glasgow (7 October 2017); Byre Theatre, St Andrews (9 to 10 October 2017); Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock (13 October 2017), Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling (14 October 2017); Sauchie Hall, Alloa (16 October 2017); Falkirk Town Hall (17 October 2017); Paisley Arts Centre (20 October to 21 October 2017)

Opening press performance on 23 September 2017 at 5.30pm at An Lanntair, Stornoway.

On sale info: Full tour and ticket information available at

Join the conversation: #RocketPost

Tour listings Scotland

Platform, Glasgow (preview)

19 September 2017,  7.00pm  20 September 2017, 10.30am, 7.00pm

Tickets: £8/£4 Box Office: Platform, Glasgow, 0141 276 9696

An Lanntair, Stornoway

23 September 2017, 2.00pm, 5.30pm

Tickets: £7/£5/£20 family of four Box Office: An Lanntair, Stornoway, 01851 708 480

McPhail Centre, Ullapool

26 September 2017, 6.30pm

Tickets: £6/£4 Box Office: 08444 771 000

Mill Theatre, Thurso

28 September 2017, 7.00pm

Tickets: £10/£6 Box Office: 08444 771 000

Findhorn Bay Arts (Forres Town Hall), Forres

30 September 2017, 3.00pm, 6.30pm

Tickets: £10/£8/£25 family of four Box Office: 08444 771 000

Macrobert Memorial Hall, Tarland

3 October 2017, 7.00pm

Tickets: £8/£4/£25 family of four Box Office: Premier Stores, Tarland 01339 880060

Portsoy Church Hall, Aberdeenshire

4 October 2017, 7.30pm

Tickets: £7/£4 Box Office: The Ice Cream Shop, Portsoy 01261 843006

Aberdeen Arts Centre, Aberdeen

5 October 2017, 6.00pm

Tickets: £10/£7 Box Office: Aberdeen Arts Centre 01224 635208

Mount Vernon Community Centre, Glasgow

7 October 2017, 3.00pm, 7.00pm

Tickets: £8/£4/£21 family of four Box Office: 08444 771 000

Byre Theatre, St Andrews

9 October 2017, 7.00pm

10 October 2017, 1.30pm, 7.00pm

Tickets: £10/£8/£25 family of 4/£5 schools Box Office: Byre Theatre, St Andrews 01334 475000

Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

13 October 2017, 4.30pm

Tickets: £7/£24 family of four Box Office: Eastwood Theatre, Giffnock 0141 577 4956

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling

14 October 2017, 11.30am, 2.15pm

Tickets: £8.50/£30 wee group saver Box Office: Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling 0141 577 4956

Sauchie Hall, Alloa

16 October 2017, 6.30pm

Tickets: £10/£5 Box Office: 08444 771 000

Falkirk Town Hall

17 October 2017, 6.30pm

Tickets: £5 Box Office: Falkirk Community Trust 01324 590900

Paisley Arts Centre

20 October 2017, 2.30pm

21 October 2017, 2.30pm

Tickets: £6/£4 Box Office: Paisley Arts Centre 0300 300 1210

Workshops will be available at Platform, Glasgow (16 September 2017, 11-12.30pm); An Lanntair, Stornoway (23 September 2017, 12-1.30pm, 3.30-5pm); McPhail Centre, Ullapool (25 September 2017, 6-7.30pm); Mill Theatre, Thurso (27 September 2017,4.30-5.30pm/6.30pm, 6-7.30pm/8pm); Forres Town Hall (30 September 2017, 11-12.30pm, 1-2.30pm); Macrobert Memorial Hall, Tarland (2 October 2017, 4.30-6pm, 6-7.30pm, 3 October 2017, 6-7.30pm, 6.30-8pm); Portsoy Church Hall, Aberdeenshire (4 October 2017, 4.30-6pm, 5.30-7pm); Abderdeen Arts Centre (5 October 2017, 4-5.30pm); Mount Vernon Community Centre, Glasgow (6 October 2017, 4-5.30pm, 6-7.30pm); Byre Theatre, St Andrews (9 October 2017, 4.30-6pm, 10 October 2017, 11-12.30pm); Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock (13 October 2017, 2.30-4pm), Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling (14 October 2017, 9.45-11.15am, 12.30-2pm); Sauchie Hall, Alloa (15 October 2017, 3-4.30pm); Falkirk Town Hall (15 October 2017, 10.30-12pm); Paisley Arts Centre (20 October 2017, 12.30-2pm, 21 October 2017, 12.30-2pm).

National Theatre of Scotland press contacts:

Emma Schad – head of press –

Tel: +44 (0)227 9016 M: +44 (0)7930 308018

Joe Blythe – press officer –

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9497 M: +44 (0) 7500 258404

You can follow the National Theatre of Scotland’s press office on Twitter @NTS_press


Creative biographies

Ailie Cohen, set and costume designer on Rocket Post

Ailie Cohen is a puppeteer, maker, illustrator and designer. Previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes A Sheep Called Skye. Other theatre credits include I Vant to be Alone, Rumplestiltskin (Fairytale Laundry); Jazz Mouse; The New Not New; Cloud Man and The Secret Life of Suitcases touring internationally to Australia, Singapore, and the Lincoln Centre New York later this year.  Ailie has also created The Man Who Planted Trees (Puppetstate Theatre Company); Cupboard of Surprises (National Theatre); Museum of Dreams (Tag and Citizens Theatre) and The Shape of Things (Starcatchers, Branar Theatre Company Galway).  She has also made puppets for Grid Iron, Vanishing Point, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Citizens Theatre and Visible Fictions.

Kane Husbands, movement director on Rocket Post

Kane Husbands is a theatre director specialising in movement, physical theatre and choreography. He has his own company, The PappyShow, and is an associate for National Youth Theatre and Squint Theatre. He was part of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and 2016/17 Re:Bourne, Overture cohort. In 2012, and 2014, Kane choreographed the London Olympic, Paralympic and Glasgow Commonwealth Team Welcoming Ceremonies. Kane has choreographed dance-theatre pieces that have toured China, directed mass-ensemble site-specific performances and developed regional community theatre performances. Kane has worked with National Theatre, Old Vic New Voices, MAC Birmingham, Sheffield Crucible, SCOOP Outdoor Theatre, Rose Bruford College, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, National Youth Theatre, King Abdulaziz Centre  for World Culture, National Theatre Scotland and Tricycle Theatre amongst others.

Lewis Hetherington – writer/director of Rocket Post

Lewis is a Glasgow-based playwright and theatre maker whose work is rooted in collaboration and storytelling. His previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes Instructions for Butterfly Collectors (Traverse) and The Archivist (Oran Mor). As associate of Analogue he co-wrote Mile End and Beachy Head, and wrote the Fringe First-winning 2401 Objects; a co-production with Oldenburg  Staatstheater. Most recently, with Hannah Barker, he wrote and directed Stowaway for the company. With Catrin Evans he wrote and directed Leaving Planet Earth for Grid Iron, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival. Other theatre credits include: 5 (National Youth Theatre) The Fragmented Life of Dorothy Lawrence (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Instructions for Butterfly Collectors (National Theatre of Scotland at the Traverse Theatre), Bodies Unfinished (Grey Swan, Brockley Jack), A Perfect Child and Sea Change (Oran Mor), Friends Electric (Visible Fictions), Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks (Platform), Secret Life of Suitcases (Unicorn) and Cloud Man (created with Ailie Cohen) which is currently touring internationally.

Michael John McCarthy – composer on Rocket Post

Michael John is a Cork-born, Glasgow-based composer and musician. He has previously worked with the National Theatre of Scotland on The Tin Forest, In Time o’ Strife, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Reasons To Dance, Truant, 99…100, Dolls and Transform Dumfries. Recent music for performance includes Under Milk Wood (Tron Theatre), Glory (Janice Parker Projects), The BFG (Dundee Rep) The Drowning Pond (Youth Music Theatre UK) and The Winter’s Tale(People’s Light and Theatre Co., Philadelphia). He has also worked with The Arches, Citizens Theatre, Kai Fischer, Grid Iron, Lung Ha’s, macrobert, Platform, Playgroup, AJ Taudevin, Theatre Uncut, Utter and Vox Motus. As a musician, he has played accordion and guitar with Zoey Van Goey, RM Hubbert, Lord Cut-Glass, Jo Mango, Aidan Moffat, Alasdair Roberts, Trembling Bells and Bonnie Prince Billy amongst others.

Cast biographies

Ceit Kearney – Morag and Ensemble

Ceit trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Her previous work with National Theatre of Scotland includes Tall Tales for Small People and Calum’s Road (both with Communicado). Other recent theatre work includes Game’s a Bogey; Cinderella and The Caucasion Chalk Circle (The Company); MacBeth; As You Like It; Love’s Labour’s Lost and Hansel and Gretel (Grid); What the Butler Saw; This Property is Condemmed and The Ballad of the Sad Café (Theatre Factory); Richard’s Cork Leg (The Arches); Bonny Prince Charlie and Sleeping Beauty (Hopscotch); Blood Wedding (Annexe); An Gaisgeach (Invisible Bouncers); Rent Strike – the Battle of Govan (Cran). Her television work includes: Machair; Speaking Our Language; Journey to Iona; Into Action; The Jacobites; Looking for Elizabeth; PC Alastair Stewart and Gladys. Film roles include: Mairi Mhor; The Soldier’s Leap; An Iobairt/The Sacrifice and Half Light. Ceit is also a qualified drama teacher.

Christina Gordon – Uilleam and Ensemble

Christina trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Theatre credits include: Glory on Earth (Edinburgh Lyceum); Witness for the Prosecution; The Witches; Midsummer; The Cheviot the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (Dundee Rep); Still Game: Live 2 (Phil McIntyre) The Music of AR Rahman (BBC SSO); Aladdin (Glasgow Rep) Our House; West Side Story and Godspell (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Film and TV credits include: Last Night Stand (DFTV); Victoria’s Secret (Tripswitch Productions); Traffic Lights (Breaking Point Flix); 12 Hours (SHMU) and Fake it Til’ You Make it (LoneLara).

Gavin Swift – Gerhard and Ensemble

Gavin trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre credits include Ariel in the Tempest(Stafford Festival Shakespeare); Scroooge!, The Importance of Being Earnest, Improbable Fictionand A Little Night Music (Pitlochry Festival Theatre); The Last Mermaid (Wales Millennium Centre); The Witches (Dundee Repertory Theatre); War Horse (National Theatre); We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (Kenny Wax Ltd) and Dancing At Lughnasa (Tobacco Factory.) Film credits include Excalibur Rising (Tornado Films) and The Fold (The Electric Shadow Company). Other credits include Brooding (Music video for Strange Boy). Alongside acting Gavin works as a musician providing backing vocals for Charlotte Church in Late Night Pop Dungeon.

Harry Ward  – Dombrowski and Ensemble

Harry is an actor and musician from Glasgow. His previous work for the National Theatre of Scotland includes the Elgin MacBeth and The Tin Forest. He has worked with various theatre companies throughout Britain including Òran Mór, Vox Motus, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Company Chordelia, Cumbernauld Theatre, Scottish Opera, Opera North, English National Opera, Mull Theatre, Lyceum Edinburgh, Arches, Tron, Glasgow, Perth Theatre, Visible fictions, Citizens Theatre and Eden Court. Film and television credits include Taggart, High Times, Still Game, Snoddy and Waterloo Road. Radio credits include Dr Finlay’s Casebook and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

 MJ Deans – Bellag and Ensemble

MJ Deans graduated from Motherwell College with a first class honours degree in Acting.  Her previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes Whisky Galore. Other recent theatre credits include Hansel & Gretel (FnG); Fantom (White Stag Theatre); Henry V (Bard in the Botanics) and Angus Weaver of Grass (Horse and Bamboo). Her television credits include Million Dollar American Princesses and An Gille Fortanach.

Notes to editors:

The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well as creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally and works constantly to develop new talent.

Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.

Mackie’s of Scotland has been farming at Westertown farm since 1912 and is now a well-known Scottish food brand. Mackie’s were formerly a milk retail company and in 1986 began making ice cream. Mackie’s ice cream is now firmly established as one of the UK’s most popular take-home ice creams, and we are continually seek new ideas or ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ for the business and brand development. We are committed to continual innovation and improvement, over the years we have created several innovative and award winning products.


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