Producer seeks young cast of cult classic The Magic Umbrella

Filmmaker George Williamson who is trying to track down the cast of a movie he helped make 20 years ago, The Magic Umbrella. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Filmmaker George Williamson who is trying to track down the cast of a movie he helped make 20 years ago, The Magic Umbrella. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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Two decades ago a group of plucky youngsters starred in a feel-good film set in the Capital.

The Magic Umbrella was shown hundreds of times across the city and in six different countries to become a cult classic.

Dalry Primary pupils Leanne Baigan (wearing a red cap), Gary Glancy, Nicola Campbell and Lisa Reid in the film. Picture: Contributed

Dalry Primary pupils Leanne Baigan (wearing a red cap), Gary Glancy, Nicola Campbell and Lisa Reid in the film. Picture: Contributed

Directed by veteran independent filmmaker Ian Rintoul, it followed four Dalry Primary School pupils sprinting across town to return an umbrella left at a St Bride’s Centre film show by an old man. And now producer George Williamson wants to track down the child actors – now in their 30s – for a screening to mark the 20th anniversary.

The film provides a nostalgic glimpse into the life of the city, featuring well-known Edinburgh characters, pipe bands on Princes Street, the construction of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and colourful Fringe acts.

Commended in the Jersey Film Festival, the 20-minute film was released in the same year as Trainspotting, though it cost just £200 to make and presents a more innocent take on community life.

George, who ran the St Bride’s Centre from 1990 to 2001, is calling on all the old cast members to get in touch ahead of the screening in the Orwell Terrace venue on Friday, June 17.

Watching it brought back a lot of memories. I was quite shocked. My clothes were awful

Leanne Baigan

He said: “We are trying to track down the young people in the video and it would be fantastic to get them all together.

“The film was a celebration of life. What we tried to convey through it is the innocence and the perseverance of young people to do the right thing – to doggedly pursue their mission to return the umbrella. It shows the link between young people and old people.

“In it we see the fun and laughter of youngsters, Edinburgh characters and also how Edinburgh was 20 years ago.”

George has already managed to track down one of the main cast members, Leanne Baigan, who appears in the film wearing a red baseball cap. But the remaining child stars – Gary Glancy, Nicola Campbell and Lisa Reid – have so far proved elusive. Leanne, now a 31-year-old cashier living with ten-year-old son Jaylee in Wester Hailes, recently viewed the film for the first time in years.

She said: “Watching it brought back a lot of memories. I was quite shocked. My clothes were awful. I am excited and a bit nervous to meet my co-stars after all this time. I haven’t seen any of them since high school. My son hasn’t seen it yet and he cannot believe his mum is a film star.”

Ian Sinclair, the old man with the umbrella, died before the film was released and was one of several cast members who have passed away in the 20 years since the film was made.

The producer is keen to track down a performer dressed as Charlie Chaplain and the family members of any of the actors who appeared in the film have also been encouraged to attend.

He said: “We want to get as many people together as possible and we would urge them to contact the centre. This is as much for family members as it is for the cast.”

The screening has also been arranged to coincide with Dalry’s Sharing Secrets Festivalo n June 13-19.

Anyone involved or interested should call St Bride’s Centre on 0131-346 1405, with tickets available soon.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com