In 2023 National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Dear Billy undertook a 17 venue Scotland-wide tour, reaching over 8000 people.
Originally announced to mark Billy Connolly’s 80th birthday year, the production was enthusiastically received by audiences, selling-out at venues across Scotland, garnering a wealth of positive reviews and due to popular demand is now back on tour again in 2024.
There’s a guy. You know him. You know… big hair, wee beard, glasses, talks like that. You know? You know. The guy…The Big Yin.
Billy Connolly needs no introduction.
He is a national treasure.
From the shipyards of the Clydeside to his trailblazing and extraordinary stage and movie exploits, he is woven into Scottish culture.
Everyone has a Billy story.
An expert team of story gatherers has created a collection of these moving and hilarious tales.
Gary McNair, one of Scotland’s most renowned theatre-makers, has turned these stories into a special show celebrating the Big Yin and what he means to the people of Scotland.
The production will tour in May 2024 opening at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen before touring to Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow and Eden Court in Inverness with a two-week run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2024.
Further venues and dates will be announced in 2024.
Dear Billy is a unique touring production that evolved on the road.
It travelled the length and breadth of Scotland in 2023, visiting local theatres, arts and community centres gathering stories along the way which were woven into the show as the tour progressed.
Gary McNair is hitting the road once more with two musicians.
Audience members are welcomed to share their own Billy stories, with the possibility of those stories making it into the performance.
Each show offers a unique chance for audiences to laugh, sing, and celebrate the man and the legend.
“The perfect tribute to a man who has left his gloriously indelible mark, not only on the art of stand-up comedy, but on the culture of Scotland.” The National
“What emerges is a brilliant portrait not only of the Big Yin as others see him, but of his importance as a cultural touchstone to many Scots” The Times
Dear Billy is written and performed by leading Scottish theatre-maker Gary McNair whose recent work includes the acclaimed Nae Expectations, a fresh take on the Dickens classic for the Tron Theatre; Ugly! A Cinderella Story for Cumbernauld Theatre Company and a new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde featuring a solo performance from Forbes Masson which will be at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh in January 2024.
The production is directed by Joe Douglas whose work for National Theatre of Scotland includes The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil, Dear Scotlandand Associate Director for Black Watch.
Joe previously collaborated with Gary on McGonagall’s Chronicles (Which Will Be Remembered for a Very Long Time).
Musicians re-joining Gary on the road are Simon Liddell whose work for theatre includes The Domestic (Scenes for Survival/National Theatre of Scotland) and McGonagall’s Chronicles (Which Will Be Remembered for a Very Long Time) and Jill O’Sullivan who writes and performs across the worlds of popular music, theatre and dance.
“A vivid, charismatic piece of theatre.” ★★★★★ The Skinny
Gary McNair said:
“It was a real honour to get the opportunity to make Dear Billy last year.
“The creative team were a dream, and we couldn’t have been happier with the response from audiences up and down the country.
“I also loved that people would share their personal stories about the Big Yin with us as we travelled.
“Both performing the show and receiving these stories felt like the perfect way to celebrate the special place that Billy Connolly holds in the hearts of the Scottish people.
“The fact that there’s been such a hunger for the show to return and that we are able to do it so soon is wonderful.
“I can’t wait for us to get the band back together and take the show back on the road to head out across Scotland again to meet new audiences.”
Billy Connolly, or, the Big Yin, whom this show is dedicated to, is Scotland’s most beloved comedian, with an impressive career as a stand-up, actor, writer and musician spanning more than 50 years.
In 2022, Connolly was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement.
Join the conversation: #DearBilly
Touring to His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (Thu 16-Sat 18 May 2024); Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow (Wed 22-Sat 25 May 2024); Eden Court, Inverness (Tue 28-Wed 29 May 2024); Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Mon 12- Sun 25 August 2024) with full tour to be announced in 2024.
Access: Theatre for a Fiver tickets available for under 26’s and those on Universal Credit
BSL interpreted, audio described and captioned performances full information here
Tour information and full creative biogs here