Edinburgh theatre denies snub to Local Hero’s creator over new musical

The theatre staging a new Local Hero musical has denied suggestions by the classic film’s writer and director that he has been sidelined from the production.

Bill Forsyth, the director of the original Local Hero movie. Picture: Michael Gillen
Bill Forsyth, the director of the original Local Hero movie. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Royal Lyceum, in Edinburgh, has insisted it is still hopeful Bill Forsyth will attend the launch of the show later this month – despite his claims that he was dropped from its creative team.

Forsyth helped develop the musical with the venue’s artistic director David Greig and Mark Knopfler, the musician and composer who created the original iconic soundtrack for the 1983 movie.

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However, Forysth said he had been dropped by producer Patrick Daly, whe originally came up with the idea for the musical, which will be launched in Edinburgh before going on to the staged at the Old Vic in London next year.

Forsyth told The Times: “It’s not a show I’ll be able to see. It is sad, but they tried to turn me into an editor – ‘turn up and you can have your little say, but you’re not going to be creatively involved’.

“What he [Daly] said was I should stop working on the musical and not be involved in any more workshops. He said ‘you can turn up with the execs and play an editorial part at the end of the process’, which I didn’t take to at all. They wanted me to step back, be a good boy and keep smiling. I left in a state of shock.”

Greig, who has been working on the production for several years, said: “We were expecting Bill to come to previews and to be offering thoughts and notes and very much looking forward to welcoming him to the show.

“I can’t stress enough that there’s so much of him in it, not just the original. He was a deep part of the drafting of the stage show.”

A statement from the theatre said: “As Mark Knopfler developed a new score of 19 new songs, Bill Forsyth and David Greig worked closely together on several drafts of the script to ensure this transformation to the theatre retained the magic and essence of Bill’s film.

“As such, we’re sad and surprised if he has felt in any way excluded from the creative process.

“A world class creative team, director, designers and musicians have been assembled to create the show, all with Bill and Mark’s approval.

“When a new stage show begins rehearsals, it is this team which forms and shapes it for the theatre. John Crowley, the director, and the whole team have always considered Bill’s voice to be central and integral. Without it, any telling of Local Hero would simply not be possible.”