A talented Largs theatre producer and scriptwriter has drawn on his own experiences from his own band Blind Pew in producing a new national show - Battery Park - based on the Britpop era.

Andy McGregor is a director, composer and playwright, who trained at Glasgow University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and whose career has come full circle from his days as a pop singer.

Battery Park is the exciting new production from Andy's Sleeping Warrior Theatre Company and is part of the Beacon Arts Centre's 10th anniversary programme.

The show is then going on a national tour, including a performance at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr on October 7.

It tells the story of Tommy, a jaded, middle-aged guy from Greenock and the story of his band from the '90s, Battery Park.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Battery Park - Tommy McGowan and Stuart EdgarBattery Park - Tommy McGowan and Stuart Edgar (Image: Eoin Carey)

Part theatre and part live music gig, Battery Park takes the audience on a journey back to the '90s, the Britpop era, when Tommy, his brother Ed, their best pal Biffy and a private school girl, Robyn, created the band and were really going places and getting ready for the biggest gig of their lives. 

Tommy’s nostalgic reminiscing takes us back to the band members' small town Greenock lives and how their bigtime dreams nearly became reality, with a support gig for Oasis at the Barrowland Ballroom. From broken dreams to broken hearts, it is a story that is funny and heart breaking in equal measure.

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The cast includes RCS student Stuart Edgar making his professional stage debut, after many years in the music industry, as Tommy; with Chris Alexander, known for his roles in Smile (Dundee Rep), Control Room and Scot Squad, playing the older Tommy.

The rest of Battery Park is made up of musician and actor Kim Allan (The Devil’s Hour (Amazon) as Robyn.

Andy McGregor says of Battery Park: “I’m really excited to finally be bringing this play to the Scottish stage. 

"It is definitely not a musical, but it’s gritty and it’s loud and it’s very Scottish. 

"It is ideal for the Britpop fans, anyone who has been in a band or ever dreamed of being in a band or loves music.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Andy McGregorAndy McGregor (Image: Andy McGregor)

"The idea has been with me for many years, loosely based on my own experience of being in a rock band that, ultimately, failed. It’s a really exciting cast and team and I think the concept of live music and storytelling will make for a really fun and interesting night out. It’s definitely a play that comes from the heart and I think there will be a lot in it that audiences will relate to.”

As well as performing at local venues such as McCabes in Largs, Andy's original band Blind Pew performed in Rico's in Greenock, and signed a big recording contract in 2006 which made the front page in the Largs and Millport News. However, the band went their separate ways after one year.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Blind PewBlind Pew (Image: Andy McGregor)

Andy said: "Battery Park is vaguely based on my own experiences.

"We came along just after Britpop had finished but it was such a big movement involving working class bands making it big so we felt it made sense to set the play then."

Blind Pew included Andy, Paul McGranigan, Stuart Macintosh and Derek Lamont as drummer.

And one of the band's early highlights was the band appearing on the famous Channel Four teen soap opera Hollyoaks through Fairlie TV producer David Andrews, who worked on the show, and also produced famous Liverpool soap Brookside.

The TV appearance came about through son Laurie Andrews, who is now a successful animator in Hollywood.

Andy recalled: "I remember after completing fifth year at Largs Academy that we hired the school music room and rehearsed there before moving into the Largs Printing Studio which my father owns, and people regularly dropped in to see us perform, and we did one of our shows in McCabes."

After the big music deal broke down, Andy got back into the recording studio with Brown Bear and the Bandits, teaming up with Matt Hickman, before he went solo with Brown Bear, and Andy went to the train at the Royal Conservatoire.

"I was very proud of the album with Brown Bear and the Bandits that we did called 'One Man Town'.

"Some of the Blind Pew albums have been uploaded to Spotify and you can still give them a listen.

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"Perhaps the album I am happiest with which captures us in our true form is 'The Fear of God' - I remember we basically took over the Kelburn Hotel in Fairlie after it closed down and converted it into a recording studio and the album is the end result. I think it best captures the album's raw energy."

Asked whether Battery Park was a love letter to his Blind Pew days, Andy joked: "I think it is more of a break-up note.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Blind Pew made front page news in 2006Blind Pew made front page news in 2006 (Image: Newsquest)
"Battery Park conveys there is still happiness to be found after dreams fade but it is also about saying if you don't make it in your 20s, there is very much still hope for the future."

Battery Park comes to  Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock on Friday and Saturday, September 22-23. For more details, go to Beacon Arts - Battery Park (beaconartscentre.co.uk).