Hit Scottish musical Sunshine on Leith coming to Theatre Antigonish

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ANTIGONISH – A foot-stomping, award-winning musical from Scotland is coming to Theatre Antigonish.

Sunshine on Leith is a vibrant, energetic piece of musical theatre, loved by audiences and critics alike. First produced in 2007 by the Dundee Rep Ensemble in Scotland, the show won the UK Theatre Award for Best Musical that year, and has toured the globe several times since. It also had a successful film adaptation in 2013. Written by Stephen Greenhorn, the play features the foot-stomping songs of The Proclaimers.

Sunshine on Leith follows the highs and lows of servicemen Ally and Davy as they search for normality after returning home to Scotland from a tour in Afghanistan. Families, friendships, and relationships are not all plain sailing in this funny and moving musical story about love and life. Ally’s marriage proposal is rejected by his childhood sweetheart, a disillusioned nurse who moves to the US to seek career fulfilment instead. Davy gets a job in a call centre while his parents feud over the discovery of his father’s past infidelity. Both young men struggle with questions about home, identity, language, love, and displacement. At the heart of this uplifting story is a simple question: Would you walk 500 miles for the one you love?

The Proclaimers are a world-renowned Scottish music duo composed of twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid. Best known for their euphoric songs like “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” and “Sunshine on Leith”, their music is timeless, capturing a gamut of human emotions, and written with poignancy, emotional honesty, political fire, and wit.

Sunshine on Leith begins with a Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance on March 5 and opening night on  March 6. Performances will take place daily until  March 10. All shows begin at 7:30 pm, with doors opening at 7 pm. The show is directed by artistic director Andrea Boyd, and the music is directed by Emery van de Wiel. Set and lighting design is by Ian Pygott and costume design by Martha Palmer. The large cast includes a mix of community members and StFX students, some of whom are veterans of the Bauer stage and some who are new to the joy of acting.

Actor/singer Laura Teasdale and radio personality Ken Kingston are among the cast members with principal roles. “I have loved this musical for years,” says Teasdale. “It is small but mighty; very funny, but truly touching and so cleverly written … I am a huge Proclaimers fan and this music…well every song is a hit and we are rockin’ it.  So much fun!”

Kingston, who has also been on the Bauer stage many times before says, “One of the reasons I auditioned for the show was I’ve never performed in a musical on stage before … The story also intrigued me, set in Scotland not that long ago. My maternal grandmother was originally from Scotland and I thought it would be just an interesting story to do. And of course there’s music from The Proclaimers.  I’m also excited to be working alongside Laura Teasdale, who plays my wife Jean in the show, a true honour. I’ve learned so much from her about the craft of acting.”

Advance tickets are on sale now – online at tickets.festivalantigonish.com or by phone at (902) 867-3333.

After the performance on March 8 there will be a special panel discussion, sponsored by the Nova Scotia Department of Gaelic Affairs, focused on the theme of language and identity. Moderated by Dr. Michael Linkletter, panelists will include Lewis MacKinnon, Mairi Britton, Carol-Anne Mackenzie, and Mairi MacCarron. Admission to the panel discussion is free.

Now in its 44th year, Theatre Antigonish is a professionally-led community theatre organization, offering high quality productions at the Bauer Theatre during the fall and winter months. As a non-profit organization, Theatre Antigonish brings together StFX students and members of the local community to work together on all aspects of the plays, including acting, designing, set-building, sound and light, and promotions. For more information, contact tickets@stfx.ca, call (902) 867-3333, or visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/TheatreAntigonish.