The National Theatre of Scotland has today announced a "thrilling" programme for 2024, featuring a "provocative" new Jack Lowden play and love letter to the Big Yin. 

Scotland's national theatre company has revealed a year of world premieres, tours and performances across Scotland and the UK, telling "extraordinary stories by exceptional Scottish talent". 

Among them is The Fifth Step, a new play written by David Ireland and starring Jack Lowden (Dunkirk, Slow Horses), who is returning to Scottish stages for the first time since his theatrical debut in Black Watch in 2010. 

Read more: Kristen Stewart and Janey Godley bookend Glasgow Film Festival

Directed by Finn den Hertog, it will preview at Dundee Rep Theatre before opening at the Royal Lyceum Theatre as part of Edinburgh International Festival and finishing with a run at The Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow. 

Jack Lowden said: “I have long been an admirer of David Ireland’s craft, his ability to provoke an audience with the boldness and brilliance of his writing. I am delighted to be returning to the theatre this year in his thrilling new play The Fifth Step.

"I am also very much looking forward to being in a rehearsal room in Glasgow with David and director Finn den Hertog and taking all the exciting theatrical steps towards premiering the production at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2024.”

The Herald: Jack Lowden in%Black Watch by Gregory Burke, directed by John TiffanyJack Lowden in%Black Watch by Gregory Burke, directed by John Tiffany (Image: Manuel Harlan)

Meanwhile, Dear Billy returns to Scottish stages after a successful tour in Scotland in 2023. Written  and performed by Gary McNair, the critically-acclaimed celebration of Billy Connolly will be heading to Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Inverness before heading to the Assembly Rooms for Edinburgh Fringe

New productions include June Carter Cash: The Woman, Her Music and Me written and performed by Charlene Boyd sharing the story of the country music icon, and Thank U, Next, a dance theatre piece exploring the contemporary culture of cosplay. 

And Maggie & Me is a "bold and explosive" production based on Damian Barr's award-winning memoir about growing up gay in Thatcher's Britain. It will open at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow before touring to Inverness, Perth, Cumbernauld, Dundee, Northampton and Edinburgh. 

Read more: Dear Billy review: Connolly tribute is part comedy, part hero worship

Jackie Wylie, artistic director at the National Theatre Scotland (NTS), said: “We are delighted to be offering audiences a packed theatrical programme in 2024 with, thrilling new productions alongside acclaimed shows that we have brought back by popular demand.
"We are proud to honour icons and celebrate artists that help define and shape our cultural identity.

The Herald: Dear Billy, written and performed by Gary McNair, returns to Scottish stages in 2024Dear Billy, written and performed by Gary McNair, returns to Scottish stages in 2024 (Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)
"As Scotland’s national theatre company, who tour tirelessly throughout Scotland, we want to bring a sense of community togetherness, pride in our nation’s creativity and the chance to have a brilliant night out, for audiences, locally or indeed further afield. 

"National Theatre of Scotland has always held a lens up through which we can view ourselves, as a nation, as a society and never more so than in this programme. Through the sharing of important stories, that tell us about ourselves, we explore our shared humanity.

"Climate activism, youthful protest, the enslaved Joseph Knight who made his bid for freedom, the great Billy Connolly, the Margaret Thatcher years, working class culture, teenage Cosplay, Country music, masculinity and the late great Beldina Odenyo all share the spotlight in our 2024 programme.

Read more: Tickets still left to see Ralph Fiennes in 'immersive' Macbeth show
"Young people hold a special place in our programme. We are committed to ensuring they are  involved with the National Theatre of Scotland from Primary School onwards, through our productions with Theatre in Schools Scotland, our touring work to venues and through participation in projects with leading theatre-makers.
"We thank our partners, our supporters and funders, the venues we are touring to, the artists, the crews, the freelancers, who make our work, all those who participate and most importantly our audiences who energise us through their commitment and enthusiasm for the joy of theatre”.

For more information and to find out how to purchase tickets, visit the National Theatre of Scotland's website.

Highlights of National Theatre of Scotland's 2024 programme

The Herald: The National Theatre of Scotland has launched its 2024 programmeThe National Theatre of Scotland has launched its 2024 programme (Image: James Chapelard)

  • The Fifth Step, starring Jack Lowden at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow, August 2024

  • June Carter Cash: The Woman, Her Music and Me, written and performed by Charlene Boyd and directed by Cora Bissett, opens at Edinburgh Fringe ahead of a Scottish tour

  • Thank U, Next, created by radical performance collective 21Common, will be presented at schools in Glasgow, Cumbernauld, Grangemouth and Lochgelly in October 2024 and March 2025

  • Maggie & Me opens at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, before touring Inverness, Perth, Cumbernauld, Dundee, Northampton and Edinburgh in Spring 2024

  • Dear Billy, a love letter to Big Yin, will perform in Aberdeen Glasgow and Inverness before coming to the Assembly Rooms during Edinburgh Festival Fringe

  • Enough of Him, an award-winning play based on the true story of Joseph Knight, will open in Edinburgh in October 2024 before touring Dundee, Aberdeen, Chichester and Coventry

  • An Accident / A Life, a semi-autobiographical piece, will have its UK premiere in Glasgow at Tramway in March 2024

  • Shō and the Demons of the Deep, a visual adventure story about overcoming fear and the climate crisis, is touring across Scotland in April and May 2024

  • Tero Buru, a new play by Beldina Odenyo, will be performed in Glasgow in autumn 2024, with full details of dates and venue to be announced

  • Protest, a play which looks at the right to protest through the perspective of three young girls, will open in Edinburgh in January 2024 before touring the rest of the UK until March