In 2023, National Theatre of Scotland’s acclaimed production celebrating Scotland’s most loved comedian, Sir Billy Connolly, undertook a 17-venue Scotland tour, reaching over 8,000 people. 

Originally announced to mark Connolly’s 80th birthday year, Dear Billy was enthusiastically received by audiences, selling-out at venues across Scotland

Written and performed by leading Scottish theatre-maker Gary McNair, the production, which begins with the premise that everyone has a story about Connolly, sees McNair gather up a series of interviews conducted with anyone and everyone with an opinion on Connolly. 

Writing in The Herald last year, theatre critic Neil Cooper described McNair’s verbatim vox-pop collage as part stand-up, part oral history project, and part act of collective hero worship.

Now, with the production set to tour again in May, followed by a run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, Scotland’s national theatre company has launched a new interactive map for the nation to demonstrate its love for the Big Yin.

READ MORE: Review: Dear Billy is part comedy part hero worship of Scotland's iconic Big Yin

The National Theatre of Scotland wants to create a map of all the places that have a personal connection to Connolly, to help create a love letter from the people of Scotland to their favourite comedian.  

They are inviting people to share their own Connolly stories, memories and favourite jokes and add their own unique mark to the living tribute and help make the map ‘a right Big Yin’.

Connolly’s relationship with Scotland spans his extraordinary life and career over the last 80 years.  

The beloved Glasgow comic and storyteller toured the folk clubs, the grand theatres and workings men’s clubs of Scotland from 1970s, retiring from live performance in 2018.

Born at 69 Dover Street, Anderston, he worked the shipyards of Glasgow’s Clydeside in the 1960s, before taking to the road with folk rock band The Humblebums.

The Herald: Dear Billy, written and performed by Gary McNair, returns to Scottish stages in 2024 (Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)Dear Billy, written and performed by Gary McNair, returns to Scottish stages in 2024 (Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan) (Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

He made his theatrical debut, in 1972 at the Cottage Theatre in Cumbernauld, ahead of performing in The Great Northern Welly Boot Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, also that year.

Connolly first established himself as a star, selling out a run and breaking box office records at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre in Jan/Feb 1974, returning to the theatre on many occasions. 

In January 1994, he undertook a World Tour of Scotland on a Harley Davidson, taking him from Kelso to Kirkwall with a stop off at Eden Court, Inverness, broadcast on the BBC later in the year.  His love affair with his native country, continued with his residence at Candacraig House, in Aberdeenshire. 

In 2022, Connolly was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement.  

Dear Billy opens at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen then tours to Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre,  Eden Court in Inverness and The Lowry in Salford, followed by a two-week run at the Assembly Rooms as part of the Assembly Festival programme for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2024. 

READ MORE: Jack Lowden and Big Yin feature in 'thrilling' new theatre programme

The production is directed by Joe Douglas, whose work for National Theatre of Scotland includes The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil and Dear Scotland.

Musicians re-joining McNair on the road in 2024 are Simon Liddell, whose work for theatre includes The Domestic (Scenes for Survival/National Theatre of Scotland) and McGonagall’s Chronicles (Which Will Be Remembered for a Very Long Time) and Jill O’Sullivan, who writes and performs across the worlds of popular music, theatre and dance. 

Speaking about the map and the production touring again, McNair said: “I'm delighted we are launching the Big Map for the Big Yin where people can pin their own stories and connections to Billy. As we learned when interviewing people to make this show- everyone has something to say about Billy, whether that's a memorable meeting or a connection to his work.

"The great thing about the Big Map is that there is a space where people can continue to share and hopefully build an interactive document about what he means to us all.

"I'm beyond giddy to be bringing the show Dear Billy back so soon after it's tour last year. It is a genuine honour to have been trusted to make this show, Billy is so important to so many people that it was so well received was a dream come true. I can't wait to get back on the road with the band and meet new amazing audience."

For more information on Dear Billy, visit