Media Release: Belong 2015 theatre season continues with play based on Alan Warner’s The Sopranos

5th and 6th year pupils at Oban High School Photo Peter Dibdin

National Theatre of Scotland presents



THE National Theatre of Scotland will travel throughout Scotland, and beyond, to Newcastle, Japan and Michigan from July to December 2015, with a programme of new work and revivals including three productions at the Edinburgh Festivals.

This continuation of the Belong season includes the world premiere of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, adapted by Lee Hall from Alan Warner’s novel, The Sopranos, directed by Vicky Featherstone, in a co-production with Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne; the revival of popular award-winning National Theatre of Scotland shows, and two new community productions in Forres and Wigtown.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s book strand continues with adaptations, from the faithful to the radical, of A Christmas Carol, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Sopranos and a literary collaboration with the Scottish Book Trust and Wigtown Book Festival.

Laurie Sansom, artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, says: “Most of us want to belong. The bosom of the family might make us feel safe, or like running to the hills. Sometimes it’s not always easy to fit in.

“The embrace of community can protect and it can stifle.

“Our Belong season continues as we celebrate and emotionally navigate the tumultuous worlds of teen tribes.

“A group of Catholic school girls from Oban takes the trip of a lifetime to Edinburgh; we experience their tribal loyalties and the unique joy of friendship and rebellion that only teenage years can bring. In the exquisite Dragon, a teenage boy in Garnethill, Glasgow struggles to find his place in the world following the death of his mother, finding solace in extraordinary friends.

“We are thrilled to welcome communities in Findhorn and Dumfries to share stories of journeys they have undertaken, to escape and invent new identities.

“Young people will be a vital and vocal part of our audiences this season.”

July to December 2015 in brief

  •  Parco Productions reinvent the National Theatre of Scotland’s Macbeth, directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg, for a Japanese audience, featuring a performance from one of Japan’s finest actors, Kuranosuke Sasaki. Touring Japan from 12 July to 29 August 2015.
  • Lee Hall and Vicky Featherstone bring to exuberant life Alan Warner’s novel about teenage exploits in Oban. Lee Hall lovingly adapts from cult novel The Sopranos and Vicky Featherstone returns to direct Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, in a National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre co-production. Premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at the Traverse Theatre, from 18 August, before touring Scotland and to Live Theatre, Newcastle until 24 October 2015. A world premiere.
  •  Vox Motus’s theatrical spectacle Dragon is back by popular demand, playing at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Citizens’ Theatre and Dundee Rep Theatre, in a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Arts Theatre. Glasgow and Dundee performances are supported by the ScottishPower Foundation. At the Edinburgh International Festival from 14 to 16 August and touring to 17 October 2015.
  •  Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Stewart Laing’s unique celebration of a forgotten Scottish maverick theatre-maker. The production returns to Scotland at the Edinburgh International Festival, at the Queen’s Hall (19 to 22 August 2015).
  •  To Begin has truly begun. Communities in Findhorn and Wigtown are coming on board to share their stories to help a team of National Theatre of Scotland artists craft two new shows for audiences in Forres and Wigtown, led by associate director, Simon Sharkey, alongside Davey Anderson and Claire Halleran. Presented in association with Scottish Book Trust and supported by Findhorn Bay Culture Day and Wigtown Book Festival, from 25 Sep to 4 Oct 2015.



A National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre co-production


based on The Sopranos by Alan Warner, adapted by Lee Hall.


Touring to the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Fife, Inverness, Musselburgh and Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne.

From 18 August to 24 October 2015, with an opening performance on 19 August 2015

Directed by Vicky Featherstone, Music Supervisor, Martin Lowe; Designed by Chloe Lamford, Lighting Design by Lizzie Powell.

Cast to be confirmed.

National Theatre of Scotland is thrilled to be presenting the world premiere of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, at the Traverse Theatre, in a co-production with Live Theatre. Based on The Sopranos by cult Scottish novelist Alan Warner, and adapted for the stage by award-winning writer Lee Hall, Our Ladies… also marks Vicky Featherstone’s return to the National Theatre of Scotland. Vicky Featherstone was the inaugural artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland and is now the artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre, London.

The show will open at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 19 August 2015 for its Edinburgh Festival Fringe run, before touring to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Fife, Perth, Musselburgh and Newcastle.

Adapted from Alan Warner’s brilliant novel about six girls on the cusp of change. Love, lust, pregnancy and death all spiral out of control in a single day. Warner’s blisteringly funny dialogue ends in fireworks (literally). Warner, whose 1995 debut novel, Morvern Callar, became a literary phenomenon, continues his themes of being young, lost and out of control in this musical play about losing your virginity and finding yourself.

With a soundtrack of classical music and 70s pop rock, featuring music by Handel, Bach and ELO, Our Ladies… is an outrageous piece of new music theatre with Tony-winning Martin Lowe (Once) as music supervisor.

Vicky Featherstone returns to the National Theatre of Scotland for the first time since her appointment as artistic director at the Royal Court Theatre, to collaborate  with Lee Hall, (Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot and The Pitmen Painters), to create a funny, sad and raucously rude production about singing, sex and sambuca.

Alan Warner wrote The Sopranos in 1998, followed by its sequel The Stars in the Bright Sky which was long listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize. He has written eight novels and is best known for Movern Callar which was made into a film starring Samantha Morton in 2002. His most recent novel is Their Lips Talk of Mischief, published by Faber in 2014.

Lee Hall says: “I am delighted to be working for the first time with the National Theatre of Scotland. This is a project I’ve wanted to bring to the stage since I first read the book 17 years ago.

“Alan Warner’s view of the world chimed so much with my own experience of growing up in Newcastle so it seemed a perfect project to work on as a co-production with Live Theatre where I have a very long association.

“I think the Scots and Geordies share a common understanding of the world. A robust sense of humour, an appetite for a good time and a lack of pretension about what art should be.

“The Sopranos is filthy, manic, hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure – all the things I think theatre should be. Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is a show full of music from the most exquisite classical choral pieces to foot stomping disco classics and much else in between.

“This is a very special show and very much a labour of love for Vicky Featherstone and I who have been working on this for several years now.”

Vicky Featherstone, director, says: “I am beyond thrilled that Alan Warner has trusted Lee Hall with his game-changing novel about the Soprano’s from Oban and am honoured that Laurie Sansom has programmed this anarchic, heart-breaking and life-filled show.

“It is everything that Scotland is – fearless, hopeful, musical, angry, unique and I cannot wait to be back telling this story with the National Theatre of Scotland.”

Alan Warner says: “I am flattered that The National Theatre of Scotland and talents like Lee and Vicky are taking on these young loonies, who are dear to my heart. Enjoy it, everyone.”

Max Roberts, artistic director, Live Theatre, says: “Live Theatre has enjoyed a long and fruitful creative relationship with Lee Hall so we are delighted to collaborate with National Theatre of Scotland in this co-production of his adaptation of The Sopranos by Alan Warner.

“I’m sure our audiences will be thrilled to see Lee’s latest work and will extend a warm Tyneside welcome to the company for the play’s English premiere.”

Tour Dates:  Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, (18 to 30 August); Tron Theatre, Glasgow (8 to 12 September); Lemon Tree, Aberdeen (15 and 16 September); One Touch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness  (18 to 19 September);  Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, Fife (22 and 23 September); The Brunton, Musselburgh (September 25 and 26); Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne (1 to 24 October).

 Join the conversation: #OurLadies


A National Theatre of Scotland production

in association with Scottish Book Trust


Two new productions inspired by real-life journey stories, created with the people of Wigtown and Forres

Supported by Wigtown Book Festival and Findhorn Bay Culture Day

Two new promenade productions, weaving together real-life stories of dramatic journeys – physical and emotional – will be performed in the vibrant rural arts communities of Wigtown and Forres, as part of the Wigtown Book Festival (25 Sep – 4 Oct 2015) and Findhorn Bay Culture Day (26 Sep 2015) programmes.

Inspired by Scottish Book Trust’s Journeys nationwide storywriting challenge, the new shows will be directed by National Theatre of Scotland associate director, Simon Sharkey (The Tin Forest, Jump, 99…100).

The creative team includes dramaturg Davey Anderson (Enquirer, Black Watch, Transform Orkney) and designer Claire Halleran (The Tin Forest, Reasons to Dance, Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams).

Between May and August 2015, National Theatre of Scotland theatre artists will host a series of colourful story-sharing events, including: building a giant osprey nest for a storytelling session; an interactive café event, where guests choose from a menu of conversation; a series of drop-in coffee-for-a-story exchanges; specially positioned postboxes around town for anonymous story deposits; and creative suitcase-packing challenges.

To Begin… director, Simon Sharkey, says: “We’ve started looking for stories about journeys  in Wigtown and Forres, to create two special piecesof theatre.

“Physical journeys or emotional journeys; stories about preparing to leave or waiting to arrive; the people you leave behind or the people you might yet meet; returning a hero or with your tail between your legs; love and escape; leaving to start a new chapter in life or returning home to settle down.

“These two towns are full of stories about journeys – and journeys make for great theatre. ”

Scottish Book Trust head of Reader Development, Philippa Cochrane, says: “Scottish Book Trust is delighted to be working in collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland on this fascinating project.

“We know that Scots like to travel and always have. So we hope that this project will generate lots of personal stories about journeys that are notable in some way.

“These might include real journeys, good, bad, funny or touching, or stories in turn about internal journeys of health or transformation. Scottish Book Trust will gather a selection of stories into a book, to be distributed during Book Week Scotland 2015.

“It will no doubt create a fascinating picture of many different journeys taken by the people of Scotland, and the lasting effects those experiences have had on their lives.”

Join the conversation: #ToBegin



A PARCO production and National Theatre of Scotland production:


by William Shakespeare

Touring Japan from 12 July-29 August 2015

Performed by Kuranosuke Sasaki and directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted that its production of Macbeth is touring across Japan with performances in Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka, Kanagawa and Kitakyusyu.

It is being produced by Parco Theater with leading Japanese actor Kuranosuke Sasaki reprising Alan Cumming’s role. The original production premiered at Tramway, Glasgow in June 2012 before transferring to Lincoln Center Festival in New York in July 2012 and subsequently playing to 60,000 people on Broadway in 2013.

Kuranosuke Sasaki takes on all of Shakespeare’s characters, in a bold re-imagining of Shakespeare’s chilling tale of desire, ambition, and the supernatural. The production is set in a psychiatric unit and centres on a patient who is reliving the story of Macbeth.

CCTV cameras watch the patient’s every move and the white clinical walls of the unit come to life in a visually stunning multi-media theatrical experience, featuring a central virtuoso performance.

This will be the first time National Theatre of Scotland has presented work in Japan and continues the Company’s ongoing relationship with East Asian theatre companies and venues.

Previously, the National Theatre of Scotland has toured to China and South Korea, partnered with the National Theatre of China and co-produced with Tianjin People’s Arts Theatre.

Gen Sato, producer of Parco Theater, says: “It is our great honour and pleasure to present the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Macbeth to the audience in Japan this summer working together with Mr. Andrew Goldberg, his creative team and Japanese celebrated actor, Kuranosuke Sasaki.

“Prior to the rehearsal starting in June, we just finished workshops with Mr. Andrew Goldberg and Kuranosuke in Tokyo, which we found extremely productive and rewarding.

“We also held a press conference officially announcing this production and generated great expectation and excitement for this project seeing exceptionally large number of journalists attending.

“We would like to sincerely thank the producers and everyone at National Theatre of Scotland as well as Mr. Alan Cumming and Mr. John Tiffany for their extensive support. We strongly hope that our soulful performances of Macbeth will fascinate audiences here in Japan.”


A Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Arts Theatre co-production


Written by Oliver Emanuel, directed by Jamie Harrison and Candice Edmunds, design by Jamie Harrison, puppets design by Guy Bishop and Jamie Harrison, music by Tim Phillips, sound design by Mark Melville, lighting design by Simon Wilkinson

Cast includes: Scott Miller, Martin McCormick, Joanne McGuinness, Gavin Jon Wright, Zhang Kai and Tao Yan.

Touring to the Edinburgh International Festival, Glasgow and Dundee

Winner of the UK Theatre Award, Best Show for Children and Young People, Dragon is a spectacular piece of theatre, without words, for adults, teenagers and children.

The production is returning to Scotland, to play for three performances the Edinburgh International Festival Theatre.

Following the Festival, Dragon will run at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow and Dundee Rep Theatre, supported by the ScottishPower Foundation.

Created by the multi award-winning Vox Motus, the National Theatre of Scotland and  Tianjin Children’s Arts Theatre , Dragon won the hearts of audiences, and  critical acclaim through an extraordinary visual story, told without words, featuring puppetry, illusion and original music.

“One of those theatrical experiences that will live forever in the memory” The Observer

Vox Motus worked with puppet engineer Guy Bishop to build Dragon puppet prototypes from Jamie Harrison’s dragon designs. Harrison, Vox Motus’s co-artistic director, is the puppet and illusion designer for the highly-successful West End production, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Sam Mendes (Warner Brothers/Neal Street Productions). Dragon’s unique staging and design is influenced by the history and culture of Eastern dragons.

The story of Dragon is based on personal experiences and is written by Glasgow-based playwright, Oliver Emanuel, who wrote the acclaimed adaptation of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish for the National Theatre of Scotland and the internationally successful Titus (macrobert).

Original music is composed by Tim Phillips, co-artistic director of Filter Theatre. Tim has written music for a range of film and television productions including six seasons of Channel 4’s hit show, Shameless.

VOX MOTUS artistic directors, Jamie Harrison and Candice Edmunds, conceive, direct and design all Vox Motus’ productions. Previous productions include The Infamous Brothers Davenport, in co-production with the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh (2012); The Not-So-Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo (2011); Bright Black (2010) and the award-winning Slick (2008 – 2009 and 2013 ).

Dragon has won two awards to date. Best Technical Presentation: Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland 2013/14 and Best Show for Children and Young People: UK Theatre Awards 2014

Tour Dates:  Edinburgh International Festival: Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh (14 to 16 August); Citizens Theatre, Glasgow (1 to 10 October); Dundee Rep Theatre (14 to 17 October).

Join the conversation: #Dragon2015


The Edinburgh International Festival presents

An Untitled Projects, National Theatre of Scotland, Tramway and Summerhall co-production


Written by Pamela Carter, directed by Stewart Laing, performed by George Anton

Visual arts by Robbie Thompson and Jack Wrigley, cinematography by Christopher Doyle, lighting designed by Mike Brooks, research by Emilia Weber.

The year – 1987. The man – Paul Bright a radical young Scottish director. The vision – to stage James Hogg’s landmark novel Confessions of Justified Sinner in unusual locations across Scotland in an ambitious attempt to create a new form of debate.

The verdict – Untitled Projects are here to find out with this reconstruction of the all but forgotten theatrical feat.

Paul Bright’s Confessions of Justified Sinner is a uniquely theatrical experience that asks what remains of a performance when the last words have been said, the audience leaves and the actors have gone home.

This show and archive installation are a rich collection of memories, anecdotes, objects, photographs, filmed footage and interviews with theatre luminaries such as Tim Crouch, Giles Havergal, Katie Mitchell, Alison Peebles and Annie Griffin who share their memories of that period of history with us.

The whole project is a celebration of Scotland’s theatre-makers and unique theatre culture of the last 40 years.

Join us as we celebrate and share the forgotten life of Paul Bright and his radical work, which redefined Scottish theatre in the late 1980s.

“Laing and Carter’s work achieves a thrilling poetic intensity; and touches on something wild and self-destructive in Scotland and in the human spirit” **** The Scotsman

Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner premiered at Tramway, Glasgow in June 2013. The production subsequently played at Summerhall, Edinburgh, the Dublin Theatre Festival and Ystad Festival in Sweden.

Stewart Laing is a Tony award-winning director, designer and producer.

Projects for his company Untitled Projects include The Salon Project, where the audience were dressed in full 19th century costume every night for a provocative evening of music, talks, video and conversation. The Salon Project was presented in a co-production with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and played to sell-out audiences at the Barbican, London.

Other recent projects include An Argument About Sex by Pamela Carter in 2009, a response to Marivaux’s La Dispute by Pamela Carter and Slope in 2006 and 2014.

Edinburgh International Festival Dates:  The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (19 – 22 August)

Join the conversation: #JustifiedSinner


A National Theatre of Scotland production


By Charles Dickens

Adapted, directed and designed by Graham McLaren

Music composed by Jon Beales, puppets designed and made by Gavin Glover, sound designed by Matt Padden and lighting designed by Paul Claydon.

Cast includes: Stephen Clyde, Josh Elwell, Beth Marshall and Benny Young

Touring to Power Centre, Ann Arbor, Michigan from 17 December 2015 to 03 January 2016

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted that the company’s fabulous, festive offering, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is making its international debut, at Ann Arbor in Michigan.

Originally penned in 1843 as a novella, A Christmas Carol was an instant success and Dickens’ redemptive tale of Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, has long become an enduring Christmas favourite.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s production brings Dickens’ classic Christmas fable to life for contemporary audiences with sinister life-size puppets and live music, played out in an unique setting. This spooky and original reimagining is recommended for everyone aged eight and above.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s A Christmas Carol had its debut run in Govan Town Hall, Glasgow in 2011.

It garnered five star reviews, critical acclaim and two awards at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland ceremony 2012, in the categories of Best Ensemble and Best Production.

The show was remounted in December 2012 at Kirkcaldy Old Kirk, a ‘B’ listed parish church, where it enjoyed another sold out run and further praise from audiences and critics alike.

By turns delightfully comic and boldly grotesque, the National Theatre of Scotland’s first Christmas show deserves to be remembered as one of the classiest pieces of theatre to have been staged in Scotland, not only in the winter season, but at any time of year.”  ***** The Telegraph

 Join the conversation: #NTSChristmasCarol


Still to come from the National Theatre of Scotland in May and June 2015

May 2015

  •  A bold and riotous new comedy, adapted by popular Scottish playwright, Douglas Maxwell, set in a Scots-Italian family fish and chip shop, Yer Granny, is a new adaptation of Roberto Cossa’s La Nona, Argentina’s favourite play. Touring to large theatre stages from 19 May to 4 July 2015, visiting Greenock, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Belfast and Dundee. A world premiere.

June 2015

  •  Following the success of The James Plays, National Theatre of Scotland artistic director, Laurie Sansom, returns to the Scottish stage with his new version of Muriel Spark’s favourite novel, The Driver’s Seat, in a darkly comic production with award-winning set design from Ana Inés Jabares Pita, in Edinburgh and Glasgow from 13 June to 4 July 2015. A world premiere.



  1.  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 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.
  2.  Findhorn Bay Arts is a non-profit arts organisation based in the ancient market town of Forres in the heart of We are passionate about promoting this beautiful part of Scotland as a place for outstanding arts, through the delivery of high quality arts events and projects. Through events such as Culture Day and the biennial Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, we aim to showcase and nurture the creativity of the area’s residents, whilst attracting high quality artists and productions to the area. We are also proud to be part of Scotland’s National Youth Arts Strategy ‘Time to Shine’. IGNITE: Moray Youth Arts Hub aims to open up a range of exciting routes for children and young people to connect with creativity and explore arts in Moray. Find out more at
  3.  Live Theatre is recognised as one of the great new writing theatres on the international stage. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne it is also deeply rooted in its local community. Live Theatre produces work as varied and diverse as the audiences it engages with. As well as championing the art of writing for stage by producing and presenting new plays, Live Theatre uses theatre to unlock the potential of young people and finds, nurtures and trains creative talent. Through its creative enterprises it is also developing new models of business sustainability and growth. Founded in 1973, the theatre was transformed in 2007.  The result is a beautifully restored and refurbished complex of five Grade II listed buildings with state-of-the-art facilities in a unique historical setting, including a cabaret style theatre, a studio theatre, renovated rehearsal rooms, a series of dedicated writer’s rooms as well as a thriving café and bar.  For more information see
  4. Live Theatre is grateful for the support of Arts Council England and Newcastle City Council and our many other friends and supporters.
  5. Scottish Book Trust believes that books and reading have the power to change lives. We work with partners throughout the country to inspire, support and challenge the people of Scotland to fulfil their potential as readers and writers and celebrate reading in all its forms.

We give free books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.

We support teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and touring authors programme.

We work with adult learners to tackle social issues and increase literacy skills.

We nurture and challenge Scotland’s writing community by running training, mentoring and awards.

We fund a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promote Scottish writing to people worldwide.

Submissions to the Scottish Book Trust Journeys creative writing challenge can be made online at The closing date for entries is 30 June 2015.

6.  ScottishPower has a strong track record of supporting good causes and in May 2013 the ScottishPower Foundation was launched. The Foundation which was established to reinforce the company’s commitment to charitable work throughout Britain aims to make a significant and lasting contribution to society and enhance the quality of life in local communities. The new Foundation, which is a registered charity, will provide funds to support charitable organisations or not-for-profit organisations delivering initiatives that promote the advancement of education, environmental protection, citizenship and community development, arts, culture and science as well as the prevention of poverty or disadvantage.  ScottishPower Foundation supported the Autumn 2014 Scottish and UK tour of In Time o’Strife.

7.  Untitled Projects is a Glasgow-based theatre company formed in 1998 by Stewart Laing (artistic director). The company creates large-scale projects, blending landscape, biography, novel, video, lecture, music, documentary, installation, interview, science and playwriting. Recent pioneering Untitled Projects include Slope Redux, by Pamela Carter, a dual-purpose event presented live in a small studio theatre and simultaneously streamed online at every performance. Other previous projects include The Eye, Cain’s Book, The Salon Project and the original production of Slope in 2006.

8.  VOX MOTUS artistic directors, Jamie Harrison and Candice Edmunds, conceive, direct and design all Vox Motus’ productions. Often, their work is inspired by unbelievable true tales that delve into the bizarre, glorious, exhilarating and macabre. Previous productions include The Infamous Brothers Davenport, in co-production with the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh (2012); The Not-So-Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo (2011); Bright Black (2010) and the award-winning Slick (2008 – 2009).

9. Wigtown Book Festival’s mission is to produce the UK’s most vibrant book festival and develop the literary and cultural wealth of Scotland’s National Book Town and its region. In doing so, we will also deliver social and economic benefits for the people of our region. Our vision is that a prosperous and confident Wigtown will be nationally and internationally renowned for its annual book festival, and celebrated as a hub for literary and artistic activity and a destination for cultural tourism.



Stuart Angell- Performer in A Christmas Carol

Stuart has previously worked with the National Theatre of Scotland on A Christmas Carol in 2012.

Recent theatre work includes Before the Dawn (KT Fellowship), The Wind in the Willows and Travels with my Aunt (Royal and Derngate), Deadkidsongs (Bath Theatre Royal), Equus (London Classic Theatre), War Horse (National Theatre), Faeries (Royal Opera House/Blind Summit Theatre), A Respectable Wedding and Metamorphosis (ONO Theatre), Low Life (Blind Summit), The Thief of Baghdad (Royal Opera House) and The Masque of the Red Death (Blind Summit/Punchdrunk).

His film and television work includes London Road and Adventures on Orsum Island.

George Anton – Performer in Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner

George Anton trained at Drama Centre, London and now lives in Blairgowrie. George has worked extensively in film, TV and theatre. His most recent role was the lead in the critically acclaimed Titus Andronicus for Dundee Rep. George previously appeared at the EIF in Life Is A Dream and Hamlet, both directed by Calixto Bieito. George regularly collaborated with Calixto, and toured the world with theatre company Cheek By Jowl.

Stephen Clyde – Performer in A Christmas Carol

Stephen trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. His previous work for the National Theatre of Scotland includes The Tin Forest and A Christmas Carol in 2011 and 2012.

Other recent theatre work includes The Head in the Jar and Volpone (Òran Mór), Ulysses, Colquhoun and MacBryde and The Three Sisters (Tron Theatre), A Game of Soldiers (Joe McArdle Media Productions), Running on the Cracks (Pilot Theatre), As You Like It, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and The Merchant of Venice (Bard in the Botanics), Aladdin (Adam Smith Theatre) and Cria, Translations, Betrayel and The Last Yankee (Arches Theatre Company). His television and film work includes River City, The Old Guys, Taggart and Stone of Destiny.

Candice Edmunds – co-director of Dragon

Candice has co-created and directed Dragon, The Infamous Brothers Davenport, The Not-So-Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo, Bright Black, Slick, How to Steal a Diamond and Interference for Vox Motus. Candice also collaborates with Barrowland Ballet, and has co-directed A Conversation With Carmel  and The River (for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games cultural programme). She worked as creative consultant on Exhibition Road’s 2012 Olympic Festival in London. Candice is a mentor on the FST Step Up program.

Josh Elwell – performer in A Christmas Carol

Josh trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. He has previously worked with the National Theatre of Scotland on A Christmas Carol in 2011 and 2012.

Other previous theatre work includes Ragnarok (Eastern Angels), Great Expectations (Beckman Unicorn), We’re Going On a Bearhunt (Little Angel Theatre), Zingzillas Live (BBC Worldwide), Winnie the Witch (Watershed Productions), The Frog Princess (Wild Wood Theatre), Rags to Riches (Josh Elwell Theatre), Bird in the Hand and Puck’s Bottom (Josh Elwell and Company), Gastronomic (Hoodwink) and Far Above Rubies (The Besht Tellers).

He has also worked on television series such as Strangehill High, That Puppet Game Show, Zingzillas and Jim Henson’s Pajanimals, and on the recent feature film The Muppets…Most Wanted.

Oliver Emanuel – writer of Dragon

Oliver is a playwright based in Glasgow. He has written plays for most of the major theatres in Scotland as well as extensively for BBC Radio. Previous work for the National Theatre of Scotland includes The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish. Other recent theatre work includes Titus (Macrobert, Stirling). Forthcoming work includes: The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot and Prom (Macrobert, Stirling) and Albion Street (BBC Radio Scotland).

Vicky Featherstone – director of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Vicky is the artistic director at the Royal Court Theatre. In this role her directing credits have included Dennis Kelly’s The Ritual Slaughter of George Mastromas, Abi Morgan’s The Mistress Contract and Molly Davies’ God Bless the Child, and Zinnie Harris’ How To Hold Your Breath. She opened her first season at the Royal Court Theatre with Open Court – a festival of plays, ideas and events, chosen by over 140 writers. At National Theatre of Scotland, her credits included Enquirer (co-directed with John Tiffany), Appointment With The Wicker Man and 27. Vicky Featherstone was the inaugural artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland (2004 to 2013) and was previously artistic director of Paines Plough (1997 to 2004).

Lee Hall – adapter of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Lee was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1966. He studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge and has worked as a writer in theatre, TV, radio and film. He has been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne. Previous theatre work includes Shakespeare In Love (2014), Noel Coward Theatre (West End); The Pitmen Painters (2007- 2013), Live Theatre/ Royal National Theatre, Broadway, West End, UK tours (winner Evening Standard Best Play Award, TMA Best New Play Award); and Billy Elliot – the Musical, London 2004-, Australia 2006-7, Broadway, 2008-, Chicago, 2010 (Olivier Award – Best Musical, nine Tony Awards including Best Book). Film and television credits include War Horse (2011), DreamWorks; Toast (2010); and  Billy Elliot (2000), Working Title Films (Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay).

Jamie Harrison – co-director of Dragon

Jamie is co-artistic director of Vox Motus where he has co-directed, designed, illusion and puppet designed all of the company’s work to date. He co-wrote all the company’s work up to 2011. Jamie regularly works as a creative on outside productions, most recently on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical (Warner Brothers/Neal Street Productions) directed by Sam Mendes.

Stewart Laing – director of Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Stewart is one of Scotland’s leading directors and designers. His directing work includes The Maids, The Father, The She Wolf, A Long Day’s Journey into Night, Medea, The Pleasure Man and Dance of Death at the Citizens Theatre, Les Parents Terribles for Dundee Rep, Home: Stornoway for the National Theatre of Scotland and 10 Plagues for the Traverse Theatre. He has also designed and directed for opera in Scotland, UK and internationally.  Stewart received a 2002 Creative Scotland Award to research digital imagery in live performance. He has worked as a designer for companies such as La Scala, Milan, ENO, Scottish Opera, Opera North, RSC, Royal National Theatre, Royal Court, New York Shakespeare Festival and The Builders Association. He has also designed for the West End and Broadway, winning a Tony Award in 1997 for outstanding set design on the musical, Titanic.

Beth Marshal l- performer in A Christmas Carol

Beth trained at the L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris. Her previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes Rites, The James Plays (with Edinburgh International Festival /National Theatre of Great Britain) and A Christmas Carol.

Other theatre work includes The Tempest, As You Like It, Pericles, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, The Comedy of Errors, Othello (Bard in the Botanics), The Monster in the Hall, Peter Pan (Citizens, Glasgow), Six Black Candles (Goldfish Theatre Company), Tam O’Shanter (Perth Theatre), The Night Before Christmas (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), Fergus Lamont, Brave ( Communicado), Cyprus (Trafalgar Studios, London) and Macbeth, Whisky Galore, The Lonesome West, Jekyll and Hyde, Skylight, The Designated Mourner, Katie Morag, Kidnapped (Mull Theatre).

Her film and television credits include Taggart, River City, The Book Group, Retribution and the short films Snake Bite and Solid Geometry.

Martin McCormick – performer in Dragon

Martin trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. His previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes Peer Gynt (with Dundee Rep Ensemble) and, with Vox Motus, Bright Black. Other recent theatre work includes Takin’ over the Asylum (Royal Lyceum/Citizens, Glasgow), Cinderella (Royal Lyceum), I Tommy (Red Aye), Pass The Spoon (Magnetic North), Biding Time (Tromolo Productions), The Seven Year Itch (Random Accomplice), Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco, I was a Beautiful Day, Defender of the Faith (Tron,Glasgow), Beauty and the Beast (Eden Court), The Ching Room (Manchester Royal Exchange Studio), Decky Does a Bronco (Grid Iron), Gabriel (Òran Mór); Under My Skin (Paines Plough/Òran Mór); Yarn (Grid Iron/Dundee Rep) Romeo and Juliet and Jack and the Beanstalk (Dundee Rep).His television work includes Rebus, Taggart and Hollyoaks Later. Martin is on attachment to the Traverse Theatre as part of the Trav 50 and will have his work Potterrow performed as a rehearsed reading as part of the Write Now Festival.

Joanne McGuinness – performer in Dragon

Joanne studied at the Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre Arts. Her previous work for the National Theatre of Scotland includes Glasgow Girls.

Other recent work includes Peter Pan (Kings Theatre), Life Love and Liberty (Dumfries and Galloway Arts) I Will Survive, Company, Broadway in the Bar, Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Inside Out Productions) and Cinderella (Robert C Kelly Ltd). Joanne recently appeared in the film The Wee Man (Carnaby International) and a short film Zombie Musical (Haphazard Media, Black Camel Pictures).

Graham McLaren – director of A Christmas Carol

Graham is currently an associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland, for whom his shows include Yer Granny, The Tin Forest, In Time O’ Strife, A Doll’s House, A Christmas Carol (2011/2012) and Men Should Weep. Graham is a Glasgow-based theatre artist who has been making theatre for almost two decades. In that time, he has created work ranging from totally improvised and devised work to classical texts. He has made shows in London’s West End, ancient Greek amphitheatres, national theatres and festivals across the world. In 1994, he established the internationally acclaimed Theatre Babel, where he remained artistic director until 2008. In 2005, Graham was invited to join Perth Theatre, Scotland, as artistic and co-creative director; he remained with Perth Theatre until January 2008.

Scott Miller – performer in Dragon

Scott started his career with Scottish Youth Theatre and is currently training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He is returning to role of Tommy in Dragon which marked his professional debut in 2013. Other theatre work includes Don Quixote (Òran Mór), Rou, Weegie Board, Jerusalem: The Song of Deeds and Pinocchio (Scottish Youth Theatre), Porridge in the Morning (West End Theatre Company), Harm (University of Glasgow), The Pillowman (Aberdeen Performing Arts Young Company), Glasgow Passion (Cutting Edge Theatre Company), Days of Wine and Roses (Theatre Jezebel).

Kuranosuke Sasaki - performer in Macbeth

Kuranosuke Sasaki was born in Kyoto, Japan. While studying at Kobe University, he joined the theatre company ‘Wakusei Pistachio (Planet Pistachio)’ where he played an active part from 1990 to 1998. He extended his range of activities on TV dramas and movies and has played important roles in many works. In 2008, he created the theatre unit Team Saru. Recent theatre includes: Kabuki Production Super Kabuki II Sora wo Kizamumono (2014), The Shawshank Redemption (2014/2015), Hijyo no Hito, Nanizo Hijyoni (2013), Konbanwa Tosan (Good Evening, Father)(2012), Ghosts (2011). Awards: 17th Yomiuri Theatre Awards for his acting in Semaki Mon yori Haire, 47th Kinokuniya Theatre Awards for Konbanwa Tosan and in 2015, he was nominated by Japan Academy Awards for Best Actor for his movie, Cho Kosoku! Sankinkoutai.

Simon Sharkey – director of To Begin…

Simon Sharkey is associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland and part of the original team who brought the company to life back in 2006. Since then, he has created several large scale site specific productions the length and breadth of Scotland and has travelled the world with his distinctive approach to creating theatre with ordinary people in extraordinary settings. Previously he was director of Cumbernauld Theatre and International Cultural Leadership Fellow of the National Endowment of Science Technology and Arts. He has worked in the Middle East, Singapore and the Caribbean and serves on the board of Arts and Business. Recent work includes co-creator of The Tin Forest, the National Theatre of Scotland’s large-scale, site specific project in Glasgow’s 2014 Cultural Programme

Yan Tao – performer in Dragon

Yan is an actor and director. Yan was trained in classical dance, and is artistic director of Naughty Baby Theatre Studio. Her theatre credits include The Wizard of Oz, Three Little Pigs, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp and Pinocchio.

Alan Warner – author of The Sopranos, adapted as Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Alan was born in Oban in 1964 and grew up there. He is the author of eight novels including Morvern Callar which was made into a film starring Samantha Morton in 2002, These Demented Lands, The Man Who Walks, The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven, The Stars in the Bright Sky which was longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and The Deadman’s Pedal which won the 2013 James Tait Black Prize. His latest novel is Their Lips Talk of Mischief, published by Faber in 2014. His novel The Sopranos, upon which this production is based, was first published in 1998.

Gavin Jon Wright – performer in Dragon

Gavin trained at Coatbridge College. His previous work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes Dragon and Black Watch. Other theatre credits include Ulysses (Tron, Chinese Tour), Titus, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella (MacRobert, Stirling), Miracle on 34 Parnie Street,  Scenes Unseen (Tron, Glasgow), A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity (Traverse/59 East 59 Theatres New York), Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Whisky Galore! – A Musical!, Servant of Twa Maisters (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Decky Does a Bronco (Grid Iron), Spring Awakening (Grid Iron/Traverse, Edinburgh), Cinderella (Cumbernauld Theatre) and various productions at at Òran Mor.

His television work includes Taggart, Still Game, Lip Service and Dear Green Place.

Benny Young – performer in A Christmas Carol

Benny’s previous work for the National Theatre of Scotland includes 27, The Wheel, Be Near Me and Six Characters in Search of an Author. Other theatre credits include The Grapes of Wrath (Chichester), The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer (Tron/Traverse), Six Acts of Love, The Drawer Boy (Tron), Night Time (Traverse), Hughie (Arches), The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, Hobson’s Choice (The Touring Consortium), The Iceman Cometh (Old Vic) and seasons with the National Theatre, London, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

Television work includes Scottish Killers, Waking The Dead: Sins of The Father, Spooks, Talk to Me, Taggart, Coronation Street, Boon, Playing the Field, The Kid in the Corner, The Funny Man, The Bill, Between The Lines, Doctor Finlay, Family Affairs and Tell Tale Hearts.

Film work includes Chariots of Fire, Out of Africa and White Nights.

Zhang Kai – performer in Dragon

Kai is an actor, puppeteer and director from Tianjin People’s Art Theatre in China. He is the artistic director of Peter Pan Puppet Theatre Company. His acting and directing credits include Records of the Three Kingdoms (a China-Japan co-production); Pinocchio and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.


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The National Theatre of Scotland has commissioned a photographic essay from Pete Dibdin around the theme of Belonging. Working with photographer Peter Dibdin, we met representatives of some of Scotland’s communities.

Each group portrait reflects one of the productions or stories to be told in our Belong Season.

You can view the images here.

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