A “love letter” performance to Sir Billy Connolly is set to tour Scotland in the new year.
Scottish writer and performer Gary McNair has created Dear Billy, a collection of moving and hilarious tales about the comedy legend.
The play is a collaboration with story gatherers from the National Theatre of Scotland and will tour the country throughout 2023, culminating at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow.
Dear Billy, ‘A Love Letter to the Big Yin from the People of Scotland’, was announced on Thursday to coincide with Connolly’s 80th birthday.
The Big Yin’s career has been celebrated as he marks the milestone age.
Earlier this year he was awarded a BAFTA fellowship award for lifetime achievement.
After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, the comic retired from live performance in 2018.
However, he has continued to thrill fans and inspire the next generation of actors, comedians and musicians.
Dear Billy will alter throughout the tour as McNair will gather original audience stories and weave them into the performance.
McNair said: “It’s an honour to be doing this show. To take on a subject and a figure as beloved by the public as Billy with our National Theatre is a very proud moment indeed and one that I will cherish.
“It has been a joyous production to be a part of, with so many wonderful artists involved in its research and development.
“I hope we can continue that feeling of joy when we get on the road and share it with audiences up and down the country.
“There will be a seat for Billy every night and we hope he can come along and see just what he means to the people of Scotland.”
Jackie Wylie, artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “Billy Connolly is arguably Scotland’s most loved artist. We thought it fitting that his National Theatre should honour him with a theatrical love letter, in the form of a special new show.
“Dear Billy is created with the words collected from the people of Scotland about what Billy means to them, and written and performed by the brilliant Gary McNair which will tour the length and breadth of the country in 2023.”
Dear Billy is directed by Joe Douglas and will tour from May 18 to June 24.
Performance will be held at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh; Ayr Gaiety, Ayr; Dundee Rep, Dundee, East Kilbride Arts Centre; Heart of Hawick; Theatre Royal Dumfries; Lyth Arts Centre; Strathpeffer Pavillion; Nairn Community & Arts Centre; Byre Theatre, St Andrews; Lanternhouse, Cumbernauld; Dunoon Burgh Hall; Perth Theatre and King’s Theatre Glasgow.