A new play by David Greig, Adventures with the Painted People, which was originally commissioned by Pitlochry Festival Theatre for its 2020 season and subsequently became an acclaimed radio play on BBC Radio 3, is set to have its world stage première from 10 June to 4 July in the theatre’s outdoor amphitheatre as part of their exciting Summer Season.
Directed by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman, Adventures with the Painted People is a compelling love story, exploring the value of history and the power of writing. Lucius is a cultured Roman officer, captured by the Picts and about to be sacrificed. Eithne is a wise Pictish woman, who wants to record her people’s history in writing, a skill they do not yet have. She makes a deal – she will rescue Lucius, in exchange for him teaching her to write. So, they must flee – not by road, the Romans have not built those yet, but down river…
Director Elizabeth Newman said: “When I was contemplating what we could make this summer, and it was becoming more and more apparent that indoor performance was going to be more challenging for audiences, our new commission, Adventures with the Painted People by David Greig, just kept singing to me. The play has never left my heart, or mind, since we made it at the start of the last lockdown with Culture in Quarantine, BBC Arts and Radio 3.
Although we were grateful to produce as a radio drama, we were sad to not have performed this important new writing in person. So, as I made plans with the Pitlochry Festival Theatre team, the amphitheatre seemed like the perfect space for Adventures with the Painted People. It also felt entirely fitting that a new play by the truly brilliant David Greig would be the first piece for audiences to see in this exciting outdoor performance space.
“Adventures with the Painted People is set here in Highland Perthshire, centrally and is a truly glorious piece about how Pictish and Roman culture are exploring nature and culture, therefore it felt apt to be transported to an outdoors environment. Painted People is romantic, often comedic, and we feel it will help audiences celebrate being in the ‘great outdoors’ and connecting with nature this summer at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.”
David Greig is a multi-award-winning playwright who became the Artistic Director of The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in 2015. David’s most notable plays include The Events, Midsummer, Dunsinane and Europe. His stage adaptations have included Solaris, Local Hero, and Touching the Void. David wrote the book for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which opened in the West End in 2013 and then transferred to Broadway in 2017. His adaptation of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax opened at The Old Vic Theatre in 2015.
Writer David Greig said: “We intended to produce Adventures with the Painted People for audiences last year, but the pandemic prevented this from happening. We recorded the play for Radio but I’m thrilled that finally it will live as I intended and as I imagined when writing the play.
It is a play that speaks to the past but also very much considers where we are now as a society and the things we might consider as we try to find a way to move forward together. Eithne and Lucius are two characters I loved imagining in my mind. I’ve enjoyed them speaking to me for the past couple of years but I’m so excited for them to speak to an audience in Pitlochry’s Amphitheatre.”
Adventures with the Painted People is directed by the award-winning director Elizabeth Newman (Faith Healer, Pitlochry Festival Theatre), lighting design by Jeanine Byrne (Faith Healer, Pitlochry Festival Theatre), music and sound design by Ben Occhipinti (Barefoot in the Park, Pitlochry Festival Theatre). Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
Adventures with the Painted People will première at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from the 10 June – 4 July. For tickets and further information visit www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com