National Theatre of Scotland to make Moscow debut

Siobhan Redmond as Lady Macbeth in Dunsinane. Picture: Contributed
Siobhan Redmond as Lady Macbeth in Dunsinane. Picture: Contributed
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TWO hit shows by the National Theatre of Scotland have won funding for extensive new overseas tours - including performances in Santa Monica, Miami, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Moscow.

The latter destination will mark the company’s first ever foray to Russia when it will be part of a major showcase of British culture this year.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, one of the company’s biggest box office hits to date, is about to set off on a tour of the United States and Canada thanks to a £30,000 grant from the Scottish Government.

The musical play, billed as a cross between a supernatural storytelling night and a pub lock-in, has already broken the NTS records for its previous overseas exploits, visiting 43 different venues in nine countries.

Writer David Greig’s play, which wowed critics at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe three years ago, won huge acclaim when it was revived at the Royal Court Theatre, in London, last year.

NTS has received a further £50,000 - also from the government’s “international touring fund” - to support a major overseas tour of another Greig work, his Macbeth sequel Dunsinane, which was first staged in London four years ago.

The joint production with the Royal Shakespeare Company will be staged during NTS’s first major tour to East Asia in the spring, before subsequent visits to Russia and the United States. Leading Scottish Siobhan Redmond will be reprising her role as Lady Macbeth in the production, which she will star in alongside English actor Darrell de Silva.

The British Council is also helping to pay for the trip to Moscow, which will see Dunsinane - which was on an eight-week UK tour last year - staged as part of the city’s Chekov International Theatre Festival.

Some 250 events are being held in Britain and Russia this year under an unprecedented cultural exchange.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland is home to exceptional artistic talent with a growing international reputation for producing excellent cultural performances.

“Our national companies are particularly well-regarded for the high quality of their work - these latest allocations will ensure even more audiences can appreciate and enjoy their performances and what Scotland has to offer.”

Laurie Sansom, artistic director of the theatre company, said: “I am thrilled our co-production of Dunsinane, with the Royal Shakespeare Company, continues to be in demand with audiences and that it will be playing in 2014 on an international stage.

“The presentation of David Greig’s sequel to Macbeth in East Asia and Russia is an ambitious undertaking for the National Theatre of Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s international touring fund has been instrumental in enabling the company to showcase an outstanding piece of large-scale Scottish theatre like Dunsinane to a global theatre audience.

“I am also delighted that our much-loved production of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, will continue her epic journey overseas, with a tour of North America in 2014, due to the vital financial support from this same fund.”