Meet Jan Black

By Johnny McKnight

Scotland’s star of stage and screen, Maureen Beattie teamed up with Gaiety Theatre and Wonder Fools for a new dark comedy written by Johnny McKnight.

Jan’s last year was a total horror show – and she had a corkscrew spiral perm in ‘89, so she knows a thing or two about heartache and misery. But no more. It’s a New Year. A new Jan. She’s got a fire in her belly and a new show she’s desperate to rehearse. After a full year am-dram company The Gaiety Whirlers are back and ready to take to the stage. Only… lockdown’s still not been lifted, has it? But Jan is determined the SHOW will go on – she just has to navigate rehearsing over Zoom, dealing with a most unwelcome participant, oh and the small matter of how the hell do you do a musical when some of the Whirlers don’t even have 4G.

Meet Jan Black was about coming together and bringing a bit of theatre and hilarity into people’s homes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It was created and broadcast in April 2021 and was one of the first productions to be live streamed in Scotland. It included 25 community performers from amateur dramatics groups across Ayrshire all brought together via Zoom.


Community Performers


Livestream performances during the pandemic

“What unfolds is the perfect example of what makes live theatre so brilliant.”


Broadway Baby

Meet Jan Black – Climb Every Mountain

Watch both the guest performer cast of Meet Jan Black and other amateur performers from across the country singing Climb Every Mountain.


“I defy anybody to watch this production and not think ‘get me to live theatre, immediately’ ” ★★★★ Broadway Baby

“Anchoring the piece is Maureen Beattie, an inimitable powerhouse, whose performance alone is worth the admission five times over.” ★★★★ Braw Theatre

“Touching tribute to theatre’s lost year” The Guardian

“Impassioned love letter to the togetherness of making theatre” The Stage

Johnny McKnight

Jack Nurse

Video Designer
Ellie Thompson

Sound Designer
Kevin Murray

Production Manager
Elle Taylor

Technical Manager
Fraser Emslie (Gaiety Team)

Producer/Associate Director
Robbie Gordon

Starring Maureen Beattie and a cast of guest performers from the amateur dramatics community in Ayrshire: Ciara Brady, Helen Halpin, Anne Harcourt, Maureen McGuire, Marie McWilliams, Tricia Reynolds, Gavin Scott, Ron Swanson and Nick Wakeham.

Set and Costume Designer
Alisa Kalyanova

Lighting Designer
Benny Goodman

Assistant Lighting Designer
Lisa Kirk

Director of Photography
Joshua McFarlane (Gaiety Team)

Supported by Creative Scotland and South Ayrshire Council.