“It lasted a mere 100 minutes but launched an industry that continues to endure after almost 25 years. The Wicker Man film inspired an American remake, several books, an academic conference, and now a West End musical.

The dark tale of paganism, loose morals and murder in the Highlands is set to take on spectaculars such as The Phantom Of The Opera and Les Miserables. Workshop sessions – the step before full rehearsals – start on the new version in London tomorrow and will, in an unusual twist, include award-winning Scottish actress Lesley Mackie, who played a schoolgirl in the original film. It was her very first role.

Discussions have already taken place with Scottish theatres to preview the musical early next year ahead of a West End opening. “Although it’s a brilliant film, it is inherently theatrical,” said Andrew Steggall, who at 28 has been hailed as one of Britain’s most promising young theatre directors and producers. “The key ingredients are music, played by people who are in the story, and a sense of ritual. The Wicker Man would be a rich piece of theatre.”

(via Scotland on Sunday)