18 October, 2019

Pitlochry Autumn show, Faith Healer Opens

As the leaves fall and the trees turn for a stunning vista in Highland Perthshire –throwing a dramatic backdrop for Pitlochry Festival Theatre - there comes a spellbinding masterpiece from one of Ireland’s greatest playwrights, Brian Friel, with Faith Healer which opened, Thursday 17 October.

Artistic Director, and Director of this production, Elizabeth Newman, told us:

“Faith Healer is such an important piece of work. It felt vital to make a production of Brian Friel’s masterpiece, on its 40th anniversary too.  

The actors who are bringing Friel’s play to life are the most extraordinary group of artists.  George Costigan (playing Frank, the Faith Healer) and I discussed making the play several years ago. However, it wasn’t until I took over running Pitlochry Festival Theatre, we decided to go for it. We felt passionately that Pitlochry audiences would be entertained and moved by the play and we were also keen to collaborate with others. This led me to approach, friend and colleague, James McKenzie-Blackman at Eden Court about making the play with us. He loves audiences as much as I do. We shared the desire to bring Friel’s brilliant story with as many people, as possible, across the Highlands and Islands. Like George, the other members of the Company, Kirsty and Richard, are extremely passionate about making work in Scotland and for Scottish audiences.

George Costigan on TV earlier this year in Gentleman Jack, also starred in the massive hit series, Line of Duty, and Happy Valley. In fact he’s rarely been off our screens, from A Touch of Frost, Vera and Inspector Morse, to Doctor Who and Coogan’s Run; and the big screen, rising to fame as Bob in the 1987 film Rita, Sue and Bob Too and also Calendar Girls, Shirley Valentine. He has performed across the UK on stage – most recently at Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow, in Zinnie Harris’ reworking of John Webster’s The Duchess (Of Malfi).

Richard Standing plays Teddy, Frank’s born-into-show-business manager. Richard is perhaps best known as a regular in Coronation Street as Sally Webster’s love interest, Danny Hargreaves, as well as Holby City, Silent Witness and Casualty. On stage, Richard performed as Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia!, both in the West End and on tour, and has extensive Shakespearian experience, from Macbeth and Hamlet to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and many others.

Playing The Fantastic Francis Hardy’s indefatigable wife Grace, is Kirsty Stuart, fresh from her triumph in Zinnie Harris’ hotly-acclaimed The Duchess (of Malfi). Kirsty is also a familiar face from Scots murder mystery series, Shetland, as well as Outlander, Call The Midwife, River City and Doctors.

Faith Healer is a spell-binding, achingly tender, yet often funny and intensely human, exploration of love, belief and personal sacrifice. Is Frank showman, shaman… or charlatan? Or simply a man, agonisingly trying to understand the fleeting nature of his 'gift'?

Elizabeth explained: “We’re taken on a journey by our three unreliable storytellers. Each asks us to believe them, as they investigate their personal grief, the problematic decisions they have made and how they have loved, and been loved. What dominates Friel’s play is the friction between a person and their talent, whether spiritual or artistic, or simply human. Ultimately, like all great plays, Faith Healer explores the meaning of life. Great plays do, don’t they? 

As Pitlochry Festival Theatre began as a playhouse in the tent 68 years ago, Faith Healer continues our extraordinary legacy of producing great, high-impact drama. I can’t wait to share this brilliant play in Pitlochry and beyond. Producing with Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, will finally give us an opportunity to connect with people across the Highlands and Islands, venturing to some of the very venues in which Frank, Grace and Teddy would’ve spent their life visiting and performing.”

Faith Healer runs until Sunday, 3 November, 2.00pm at Pitlochry, followed by the tour of the Highlands and Islands in partnership with Eden Court, Inverness, 5-16 November: Dornoch, 5 Nov; Orkney, 6 Nov; Ullapool, 8 Nov; Crieff, 9 Nov; Isle of Skye, 11 Nov; and finally Eden Court, Inverness, 14 – 16 Nov.

To book your tickets for Pitlochry, call the Box Office team on 01796 484626 or click here to buy online.

See all news articles