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Theatre Antigonish's Sunshine on Leith on at the Bauer Theatre

The cast and crew for Theatre Antigonish’s upcoming production - Sunshine on Leith.
The cast and crew for Theatre Antigonish’s upcoming production - Sunshine on Leith. - Contributed

Musical is on from March 5 to 10

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - 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 U.S. 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 March 5 (Tuesday), with opening night on March 6. Performances will take place daily until March 10.

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.

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.

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The large cast includes a mix of community members and St. F.X. students, some of whom are veterans of the Bauer stage and some who are new to the joy of acting.

Amongst the veterans is Laura Teasdale.

“I have loved this musical for years,” she said. “It is small but mighty; very funny, but truly touching and so cleverly written. Perfect for people who might never have gone to a musical before … guys love it. For me, I am a huge Proclaimers fan and this music, well every song is a hit and we are rockin' it … so much fun.”

Ken Kingston is also no stranger to the stage but noted this is his first musical

“One of the reasons I auditioned for the show was I’ve never performed in a musical on stage before,” he said. “I have extensive experience in dinner theatre at local community centres and halls, but I always wondered ‘what it would be like to be part of a musical?’

“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, and I’m also excited to be working alongside Laura, 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 March 8 (Friday) performance, 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 Michael Linkletter, panelists will include; Lewis MacKinnon, Mairi Britton, Carol-Anne Mackenzie and Mairi MacCarron. Admission to the panel discussion is free.

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