Play about life of German scientist on Harris to be staged by NTS

The bizarre true-life story of a German scientist and his ill-fated attempts to launch a rocket-based postal service in the Western Isles in 1934 is to be brought to the stage by the National Theatre of Scotland.

Gerhard Zucker aimed to create an inter-island postal service. Picture: Contributed

The new production will relive how Gerhard Zucker saw his plans to deliver rockets full of letters between the islands of Scarp and Harris ­literally go up in smoke.

Rocket Post, which will be aimed at children and families, is being billed by NTS as “equal parts play, gig and hoedown”.

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The show, which is being created by Glasgow-based Lewis Hetherington, will be premiered at the An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway in September before embarking on a nationwide tour.

A spokeswoman for NTS said: “Full of humour, heart and hope for the future, Rocket Post is a tale of miscommunication, vaulting ambition and the joyous discoveries that can happen when everything goes wrong. Rocket Post also playfully tells an extraordinary real story, celebrating one man’s ambitious endeavour and how an island community responded.”

Rocket Post is expected to be one of the highlights of the company’s 2017 programme, which has been overseen by interim chief executive Lucy Mason since the resignation of artistic director Laurie Sansom in the spring. His recently-announced replacement, Jackie Wylie, is not due to start in the post until March.

Other productions in the new line-up include a one-woman show inspired by the Dundonian actor and writer Jaimini Jethwa’s real-life experience of being brought up in Scotland after her family were forced to flee Uganda in the 1970.

NTS is also creating a show inspired by the final journey in 1957 of a “midget submarine” along the Forth and Clyde Canal, close to Rockvilla, the company’s new waterside home north of the M8 motorway, which is due to be officially opened in January.

Actor and director Cora Bissett – whose previous shows include Glasgow Girls, Grit and Roadkill – will join forces with singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph to adapt the best-selling novel Room, two years after a film adaptation was nominated for four Oscars.