Scottish Theatre Highlights: June 2019

Scotland plays host to a variety of theatrical wonders this month, from family-friendly circus-spectaculars to edgy, multimedia performances

Article by Eliza Gearty | 30 May 2019
  • THEM!

The smell of Fringe frenzy might already be in the air, but there's no calm before the storm in Scottish theatre: there's loads to look forward to before the Festival hits Edinburgh in August. Starting the summer off in style, stories of Scottish soldiers, 1990s ravers, post-apocalyptic teens and more are set to hit stages across the country in June.

The Glasgow-based company Wonder Fools will be bringing their acclaimed show 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War to Inverness (1 Jun), Edinburgh (6-8 Jun), Glasgow (11-12 Jun), Dundee (14-15 Jun) and Dunkeld (16 Jun) this month, telling the uncharted story of the 549 Scottish soldiers who joined the anti-fascist International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. Another show providing an insight into gritty elements of (more recent) history is Wasteland, a riveting fusion-performance of dance, drama and music about post-mining communities in 90s South Yorkshire, brought to Tramway in Glasgow by the Gary Clarke Company (14-15 Jun). 

Elsewhere, artists look to the future instead of the past – Harry Josephine Giles & co head to Edinburgh with Drone (4-5 Jun), which follows an aerial vehicle hovering above a dystopian yet recognisable nation, while Strange Town's Stolen Futures (14-15 Jun) is an imaginative tale of one girl given the chance to escape from a post apocalyptic world. Both shows will take place at the Traverse Theatre. 

For a family-friendly day out, the youth arts festival Light The Blue will be returning to Aberdeen for its second year, taking place from 10-15 June. Highlights include APA’s Senior Youth Theatre’s performance of Abi Morgan’s Fugee (10 Jun), which follows 14-year-old Kojo’s life in the UK after fleeing from conflict in the Ivory Coast, and Modo’s circus spectacular production of Dracula (12 Jun). 

The Dundee Rep have some exciting productions on this month – notably, The Benny Lynch Story, the story of Scotland's first ever world boxing champion (5 Jun) and The Fishamble's Pat Kinevane Trilogy. The latter promises to be an intriguing mix, featuring Forgotten, a hybrid performance of Kabuki dance and Irish storytelling which has achieved huge international success (11 Jun), Silent, a moving portrait of homelessness and mental health and the recipient of an Olivier award in 2016 (12 Jun), and Underneath, another award-winning show about various individuals living on the fringes of society (13 Jun). 

Shakespeare lovers will be glad to hear that Bard in The Botanics will once again be taking place in Glasgow this month, this time with its Muse of Fire programme. Celebrating its 18th birthday, the annual outdoor festival will be showcasing performances of As You Like it, directed by Gordon Barr, and a six-hander version of Henry V, directed by Jennifer Dick, (28 Jun) to kickstart the season.

On the other side of the city, The National Theatre of Scotland are premiering a bizarrely intriguing adaption of the 1954 creepy-crawly sci-fi film Them! –  Stewart Laing's first project with the company since becoming its Associate Director. The NTS released a promo revealing that 150,000 leaf-cutter ants will be joining the cast, alongside Moulin Rouge actress Kiruna Stamell and Glaswegian pop queen Carla J Easton. If that piques your curiosity more than your squeamishness, don't miss it: Laing and long-term collaborator Pamela Carter are known for blending artforms in a spectacular fashion, and Them! will feature music, television and film in its exploration of modern identity as well as all those ants. The show premieres at the Tramway on 27 Jun, and runs until 6 Jul.