Pitlochry Festival Theatre announces 2024 Season

Pitlochry Festival Theatre has announced an exciting lineup of world premières, smash-hit musicals, and acclaimed returning productions for its 2024 summer season.

Running from 31 May until 26 September, the 2024 Main Auditorium season will open in style with a stage revival by Pitlochry Festival Theatre and New Wolsey Theatre of Footloose, the much-loved musical sensation celebrating youth, love, and life, based on the iconic 1984 Oscar nominated film starring Kevin Bacon. The production will transfer to the New Wolsey Theatre in October 2024.

In early June, the Theatre will stage the second of its exciting line up of musicals when it stages a new production of the award-winning West End and Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (7 June-28 September). It tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise from being part of a hit song-writing team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to ultimately becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical features all her iconic songs including You’ve Got a FriendOne Fine Day, and Natural Woman.

Later in June, the Main Auditorium sees the Theatre team up with OVO to stage the world première of Sense and Sensibility (21 June – 27 September).  Frances Poet’s beautiful new stage adaptation is based on Jane Austen’s iconic and witty novel of secrets and suppression, lies and seduction, which brilliantly portrays a world where rigid social convention clashes with the impulses of the heart. Sense and Sensibility will transfer to the Roman Theatre of St Albans in July and August 2024.

The Main Auditorium will also stage the return of the Theatre’s award -winning production of its 2022 revival of the much-loved comedy Shirley Valentine (4 July-28 September), Willy Russell’s (Blood Brothers and Educating Rita) heart-warming story about a middle-aged, working-class Liverpool housewife whose life is transformed after a holiday in Greece. The production will feature Sally Reid, who will reprise her acclaimed role as Shirley (winner of the Outstanding Performance Award at the 2023 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland).

The 2024 Studio season will see the première of two exciting new plays. Opening in May will be the Theatre’s co-production with Scotland’s Firebrand Theatre Company of Nan Shepherd: Naked and Unashamed (24 May-6 July). This entertaining and moving new play reveals how the iconic Scottish author, teacher, hillwalker, and nature lover helped shape Scotland’s recent literary history, and the mystery of why her masterpiece, The Living Mountain, lay forgotten in a drawer for over 30 years.

In August, the Theatre’s Studio space will also host the world première of Harry Mould’s debut play The Brenda Line (15 August-18 September). Inspired by real-life events in Mould’s mother’s teenage life, as well as the lesser-known history of the Samaritans in the 1970s and 80s, The Brenda Line is a story about women, love, and listening.

The 2024 season will also see two productions in the venue’s picturesque Amphitheatre, nestled within its Explorers Garden and in the shadow of Ben-y-Vrackie, with the return of Elizabeth Newman’s sold-out adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s much-loved classic tale The Secret Garden (12 July-22 August)And the Theatre will unite with the Scots Opera Project to produce a Gaelic and Scots Language version of Purcell’s baroque masterpiece tale of doomed love, Dido and Aeneas (31 August – 15 September), performed by a cast of professional opera singers and the powerful voices of a community company.

Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre said:

“A time to mourn… and there is a time to dance… See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life.” 

These words, famously spoken by Kevin Bacon in the 1984 film of Footloose, sit at the very heart of our 2024 Pitlochry Festival Theatre Summer Season. I’m thrilled to share the news that as well as creating a new production of the blockbuster musical Footloose, we will also create a brand-new production of the award-winning musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which celebrates the life and work of the iconic American singer. This will delight audiences alongside a new adaptation from award-winning Frances Poet of Jane Austen’s witty Sense and Sensibility and a revival of our award-winning 2022 production of Shirley Valentine with Sally Reid returning to give her tour de force performance in the title role. All this work, in its own distinct way, celebrates love and our collective desire to feel music deep in our soul, rhythm to take over our bodies, and our need to connect with the world around us. 

As well as these contemporary classics we will also produce two new plays in our extraordinary Studio Theatre. We will make Nan Shepherd: Naked and Unashamed about this extraordinary woman who continues to captivate the imagination of many alongside Harry Mould’s debut play The Brenda Line

In our stunning Amphitheatre we will revive the much-loved production of The Secret Garden from our 2023 Summer Season, and we will make a new opera version of Dido and Aeneas with Scots Opera Project. We will also collaborate with New Wolsey Theatre and continue our collaboration with OVO and Firebrand Theatre Company. 

I hope there’s something for everyone in this season from musicals to drama to comedies to opera. We can’t wait to welcome people to Pitlochry to see the fantastic work of our legendary Ensemble and the makers and creators who go on this epic summer journey with us. Hope to see you in Pitlochry in 2024!”

Further information about the casting for the 2024 ensemble and more 2024 production announcements will be made public in the coming months.

Season ticket packages for the 2024 season will go on sale to existing Pitlochry Festival Theatre members on Monday 2 October 2023 and on general sale on Monday 9 October 2023. Individual show tickets will go on general sale from Monday 13 November. For further information on tickets and productions visit www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com or call 01796 484626.