Billy ready for his home town pro debut

Billy Neilson (left) on stage with Steven Fitzgerald in Shang-A-Lang
Billy Neilson (left) on stage with Steven Fitzgerald in Shang-A-Lang

A Motherwell man is looking forward to stepping onto his home town stage as a professional actor for the first time on Thursday.

Billy Neilson appears in Rapture Theatre’s production of Shang-A-Lang at Motherwell Theatre, where he has previously appeared in the annual Easter Egg shows.

A feel good play from Catherine Johnson, writer of Mamma Mia!, it follows three 40-something Scottish women who decide to relive their youth by going to a 70s revival weekend in Butlins, where the Bay City Rollers are playing.

Billy might be familiar to some having played for several junior clubs, including Bellshill Athletic, before moving to Blairgowrie in 1985.

He said: “It wasn’t until I moved to Perthshire I became involved in amateur dramatics and enjoy getting up on stage, but never imagined that one day I would be paid for it.

“I’ve known Rapture director Michael Emans and his partner Lynne for quite some time, I go to a summer drama school they run and I guess I must have impressed them while we were there.

“I am playing the part of one of the Butlins’ Red Coats, another actor had played the part during the last tour, but he couldn’t do it and I was stunned when Michael phoned and asked me if I was available.

“The fact that the tour comes to Motherwell and I am returning as part of a professional production is just brilliant, to be honest I might well have done it for free just to have this experience

“I have a massive family and some have been to see the show in Lanark, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Glasgow already, but I expect the biggest contingent in Motherwell.

“I don’t know if this will lead to anything else professionally, I may have missed the boat due to my age, but if this is the only professional production it’s a very nice icing on the cake for my time on stage.”

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets costing £11 (£10 concession) are available by calling 01698 403 120.