24 July, 2019

Nicola McCartney’s Heritage opens tomorrow

The repertory wizards at Pitlochry Festival Theatre already have four shows up, running in parallel and receiving fabulous reviews. Now show number five is on its way! Opening Thursday, 25 July, with the first preview performance at 8pm, the last magical touches are being applied to Heritage, hotly-acclaimed and award-winning playwright, Nicola McCartney's poignant exploration of love, identity and the need to belong.

It’s the Canadian prairies, 1914. Two Irish migrant families - the McCreas, Protestant Ulster-Scots, newly-arrived, just building their new world, and the Donaghues, third generation Canadians, catholic and flourishing - have both been drawn by the promise of cheap land and a brand new life.

Young Sarah McCrea and Michael Donaghue, facing a bright future, fall into a gentle love affair through the sharing of an Irish mythic saga - the epic tale carving around their lives and relationships. But, as Michael begins to fiercely define his Irish identity, Sarah recognises the insidious creep of old battles on new soil.

Can they break away? Can the New World break the venal ties that reach out across time and oceans from an Ireland on the brink of division and a war of Independence? Or are they destined to be star-crossed lovers?

Nicola McCartney’s Heritage, first staged at the Traverse in 1998 in the optimistic aftermath of the Belfast Agreement, is a timeless love story. Lyrical, hypnotic... and lethal.  Director, Richard Baron explains:

"Heritage is a wonderful Romeo and Juliet story... violent, happy, sad, lyrical, very romantic. Like Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Heritage uses an historic setting to illuminate a contemporary theme. Although it can perhaps be styled as a ‘Troubles’ drama, this lyrical, Brechtian, memory play has ambitions far beyond the limitations of that genre. On one level it reaches into the mythic past as a Canadian Romeo and Juliet story; and at the same time it is a semi-conscious re-enactment of the great Ulster legend of Deirdre Of The Sorrows…

And all the while, while often moving, funny and uplifting, Nicola McCartney’s cautionary story traces the radicalisation of a vulnerable young man into the world of violent politics, and nothing could appear more timely in the warning it offers."

Costume and Set designer, Ken Harrison adds:

“In many ways, Heritage is a story of destruction and renewal. In the new territory the settler families clear the ancient forests to sow fields of wheat. But, through ties to the old country, the great ploughed expanse of the Saskatchewan prairie and the churned mud of Ypres, though sixty thousand miles away, merge into one.”

Leading roles, Sarah Mc Crea and Michael Donague are played by Fiona Wood and David Rankine, and Michael’s elderly grandmother, Emer, by Deirdre Davis - the triangle at the top of The Last Witch.

In addition, completing the cast of six, are two further familiar faces at Pitlochry: Ali Watt already performing as Steve in Summer Holiday and Charles in Blithe Spirit, plays Hugh, Sarah’s father.  Multi-award-winning actor, Claire Dargo, already performing as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible and Ali’s other half, Ruth in Blithe Spirit, again plays his wife, Ruth in Heritage. Marc Small, a familiar face on the small screen, from Jonathan Creek, and The IT Crowd to The Sooty Show, is making his debut at Pitlochry. Marc takes the roles of two Hales! Reverend Hale in The Crucible, Richard Hale in North And South, as well as, playing Michael’s father, Peter, the peacemaker, in Heritage.

Heritage is also directed and designed by the same creative team as The Last Witch which had a hugely successful tour to Glasgow and Edinburgh last Autumn: Director Richard Baron, set and costume by Ken Harrison and lighting design from Wayne Dowdeswell, this year joined by Choreographer and Movement Director, Rita Henderson and Sound Designer, Nicolette Macleod. So, if you were captivated by their creation last Season, you won’t want to miss this compelling and explosive new production.

Book your tickets with the Box Office team on 01796 484 626 or click here to buy online.

See all news articles