Top Scots actors to mark Royal Lyceum anniversary

Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot will mark The Royal Lyceum Theatre. Picture: Richard Booth
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot will mark The Royal Lyceum Theatre. Picture: Richard Booth
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TWO of Scotland’s acting heavyweights are to join forces on stage to mark the 50th anniversary of one of the nation’s leading theatres.

Brian Cox and Bill Paterson will be starring in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot to kick off the landmark season at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh this autumn.

Bill Paterson is noted for appearing in Outlander, Law & Order UK and Sea of Souls. Picture: Jane Barlow

Bill Paterson is noted for appearing in Outlander, Law & Order UK and Sea of Souls. Picture: Jane Barlow

Cox, who was one of the original members of the theatre company, last performed at the theatre in 2004 in John Byrne’s Uncle Varick, while Paterson will be making his first appearance at the Lyceum for 21 years, when he appeared in Mikhail Bulgakov’s A Mongrel’s Heart.

It is believed to be the first time that Dundee-born Cox and Paterson, one of Glasgow’s most successful actors, will have worked together.

Cox, who was named honorary patron of the Lyceum in November 2012, starred in the first ever show staged by the newly-formed theatre company, The Servant O’ Twa Maisters, which opened on 1 October 1965.

He said: ‘It’s great, not to say a miracle, to be returning to the Lyceum for its 50th anniversary.

I’m honoured and delighted to share The Lyceum stage with him in the timeless masterpiece of Waiting for Godot.

Bill Paterson

“I was a founding member of the company 50 years ago as a wet behind the ears 19-year-old.

“The Lyceum was and still remains the most formative experience of my theatrical life.

“To be afforded the opportunity to observe and work with the greatest Scottish actors of their day - a formidable roll call that included Duncan Macrae, Fulton MacKay, Russell Hunter, Una Maclean, Calum Mill and Eileen McCallum, all led by the visionary Tom Fleming - introduced me to the tremendous heritage of world-class practitioners that is unique to Scottish theatre.

“This anniversary production of ‘Waiting for Godot’ very much continues that tradition.”

Brian Cox has appeared in several films, including X-Men 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Braveheart. Picture: Greg Macvean

Brian Cox has appeared in several films, including X-Men 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Braveheart. Picture: Greg Macvean

Paterson added: “Unlike Brian, I wasn’t actually in that first 1965 production of ‘The Servant o’ ‘Twa Maisters’ but at least I saw a matinee on a day return from Glasgow!

“So, fifty years later, I’m honoured and delighted to share The Lyceum stage with him in the timeless masterpiece of Waiting for Godot.”

Others shows confirmed today for the anniversary season include a brand new stage version of the Sarah Waters novel Tipping the Velvet, the Victorian coming-of-age drama adapted into a controversial BBC TV series.

The C S Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe will be the theatre’s festive show, directed by Andrew Panton, Susan Boyle’s long-time collaborator.

Next year will see a revival for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the powerful drama set about 17th century witch hunts that was famously written during the McCarthy-era anti-communism trials in the 1950s.

The Lyceum is joining forces with the National Theatre of Scotland to create a new stage comedy based on Thomas Aitkenhead, the 17th century Edinburgh student, who became the last person in Britain to be executed for blasphemy,

A brand new comedy play by Scots makar Liz Lochhead, about the chaotic off-stage life of the French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere, will end the 50th anniversary season in the spring.

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