The writer, director, performer and co-founder of Random Accomplice productions appears to be everywhere just now, so ubiquitous are his theatrical wares. He and fellow director Julie Brown have just opened their 16th production, The Incredible Adventures Of See Thru Sam, at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow before a Scottish tour.
Beyond Random Accomplice, McKnight, as a director, is at work on a rehearsed reading of All The Promise, a play by Colin Bell to be performed as part of Glasgay!, as well as workshops with the National Theatre of Scotland on Sponsored Silence, a new piece by Douglas Maxwell. And, as a writer, McKnight is about to have an even higher profile.
In October, his first radio play, Beloved, is to be recorded while, on stage, he has two new projects with Scottish Opera, one a young people's piece with music by regular Random Accomplice collaborator Alan Penman. Last One Out is an even more ambitious site-specific project with composer Gareth Williams, to take place in Fraserburgh Lighthouse as part of the forthcoming Sound festival.
More familiar territory for McKnight will be a very busy festive season, as he will be present in no less than three shows. At the MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling, Brown will direct a new production of McKnight's take on Cinderella, while, at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, McKnight will premiere a new musical play of the same story. Again at the Tron, he will write, direct and play the title role in Aganeeza Scrooge, a new female-based version of Charles Dickens's classic, A Christmas Carol.
"It's exciting and has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I would hate it if people felt I was bashing out the same thing all the time. It would be easy to do the same panto or Little Johnny's Big Gay Something every couple of years," he says, referring to the trilogy of plays he wrote for Random Accomplice, which began with Little Johnny's Big Gay Adventure, "but I don't want to do that. I love it when I sit down and I don't know what I'm doing."
While variety has been the spice of McKnight's working life, one thing that does join the dots between his campier outings and more seriously-minded work such as The Incredible Adventures Of See Thru Sam is a fusion of popular culture with a form of heightened realism. The roots of this may well date back to his school playground in Ardrossan.
"All the boys played at football," he says, "while I played with the lassies at Prisoner Cell Block H, so that was a bit of a pointer. All the things I watched on TV were larger than life, because they offered something more glamorous than Ardrossan. I don't think anybody could describe me as the king of naturalism."
Somewhat surprisingly, McKnight originally trained to be a lawyer. Equally unsurprisingly, it was a brush with the law that didn't last long. "If I'd kept up with being a lawyer I would have been the most ridiculous one around. I only went into law because I thought it'd be like Ally McBeal, with dancing babies and everything, but it wasn't."
Advice from a university lecturer saw McKnight join the first year of RSAMD's Contemporary Theatre Practice course. It was here he met Brown, also learning the mechanics of devising and producing her own work. While many CTP graduates join the live art circuit, McKnight and Brown founded Random Accomplice.
"We'd both just graduated," McKnight remembers, "and I thought that the only parts I'd get given would be as a hairdresser or someone's camp pal. We both had a lot of admin experience, so we thought that, instead of waiting around for someone to tell us what to do, we'd do it ourselves."
A decade on, and the gamble has quietly paid off, with both now major players. Again, their versatility has helped their profile enormously. "I think I do it deliberately," McKnight muses. "I would hate to be a full-time actor, and I couldn't be, because I can only do one part. I couldn't be a full-time writer either, because I couldn't stand the solitude. I love playing with my pals in the rehearsal room, but I don't want to be Dad all the time. I want to be a kid sometimes too."
While he expresses a long-term desire to do a full-scale musical, beyond his current spate of activity, he declares himself to be in full possession of "a big calendar of nothing".
Despite such affirmations, he and Brown have Random Accomplice's 10th anniversary in 2013 to think about. McKnight isn't sure what they'll do yet, but is toying with an idea.
"It's about a pair of Sonny and Cher impersonators who split up," he says. "I don't know, though, because I might be the worst Sonny Bono impersonator ever. I think I'd make a better Cher, but I don't think Julie would like that very much."