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Creative Scotland gives £100k to ghost story musical

The Sunshine Ghost The Sunshine Ghost
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A new Scottish musical based on a 1935 film has attracted a £99,769 grant in Creative Scotland’s latest round of Open Funding, in which 41 projects share £850,000 of support.

The Sunshine Ghost will be produced by Scottish Theatre Producers with Festival and King’s Theatres Edinburgh. It will open a small-scale tour in October, at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre Studio, with a large-scale tour penciled in to open in the city’s King’s Theatre the following September.

Loosely based on the idea for the 1935 film The Ghost Goes West, the musical tells the story of a rich American businessman who buys a Scottish castle and ships it over to Florida, only to discover that the castle’s ghost has also been transported across the Atlantic.

It will be written by performer and storyteller Andy Cannon, founder of Wee Stories children’s company, with composer Richard Ferguson.

Ferguson, who is also writing the music and lyrics, is the pen name for Richard Lewis, the conductor and guest-lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who is currently convener for culture and sport on the City of Edinburgh Council.

Producer Sarah Gray told The Stage the production would be cast in the summer and would draw on Cannon’s storytelling experience.

“We are doing it very much in the way that Andy has worked with Wee Stories, in that we are taking it out as a small-scale version this autumn and it will be continually developed on the road. It will be a cast of five with Andy as storyteller and Richard playing keyboards, so six in total.”

The Festival and King’s Theatres Edinburgh are providing development space, consultancy and some financial support for the project.

Gray added that the Creative Scotland funding “has allowed us to approach the theatre teams from the point of view of engaging them for both scales of production”.

“It has allowed us to approach the large-scale venues at this early stage as well, to come on board and contribute to the overall budget of the production across the two years,” she added.

Other theatre projects funded in this round include a new Scots language play by playwright Martin Travers and support for the Scottish theatrical premiere of Caryl Churchill’s Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?.

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