Thursday 18 October: Shackleton's Carpenter

Gail Louw’s stunning new history play on the Scottish carpenter sees the television star Malcolm Rennie (Mr Selfridge, Coronation Street, Monarch of the Glen) returning to his North East roots.

Thursday 18 October @ 7.30pm


Shackleton’s Carpenter

Shackleton's Endurance sank in Antarctica leaving 28 men stranded. The carpenter, Clydesider Harry McNish, played a vital role in saving them. He also defied Shackleton, so was never awarded the Polar Medal. Ill and destitute, he challenges the Boss on the dockside. Can he lay his ghosts to rest?

Malcolm Rennie plays Harry McNish in Shackleton’s Carpenter, Gail Louw's play about a forgotten Scottish hero, who was instrumental in ensuring the eventual survival of all the crew of The Endurance.

Shackleton's voyage to the Antarctic with 26 crew and scientists in 1914 continues to capture the public imagination for the sufferings of the men, the photography of the Antarctic and its inspiring outcome of human determination and rescue. Despite his extraordinary contribution to the heroic rescue, McNish did not receive the polar medal. In Shackleton”s Carpenter Gail Louw asks why the shipwright was ignored.

The play opens in 1930 with the carpenter destitute, sleeping in an open boat on the wharf in New Zealand. Cold and hungry, McNish wakes in the middle of night, recalling life on the Endeavour and the ice floes, Elephant Island and South Georgia. He remembers what it was really like to sail the famous James Caird lifeboat and the horrors of the 800 mile journey, sleeping like sardines in a coffin, in the worst seas known to man.

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North East actor Malcolm Rennie returns to the stage to play McNish after four seasons as Fraser the family butler in ITV's popular TV drama Mr Selfridge.

Malcolm said: "McNish was a working class man from Port Glasgow who called a spade a spade. He challenged Shackleton’s decision making and maybe this is why he has never had the recognition he deserved.”

Rennie has appeared in over 20 West End shows. His other TV appearances include Midsomer Murders, Taggart, Ransom, Pride & Prejudice, The Lenny Henry Show, The Accountant, Monarch of the Glen, Coronation Street and Sherlock.

A most remarkable and outstanding piece of theatre... A tour de force one man performance by ex RSC actor Malcolm Rennie Mark Aspen

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At the Barn on Thursday 18th October