Media release: Fresh from a Fringe Festival run, musical triumph now headed for The Gaiety, Ayr


Sold-out at the Edinburgh International Festival 2021, Shona the Musical Choir comes fresh from a Fringe Festival run to The Gaiety at Ayr

BASED in Edinburgh, the choir sings original songs from African composer and playwright, Neo Vilakazi, who lives and works in Scotland. Shona, as Scottish a name as you can find, is also a tribal name in Zimbabwe.

The choir’s music and narrative is based on a fictional journey of a young African man sent to Edinburgh for education where he meets and marries a local lass. In this critically-acclaimed performance, the voices of Africa and Scotland blend together in the richest of harmonies akin to those of ‘The Lion King’, ‘Ladysmith Black Mambazo’ or Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’.

Neo Vilakazi says: “This story and music is inspired by real events and the socio-political turmoil of Robert Mugabe’s rule of Zimbabwe as well as elements of my own experience of life in South Africa and Scotland.  This is not a typical choir rendition as we have merged song and dance with new technology by integrating digital projection into our colourful performance.”

Jeremy Wyatt, chief executive of The Gaiety, says: “I’ve been finding ways to support Neo as he’s developed this show for four years or more and I’m really excited we are now able to bring it to The Gaiety. Especially given the great audience feedback and five-star reviews it garnered at the Edinburgh Festival last year.”

Performed by talented artists, the vocals, dancing and acting have been described as “simply stunning” (The Scotsman).

“Vilakazi’s lyrics and composition is varied, joyous and breathtaking. Each piece of music has its own energy and is met with equal praise by the audience’s echoing applause” (5* Musical Theatre Review)

Shona the Musical Choir is only on for one performance: Thursday 25th August, 7.30pm at The Gaiety, Carrick Street, Ayr.

Don’t miss this five-star star show – chosen by as one of its top ten shows to see this August – hurry and get your tickets NOW from or tel: 01292 288 235 or in-person at the Box Office!

More details, including dates and locations of other performances this year, are at Suitable for ages 12+.


Notes for editors:

To book review tickets for this show please contact The Gaiety Press Office
Chris Duffy, marketing assistant:  T: 07706 234527  E:

Photo credits – available on request if not supplied already

Main poster image ‘Queens of Africa’ – copyright Neo Productions

Marketing contact details:

Neo Vilakazi – email:; tel: 0775 1789 464

Mhairi Gray – email:

Creative team:

Neo Vilakazi - lyricist, script, composer and artistic director

Ramcise Modie (DJ Ramsy) – co-composer/musical producer

Morgan Njobo – co-composer

Tilly Letsholo – choir leader

Declan Randall - production design

Siphosethu Gojo and Mthetheleli Dlakavu – joint choreographers

Neo Productions is an Edinburgh-based, multi-cultural theatre company limited by guarantee (SC266951). The company was established in 2004, to give people from the black and minority ethnic (BAME) population of Scotland opportunities to develop their on-stage and back-stage skills and to promote work by black and minority ethnic artists.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

Further information at Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at Tour dates in Ayr, Inverness, Perth and Aberdeen are supported by Creative Scotland funding.

The Gaiety Theatre Built in 1902, The Gaiety is a category B-listed performing arts venue. After a forced closure in 2009 the theatre re-opened in 2012 under Ayr Gaiety Partnership’s management with the vision to re-energise the performing arts in South Ayrshire. The Gaiety’s £2.4 million refurbishment was completed in September 2016.

Most of The Gaiety’s core income comes from ticket sales and rental from the Stage Door restaurant. Over the last five years, Ayr Gaiety Partnership has created well over 30 jobs directly, supported up to 100 training places a year and made an economic impact of around £1.8 million to Ayr each year.

Gaiety outreach projects for young people and older people with dementia along with partnerships with Ayrshire College and University of the West of Scotland have involved more than 7,000 people over the last three years. The Gaiety is run with a small staff team of ten and supported by a significant volunteer effort, valued at between £250,000 to £300,000 a year.

Shona the Musical Choir 2022 performance dates

Edinburgh – Pleasance @ EICC/Edinburgh International Conference Centre – 10-14 August

Ayr – Gaiety Theatre – 25 August

Inverness – Eden Court – 15 September

Perth – Horsecross/Perth Concert Hall – 16 September

Aberdeen – Music Hall – 17 September

It is also touring to:

London – Hackney Empire – 17-19 October

Buxton – Opera House – 22 October

Mote dates and venues may be still added – visit for updates or contact us!

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Contact: Fiona Campbell
Phone: 07951918366