Alan Cumming to star in National Theatre's solo Macbeth

Alan Cumming Alan Cumming will perform in Macbeth in Glasgow and New York

Hollywood actor Alan Cumming returns to Scotland next year to perform in a one-man stage production of Macbeth.

The 46-year-old actor, from Aberfeldy in Perthshire, has appeared in films including GoldenEye and X-men and currently stars in the US television drama, the Good Wife.

Macbeth was one of a number of shows announced as part of the National Theatre of Scotland programme for 2012.

Cumming said he had been "obsessed" with the play since doing it at school.


It's both ironic - and apt - that I missed the launch of the new National Theatre of Scotland's 2012 programme because I'm on the island of Raasay with their production of Calum's Road.

When it launched five and a half years ago, the National Theatre of Scotland promised a theatre without walls which would promote small intimate productions in far flung parts of the country, as much as big name productions in the cities of the central belt.

Calum's Road tells the true story of Calum Macleod, who, when he failed to convince local authorities to build a road to his home, picked up his spade and built it himself.

The real road is just a few miles from the community centre where two sell out performances of the show are taking place on Friday.

Personal stories like that one continue to feature in the NTS repertoire. Most notably, Alison Peebles' personal account of her struggle with MS - My Shrinking Life - in which she collaborates with Lies Pauwels.

Starry casts count too. And the return of Alan Cumming in Macbeth should boost column inches as well as ticket sales.

But there's a nice balance between established theatre and more ambitious work. The range of work is impressive. As is the spread of locations.

As I speak, the crew are frantically resetting for tonight's show - bad weather having delayed the arrival of the articulated truck carrying the foldaway auditorium. They've just finished a workshop with local schoolchildren and they're now off to chop up a fallen tree which is blocking the road to their digs.

All in a day's work for Scotland's National Theatre company.

Macbeth was also the first production of a William Shakespeare play he ever performed in.

He said: "I have been obsessed with Macbeth for as long as I can remember. It was the first Shakespeare I ever read, the first I was ever in and it continues to haunt and inspire me.

"The only thing I can think of more exciting, challenging and terrifying is to do a one-man version of it with these great directors and this great company and to perform it in my two favourite cities in the world, Glasgow and New York."

The programme's other highlights include Glasgow Girls, which tells the story of teenage asylum seekers living in high-rise flats and the way in which the community comes to accept them.

The Guid Sisters, a "gritty" Scots version of Michael Tremblay's play Les belles-soeurs, will also be shown at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh in September.

Vicky Featherstone, artistic director at the National Theatre of Scotland, said: "The National Theatre of Scotland was created to reach and appeal to a wide range of diverse audiences.

"Our innovative model enables us to do that. Our 2012 season, in collaboration with so many of Scotland's extraordinary artists and companies, is an example of that.

"From work for Scottish primary schools, to teenagers, for older audiences, for large-scale popular appeal and for intimate and thought-provoking personal experiences, I am thrilled to unleash this range of work to the world."

Macbeth, directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg, will run from 14 - 30 June next year at the Tramway in Glasgow, before being taken to the Lincoln Centre Festival in New York City during the first two weeks of July.

Calum McLeod's story has inspired a new play by the National Theatre of Scotland

The launch of the 2012 programme coincides with the end of the National Theatre of Scotland's latest national tour.

The company's production based on the true story of a man who built a road on Raasay will finally be staged on the Scottish island.

Calum's Road is the story of Calum MacLeod who, after years of battling the authorities for a road so his daughter could get to school, built it himself.

He began the work in 1964, and completed the two miles stretch between Brochel Castle and Arnish 10 years later.

His story has since inspired songs, books and most recently the play by the National Theatre.

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