Garth McLean performs his debut solo show, Looking for Lightning, at C venues – C royale, studio 1 during August. 

  •   Tell us about your Fringe show

Looking For Lightning is a personal story of perseverance and overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacles when faced with a life altering event. Even though Lightning is a show about my personal journey with MS, it offers a more universal message to summon the strength in order to face the challenges of an uncertain future.

Initially, Lightning was born out of a creative writing exercise about one’s response to the terror attacks of 9/11 in NYC. As I reflected on those events, and with the ongoing threat of terror attacks in our society today, it prompted me to write about the terrorizing events of personally being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The reactions to both were shockingly similar.

On the recommendation of my neurologist to “try some yoga” in order to help manage the condition, I discovered Iyengar Yoga within days of my diagnosis and took a leap into the unknown..with courage, caution and a bit of faith.

Finding humour on a new landscape of fear, uncertainty, doom and gloom has provided the levity to survive what could otherwise be considered a tragedy.

The show itself takes the audience on a journey from my life in Hollywood to Canada to India and underscores the profound transformative potential of embracing the discipline of Iyengar Yoga, regardless of the challenges we may face.

Lightning has been created to also raise awareness about living well with multiple sclerosis. While every case is different, there are similarities. I hope to give a voice to that and those of us who may struggle with MS. At the same time, the show honours the legacy of yoga legend BKS Iyengar as part of the 2018 global celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Iyengar’s birth and his profound contribution to humanity.

  • How does it feel to be playing the Fringe for the first time?

As I prepare for the month ahead, I am thrilled to be a part of the largest arts festival in the world. I am very much looking forward to performing, sharing my journey and also being inspired by so many inspirational, talented artists talent coming together from around the globe.

  • Why did you decide to perform at the Fringe?

With the current dynamics of the ever present threat of terrorism and senseless gun violence facing the world, I am reminded that we are not safe anywhere. It seemed timely to bring this show to the international stage. By bringing the show to the Fringe, my hope is to further raise awareness of living well with multiple sclerosis.

Since 2009, I’ve been invited and began teaching others with MS and other neurological conditions, at the request of Iyengar Yoga teachers from around the world where statistically there are higher incidences of MS. Northern UK, Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Southern Australia, South America. I saw there was interest and a possibility to also give an artistic voice to the healing potential of a yoga practice in a manner that may reach more people than solely in the yoga studio environment.

I also understand that the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland have one of the highest per capita rates of MS on the planet. Additionally, The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, based in Edinburgh, is committed to clinical research for MS and neurological conditions. I hope to help raise further awareness about the groundbreaking work they do at the Clinic and intend to make a donation from the proceeds of the show to further support their research work. 2018 also marks the 100th anniversary of BKS Iyengar’s birth. In this centenary year of global celebrations honoring Mr. Iyengar’s existence, it is my way to further honour his profound contribution to humanity as part of the global celebrations.

  • If you were not a performer what would you be doing?

I honestly am unable to imagine my life without some aspect of performance. While my path altered when I was diagnosed with MS and I eventually began to teach others, my intention is to continue to performing while also helping others in whatever way I can. Performance is a vital aspect of my life … whether it is on the stage or in a yoga teaching situation.

  • How do you prepare for a performance?

In addition to the daily physical discipline of yoga, I have a daily meditation and pranayama practice. Aside from the rigorously honest approach and physical benefits of these practices, they help with mental clarity and focus…which in my opinion is required for performance. A shot of coffee also goes a long way!

  • Best/worst advice you’ve been given ahead of your debut show?

Do it!

  • Favourite thing about being in Edinburgh?

I love the history, Scottish heritage, architecture and overall buzz of the city. I’m also a sucker for the bagpipes and that awesome Scottish accent!

  • What’s the most Scottish thing you’ve done?

Well, in the past I have been fitted for a kilt and might have to pick one up while in town. I’ve also visited the MacLean castle in Duart on the Isle of Mull, which was pretty amazing!

  • Favourite Scottish food/drink?

As I follow a plant based diet, I thoroughly enjoyed vegetarian haggis (though I am sure purists would say that haggis cannot be vegetarian). And, I’m thinking I might have to try one of those deep-fried Mars bars!

  • Sum up your show in three words

I offer two choices: Inspiration. Transformation. Hope and Worth the commute.

Show summary

Hollywood Actor, Garth McLean, makes his debut at The Edinburgh Festival with his funny, light-hearted one man show - Looking for Lightning.  It tells the story of his journey from his being diagnosed with MS in 1996 to travelling the world teaching others to manage the disease...incorporating Iyengar Yoga into their wellness regimen.    McLean has been symptom free since 2001 and medication free since 2003.  

Garth McLean performs his debut solo show, Looking for Lightning, at C venues – C royale, studio 1 during August. For tickets, please visit