Gary McNair pays tribute to Sir Billy at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. Credit: James Chapelard
Gary McNair pays tribute to Sir Billy at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. Credit: James Chapelard

Dear Billy: Love letter to the Big Yin goes on tour

Billy Connolly needs no introduction. From the shipyards of the Clydeside to his extraordinary stage and movie exploits, he is a national treasure.

And everyone has a Billy story, a hilarious anecdote or a moving tale, the Big Yin is woven into Scottish culture.

Theatre maker Gary McNair has spent the last seven years collecting these stories for a show celebrating Sir Billy and what he means to the people of Scotland.

The idea came to Gary after being continually compared to Sir Billy during his years of touring. He started thinking about the possibility of doing something on the comedian.

Credit: National Theatre of Scotland.

Last year Gary took the National Theatre of Scotland production Dear Billy on tour around Scotland to more than 8,000 people. It was a rousing success and now he is taking the show back on the road.

‘It was a real honour to get the opportunity to make Dear Billy last year,’ Gary says. ‘The creative team were a dream, and we couldn’t have been happier with the response from audiences up and down the country.

‘I also loved that people would share their personal stories about the Big Yin with us as we travelled. Both performing the show and receiving these stories felt like the perfect way to celebrate the special place that Billy Connolly holds in the hearts of the Scottish people.

‘The fact that there’s been such a hunger for the show to return and that we are able to do it so soon is wonderful. I can’t wait for us to get the band back together and take the show back on the road to head out across Scotland again to meet new audiences.’

Credit: National Theatre of Scotland.

Credit: James Chapelard

The production written and performed by Gary is one of the most nominated productions in the prestigious Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) Awards this year.

It has been shortlisted in four categories: Best Performer, Best New Play, Best Director (Joe Douglas) and Best Production.

The production is touring to the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow and Eden Court in Inverness with a two-week run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.


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