Scottish Theatre Highlights: July 2019

Get warmed up for the Fringe with July's theatre picks

Article by Eliza Gearty | 28 Jun 2019
  • Dancers from Project Y 2018

Wanting to get your theatre on before the Edinburgh Fringe whirlwind hits? Or are you off on holiday during August and worried you’ll be missing out? Don’t fret: there’s some great shows to catch in July, and we’ve sourced them especially for you. 

In Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest Shakespeare festival, Bard in the Botanics, continues throughout July with its exhilarating Muse of Fire programme; featuring As You Like It (26 Jun-13 Jul), a brand new production of Henry V (27 Jun-13 Jul), Hamlet starring Nicole Cooper (18 Jul-3 Aug) and Richard III (18 Jul-3 Aug). The Scottish Premiere of Marius von Mayenburg’s play The Ugly One is taking place at the Tron Theatre this month – a comedy about the inventor of a new electric plug who is told he is too ugly to sell his product, which sounds like a savagely dark and funny take-down of consumerist culture (6-20 Jul). 

Fun, family-friendly shows include the musical version of Little Miss Sunshine at the Kings Theatre (1-6 Jul) and Wee Hansel and Gretel, a ballet for young children at the Theatre Royal (13-14 Jul). Also promising to delight children is Pop Up Opera’s presence at the Scottish Canal Festival on the 20 July, including three accessible opera-performances in their programme: A Little Bit of The Magic Flute, A Little Bit of Iolanthe and Puffy McPuffy and the Crabbit Canals. 

For dance-lovers, Y Dance company are presenting Project Y at the Tramway on 24 July, a collection of four new contemporary works, created by established choreographers and performed by some of the UK’s most promising young contemporary dancers. An Edinburgh Fringe preview of groupwork’s new dance-theatre piece Afflicted, based on the true story of a mysterious illness that spreads across a community of young women in America, is also taking place at the Tramway (25 Jul). 

In Edinburgh, a dementia-friendly performance of Lauder will relay the story of Sir Henry Lauder, the Portobello boy who became the most popular entertainer of his time, at The Studio, Festival Theatre (1 Jul). Also at Festival Theatre, Helen Edmundson’s National Theatre adaption of Andrea Levy’s prize-winning novel Small Island will be played on the big screen to celebrate National Theatre Live’s 10th birthday (2 Jul). The National Trust for Scotland is hosting a site-specific theatre experience, A Game of Death and Chance, from award-winning writer and director Ben Harrison at Gladstone’s Land – an immersive production spanning Edinburgh’s history from 1603 to 1707, great for those keen to learn and participate (16 Jul). 

Last but not least, Dundee Rep has two fascinating shows in the pipeline: Illegal (3 Jul) and The Angry Brigade (4-6 Jul). The former, an Edinburgh Fringe preview by Scandal Theatre and Riotbox Productions, places two female characters, one American and one Guatemalan, in parallel as they both decide whether to defy immigration law. The premise of Dundee Rep Young Company’s The Angry Brigade is a little too close for comfort: a revival of James Graham’s 2014 portrait of young anarchists who terrorise MPs, embassies, the police and other authorities against a backdrop of Tory cuts and underemployment in 1970s Britain, exemplifies the Rep’s commitment to daring, relevant drama, and certainly isn’t one to miss.