Calum’s Road

Calum’s Road

Real life-inspired drama about road-building on Raasay

It’s been nearly 40 years since Calum MacLeod single-handedly built a much-needed stretch of road on Northern Raasay, after decades of unsuccessfully campaigning the local council to do so themselves. Now, this inspirational islander is the subject of a new National Theatre of Scotland-backed play.

The impetus behind the production came from actor Iain Macrae, who plays Calum. After reading Roger Hutchison’s book on the tale, he convinced Communicado’s Gerry Mulgrew to direct the project and David Harrower (Knives in Hens) to write the script. ‘I think the story has national – if not universal resonances,’ Macrae says. ‘We all know what it’s like to be told by authority that you can’t have or do this or that. Calum takes matters into his own hands and changes things – we all like to imagine we can do that.’

Calum’s Road will tour across Scotland before ending up in Raasay in late November. And its arrival may already be spurring the local council into action. ‘At the moment,’ Macrae explains, ‘the road and the 11 mile approach to it are completely pot-holed – it’s a challenge to move above second gear. I hear the council roads department were over in Raasay last week - perhaps they’re nervous of impending publicity!’

Calum's Road

  • 3 stars

The National Theatre of Scotland and Communicado Theatre Company present David Harrower's take on the true tale of a man on the Isle of Skye who, faced with council indifference to his remote village's isolated plight, built a two-mile stretch of road all by himself with nothing but a pick, a wheelbarrow and a shovel.

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