Last chance to see ” A Funny Place For A Window”

The Beaches of St Valery” which opened to four star reviews at Oran Mor in March will  be touring next year to venues all over Scotland. The play tells the epic story of a young Scottish Soldier of the 51st Highland Division.

The play debunks the “miracle” of Dunkirk, and tells the tale of the 9,000 Scottish Soldiers sacrificed by Churchill in a secret deal with De Gaulle. For them there was no way home. For them there were no little ships. For them there was only St Valery-en-Caux, surrender, and four years incarceration .

But a few of them escaped . We  follow one of them , 18 year old Private Callum Chisholm  as he ages from a raw recruit in the 4th Cameron Highlanders  in 1938, to a war-weary officer on the Rhine in 1945.

He suffers defeat, surrender,  escape, and a hollow victory, as the juggernaut of war rumbles on. But through the horrors of war, Callum finds  and then loses  the love of his life, Catriona. “The Beaches Of St Valery”  is Callum and Catriona’s story. 

Watch this space for details.


Major General Victor Fortune Surrenders to General Erwin Rommel at St Valery ©Imperial War Museum


Four Star Reviews for “The Beaches Of St Valery”

I am delighted to announce that my new play, “The Empty Charcoal Box” will open the new season at Oran Mor on Monday August 28th.

“It all started with the empty Charcoal Box. But that’s not where it started for Eddie. For Eddie, it started with Sonja Kristina……”


“The Empty Charcoal Box” is the tragi-comic story of how a long-hidden event of extreme violence 45 years ago has haunted  the lives of  three  Ayrshire Schoolboys ever since. A contemporary crisis  mean that  Billy, Eddie and Deansy are finally forced to confront that age old question which determines our path to wisdom: Should we look backwards to try undo our mistakes, or forwards and try not to repeat them?

The play will be directed by myself and will  feature three of Scotland’s most talented actors, Ryan Fletcher, James McKenzie and Gavin Jon Wright.

Ryan Fletcher.jpg

Ryan Fletcher

Gavin Jon Wright

Gavin Jon Wright

James McKenzie.jpg

James McKenzie

The play will use sound, movement and live  music to tell this darkly comic tale of guilt,  retribution and rebirth. Amongst others it features the work of Curved Air, Pink Floyd, John Kongos, Sham 69 and The Ramones.

Ryan Fletcher  has most recently been seen on the stage as Phil McCann in “Cuttin’ A Rug” at the Citizens and in “Milk” at The Traverse, and has appeared in “River City” , “Gary Tank Commander” and “The Limmy Show” on the small screen.

Gavin Jon Wright  is just back from the US tour of “Titus” where he played the title role. He played “Spud” in Trainspotting at The Citizens, and features in the role of  Hugh Kirk  in the recent three part ITV  Drama “In Plain Sight”.

James McKenzie  was last seen onstage at the Oran Mor and The Traverse as John Wilkes Booth in  His Final  Bow” . He also appeared in the NTS production “Rites”  and will be familiar to “River City” fans for his role as  Gary Trenton.

The play runs from August 28th till September 2nd.

Full programming  and booking details here at  Play, Pie & Pint 


An article by Joyce McMillan in “The Scotsman.”


Joyce McMillan in “The Scotsman”

Mary Brennan in “The Herald”

David G. Moffat for “Mumble Theatre”



Very pleased to announce that “The Beaches Of St Valery” which will open at Oran Mor on Monday 6th of March  is now cast.

Ron Donnachie will be playing the role of Captain Callum Chisholm of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.


The part of Young Callum will be played by James Rottger. 

James Rottger.jpg

Catriona will be played by Ashley Smith. “The Beaches Of St Valery” At Oran Mor

Ashley Smith.jpg

Full details of the play and booking details can be found HERE

I’ll be appearing at the Scottish Screenwriters Christmas get together  talking about  writing for stage and screen at the CCA in Glasgow. See their website for details.

See you there.


“The Beaches Of St Valery”  which formed part of my PhD in English Literature from the University Of Glasgow premiere on Monday 6th of March. I am currently in negotiations to tour the play in the new year.

Here are a selection of the Four Star Reviews.

Mary Brennan In The Herald. Four Stars.

Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman. Four Stars.

Mumbles Theatre Blog . Four Stars

The Beaches of St Valery


The play follows the life of a young Scottish Soldier of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and  the 51st Highland Division  from 1938 to the end of the war in 1946.

We see our everyman soldier  go from a carefree 18 year old  roads engineer to a battle-hardened veteran of 26.

The photograph below shows the CO of the 51st Highland Division, Major General Victor Fortune surrendering to General Erwin Rommel at St Valery-en-Caux on the 12th of June, 1940. This  event forms the central motif of the play.


Stuart On Twitter

  • @welshjb @intocreative @PlayPiePint Thanks for your support John #chicmurray 10 hours ago
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