In London’s west end, they’re scolding audiences for singing along to live theatre productions. Julie Cadzow knows there’s no point in chiding punters when it comes to a Runrig musical touring Scotland.

“It’s inevitable that when we sing Loch Lomond they’ll be up on their feet, joining in,” says the actor, one of the leading lights of the touring production of The Stamping Ground, the new musical featuring the music of the much-loved Gaelic rockers.

The National: The Stamping Ground play

The play’s titular track is also likely to have them punching the air in the otherwise more refined theatre setting. And, for all that the cast and creatives down Shaftesbury Avenue way might have a point when it comes to punters belting out their best/worst Whitney Houston impersonations during performances of The Bodyguard, it’s simply unrealistic to expect devotees of the homespun heartfelt tubthumpers the legendary Skye band have become known for to sit on their hands.

“I don’t think you have to be a Runrig fan to enjoy this,” says Cadzow, one of the country’s most experienced performers, whose theatre credits extend as far back as Billy Connolly’s Great Northern Welly Boot Show and Dave Anderson’s and David MacLennan’s hugely influential 7:84 theatre company.

“Morna Young has written a lovely book for it, and it’s an enjoyable story about people’s journey in this community. It all works really beautifully.”

The National:

Cadzow joins an established cast featuring Annie Grace and Brian James O’Sullivan among others, following the production’s successful debut at Inverness Eden Court last year.

Fellow River City cast member Jenny Hulse also joins the touring production of the show, which is set in a failing community in rural Scotland on the 50th anniversary of the band’s formation, in 2018. Cadzow says: “It’s the story of all Highland villages, really. The older ones are dying off, the younger ones have to move away for work, and some people decide to come back. The pub is in jeopardy, someone wants to buy it and build holiday homes, so the community get together and take it upon themselves.”

The National:

Cadzow plays an “incomer” who has become accepted in the rural community, friend to young and old alike. The actor says: “She’s plain speaking, enjoys a drink. Totally accepted, the kind of person you’d see sitting in a pub in the Highlands happily having a drink by herself. I’d like her.”

The story takes shape around Euan and Annie, a couple with a teenage kid who have returned to their rural home after years away, seeking a new start. But a heatwave has brought tourists to their home by the thousand, and they’re lost in this new land.

The production’s music and songs have been adapted by John Kielty with a live band appearing onstage alongside the actors. All of the songs in the show are written by Runrig’s founding members Calum and Rory MacDonald.

The National:

And there’s more to this than the epic anthems the band made their trademark, and they’ve got into Cadzow’s bones during her time rehearsing the production staged by Raw Material.

“I was aware of Runrig but their music wasn’t necessarily my genre at the time, but I have to say I’m really enjoying it now,” she says. “There are some beautiful lyrics, very touching songs about the land and nature, and the emotions these things can pull out of one.

“The songs are there to illustrate the story. They fit in very nicely, they don’t jar in any way, and they weave very beautifully together into a lovely tapestry. I’ve obviously had to sing in pantomimes and the odd show in the past, but not in a show like this. I’m great at singing in the bath and Runrig music has wormed its way in there now. I’m singing the songs in my sleep. And there’s even a bit of choreographed dancing, too.”

The National:

The emergence of bands such as Peat & Diesel and Tide Lines from the Gaeltacht could be seen to have provided fresh ground – and fresh ears – for the exploration of Runrig’s prolific back catalogue.

“I suppose they were the forerunners for these other bands, they maybe started that celtic rock movement,” she says. “I met a German recently who told me many Germans came to their final concert in Stirling. They’re appreciated internationally. I really think it’ll be a wonderful night out for fans of the band and people who are new to their music.”

The Stamping Ground 5 May – 24 June; Eden Court, Inverness; Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh; Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock; His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen; Kings Theatre, Glasgow; Perth Concert Hall.