Shackelton's Carpenter

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 Carpenter comes to Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on 22 October 2018 as part of a major 23 date tour of the UK.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Multi-award winning playwright Gail Louw has her plays performed throughout the world, including Blonde Poison, which won the Argus Award for Artistic Excellence and performed at the Sydney Opera House; Duwayne, which was awarded Best New Play at the Brighton Festival; The Mitfords and most recently, Being Brahms. Oberon Books have published two collections of Gail’s plays.
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