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Described as ‘a wry comedy about a man who sets out to buy a beach but ends up losing his heart to a village’, this ground-breaking musical adaptation of Bill Forsyth’s iconic Scottish film, Local Hero, was co-produced by Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre and London’s Old Vic, and enjoyed its world premiere in Edinburgh in March 2019, followed by a sell-out six-week run.
Local Hero is an iconic brand in its own right and the calibre of the creative team behind the new adaptation – screenwriter Bill Forsyth; the Lyceum’s Creative Director David Greig; Scottish-born songwriter, guitarist and record producer Mark Knopfler; director John Crowley; set designer Scott Pask; and lighting designer Paule Constable – ensured it was a perfectly produced product. The project took nearly four years to progress from concept to fruition and required each producing theatre to contribute an initial £350,000. The Lyceum was able to provide an additional £100,000, secured through business sponsorship from The Edrington Group and match funding by C&BS Fund, as well as a further £100,000 delivered through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Grant.
Realising early on that whisky was going to play a critical role in the show, the Lyceum created a list of potential whisky sponsors and asked their board for support in making introductions. With an existing connection between the Lyceum’s Chair and the Robertson Trust, an introduction was made to the CEO of The Edrington Group.
The synergy between the show and the two whisky brands was immediately apparent – The Macallan is a prestige product and the show offered an opportunity to engage with an appreciative theatre audience; The Famous Grouse is as iconic a feature of Scotland as Local Hero itself. As a business, Edrington has remained firmly commited to Scotland, retaining its headquarters in Glasgow, a company ethos well aligned well to that of the Local Hero brand.
The Macallan was mentioned by name in the script while The Famous Grouse – Edrington’s best-selling blended whisky – featured on a wide range of promotional materials and through social media. The large cut out of the Local Hero iconic phone box with ‘the Grouse’ perched on top (instead of the traditional seagull!) became a hugely popular ‘selfie’ opportunity while The Famous Grouse stand at the show allowed whisky enthusiasts to sample new products.