A new play by David Greig, Adventures with the Painted People, originally commissioned by Pitlochry Festival Theatre as part of the theatre’s 2020 season, and now a BBC ARTS – Culture in Quarantine, BBC Radio 3, Naked Productions, Pitlochry Festival Theatre in association with The Royal Lyceum Edinburgh production, is set to have its première on Sunday, 7 June at 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 as part of the BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine season.

The production will star Kirsty Stuart and Olivier Huband

Adventures with the Painted People is a compelling love story, exploring the value of history and the power of writing, in a unique river movie. Lucius is a cultured Roman officer, captured by the Picts and about to be sacrificed. Eithne is a wise Pictish woman, who wants to record her people’s history in writing, a skill they do not yet have. She makes a deal – she will rescue Lucius, in exchange for him teaching her to write. So, they have to flee – not by road, the Romans haven’t built those yet, but down river…

Pitlochry Festival Theatre has teamed up with award-winning, independent audio producers, Naked Productions, to deliver the forthcoming radio play. Under the direction of Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s acclaimed Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman, the creative team will be working remotely to ensure they adhere to government COVID-19 guidelines.

Elizabeth said:

“We are thrilled to share this news. We are proud to connect with thousands and thousands more people during this challenging time. We want to use this opportunity to reach even more people and make new friends. We hope hearing Adventures with the Painted People on BBC Radio 3 will encourage them to return to Pitlochry Festival Theatre or visit us for the first time when we can reopen. In these extraordinary times, it is vital that we partner with institutions like the BBC to deliver funny, moving, inspiring and thought-provoking stories that can be accessed by many without ever having to leave the safety of their homes.”

PFT Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman and playwright David Greig

David Greig is a multi-award-winning playwright who became the Artistic Director of The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in 2015.  David’s most notable plays include The EventsThe Strange Undoing of Prudencia HartMidsummerDunsinane and Europe. His stage adaptations have included SolarisLocal Hero, and Touching the Void. David wrote the book for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which opened in the West End in 2013 and then transferred to Broadway in 2017.  His adaptation of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax opened at The Old Vic Theatre in 2015.

David Greig, Scotland’s foremost and prolific playwright said:

When Elizabeth first talked to me about Shades of Tay – a love letter to Scotland, through 50 new works – it was immediately something I wanted to be a part of. Rivers are such evocative, defining features of the Scottish landscape and culture – creating borders and territories, ever-present and ever-changing, transporting people in geography and in memory. The Tay, in particular is a river that means a lot to me, from its watersheds up on Rannoch Moor right down to Dundee, it’s a frontier river – I’ve run along it, swum in it, canoed it, sat by it looking for inspiration. Adventures with the Painted People is set on the River Tay in 85AD: it is a story of people meeting in extraordinary times, of borders being crossed, of cultures changing, and of love. I hope audiences, when they listen to it will feel a shiver of connection through our shared landscape, and I can’t wait for them to dive in.”

The production’s cast will feature Olivier Huband (Barefoot in the Park, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Royal Lyceum Edinburgh) in the role of Lucius, and Kirsty Stuart (The Duchess [Of Malfi], Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Citizens Theatre, and Call The Midwife, BBC1; Shetland, ITV) as Eithne. 

The new play is part of Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s three-year long artistic project, Shades of Tay which was launched last year. In light of the pandemic, the theatre has reimagined the initiative, commissioning 25 new pieces of writing – as well as other diverse content – inspired by the River Tay, especially as the theatre resides next to the River Tummel a major tributary. The 25 commissions, which will include works from Timberlake Wertenbaker, Jo Clifford, Stephen Greenhorn, Hannah Khalil, and May Sumbwanyambe, will be created as audio dramas, podcasts, short films and more, performed by the Theatre’s Summer Season actors, and then in a live festival after the Theatre reopens. The commissions are in partnership with Scotland’s multi-award-winning, world-renowned, outdoor extravaganza, The Enchanted Forest.

Adventures with the Painted People will be broadcast on Sunday 7 June at 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 and is presented by BBC ARTS – Culture in Quarantine, BBC Radio 3, Naked Productions and Pitlochry Festival Theatre in association with Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

For further information on Pitlochry Festival Theatre visit www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com

The Pitlochry Festival Theatre production will be performed on stage at the theatre, from 22 July – 1 October2021, in repertory with five further Summer Season productions: Gypsy (21 May – 2 Oct); Private Lives (4 Jun – 29 Sept); Kiss Me Quickstep (11 Jun – 5 Oct); Sense and Sensibility (26 Aug – 1 Oct); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ( 18 Jun – 4 Oct).