Gala return for Tony Roper’s Scottish classic, The Steamie

The Steamie (2012 cast).

Producers Neil Laidlaw and Jason Haigh Ellery have added additional performances of The Steamie to the tour schedule when it returns to the Scottish stage this September.

Tony Roper’s The Steamie is a Scottish theatrical classic now celebrating its 30th anniversary. It is an ode to the hard working women of the 1950s and to a bygone Glasgow.

The young Doreen envisions a new future, while Mrs Culfeathers looks back to the past. The play is a snapshot of a society, of a time and a cross section of strong women, all rolled into Roper’s hilarious comedy.

A special red carpet gala performance is being held at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow, on October 24, which will bring together the stars of Scottish theatre and screen in a celebration of this seminal Scottish play.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is backing the gala and some tickets will be sold through the RCS to raise funds for the institution in its 170th anniversary year.

The Royal Conservatoire has consistently played a key part in creating a rich and successful theatre scene in Scotland over the last two centuries.

RCS principal, Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, said: “For 30 years, The Steamie has enchanted audiences with its homage to Glasgow of years gone by.

“From Tony Roper to Neil Laidlaw, our alumni are involved in all facets of the production, highlighting the versatility and creativity of the students who pursue studies in the performing and production arts at the Royal Conservatoire.

“The Steamie remains a treasured part of Scotland’s theatrical heritage and with so many graduates involved, it’s only right for the Royal Conservatoire to celebrate this historic milestone in the same year our institution marks its 170th anniversary.”

Tony Roper is a Scottish actor, comedian, writer, playwright and director who first wrote The Steamie in 1987 and directed the 25th anniversary production in 2012.

As an actor his first major role was in Scotch and Rye and he is most recognisable as Jamesie Cotter from Rab C Nesbitt.

Tony’s other plays include Paddies Market, a conceptual sequel to The Steamie, and Rikki and Me, a play about the comedy actor Rikki Fulton.

He has written two novels based on Rikki Fulton’s character Rev I.M Jolly. His autobiography I’ll No Tell You Again was published in 2014.

Tony says: “In my late forties I sat down with a biro and a jotter and wrote my first ever play.

“Thirty years have since passed and The Steamie is still there, giving laughter and tears and touching that intangible something in an audience that has made it a favourite night out.”

This is the third time Neil Laidlaw has produced a tour of The Steamie. Originally from Burntisland, Neil is now based in London’s West End.

Recent successes include co-producing the Olivier Award nominated revival of Show Boat and the Olivier Award winning Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton. He is also co-producing the UK tour of Annie which will transfer to the West End later this year staring Miranda Hart.

Neil said: “The Steamie is one of the greatest Scottish plays – I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to have been associated with it in the past and am now even more excited to be producing this 30th anniversary celebration.

“I first saw it in a student production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland while studying there. Dawn Steele played Mrs Culfeathers fabulously!”


Week commencing

September 4, Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy
September 11, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
September 18, Dundee Rep Theatre
September 25, Ayr Gaiety
October 2, Eden Court, Inverness
October 9, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling
October 23 & 30, King’s Theatre, Glasgow
November 6, Kings Theatre, Edinburgh.

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