New Musical set for Autumn premiere
The Sunshine Ghost, a new musical written by Andy Cannon and Richard Ferguson, is to be staged by Edinburgh-based Scottish Theatre Producers and the King’s and Festival Theatres this autumn.
The musical will go on a tour of small scale venues with a cast of only five, after opening in the Festival Studio in October 2017. It will continue to be developed on the road and then brought back as a full scale production, pencilled-in to open at the King’s in September 2018.
The show is “very loosely” inspired by the plot of a 1935 movie, The Ghost Goes West, according to Sarah Gray of Scottish Theatre Producers, who emphasised that it is a totally original production.
The story follows a rich American businessman who buys a Scottish castle and ships it over to Florida – only to discover that the castle’s ghost has also been transported across the Atlantic.
Andy Cannon was most recently seen in Black Beauty at the Traverse, which he co-created with Andy Manly and Shona Reppe. His Tales of a Grandson was nominated for the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland in 2015 and while he was with Wee Stories, their show Arthur Story of a King won a CATS in 2004.
“We are doing it very much in the way that Andy has done work with Wee Stories,” says Gray of The Sunshine Ghost. “We are taking it out as a small scale version this autumn and it will be continually developed on the road.
“It will be a cast of five with Andy performing as the storyteller of the piece and Richard playing keyboards, so six in total. Then for next year we will scale it up and it is going to tour the large-scale theatres next autumn.”
Richard ferguson, who is co-writing the show with Cannon as well as writing the lyrics and composing the music, is the pen name of Richard Lewis. He is currently convenor for culture and sport on the City of Edinburgh Council a guest-lecturer at the RCS and a conductor and composer in his own right.
Direction will be by Ken Alexander, who has had stints as artistic director at the Byre, Perth Theatre and Liverpool’s Royal Court. He has been a regular guest director at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, including the premiere of Ian Hammond Brown and Shona McKee McNeil’s musical adaptation of Whisky Galore.
The Sunshine Ghost has received a grant of almost £100,000 in Creative Scotland’s latest round of Open Funding. According to Gray this is an investment towards both scales of the production, allowing STP to work with smaller venues and start approaching large scale theatres to contribute to the overall budget of the production across the two years.
Duncan Hendry, chief executive of Festival and King’s Theatres, added: “This is a really exciting project, and we look forward to welcoming Scottish Theatre Producers to our Studio in October 2017.”
Festival and King’s Theatres are offering STP development space, consultancy and some financial support for the show. It is part of the Theatres’ work – in partnership and in consortia – with producers and theatre venues across Scotland and the UK to help make projects happen.