London theatregoers will not, after all, have a chance to see the National Theatre of Scotland hit Black Watch in the capital this summer. Gregory Burke’s play about the renowned military troop, premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, was due to be re-mounted this May/June in London, co-produced by the Barbican as part of its BITE:07 schedule. But those plans have now been scrapped following problems in securing a suitable temporary venue for the large-scale, site-specific production.

A statement released to Whatsonstage.com explains: “The National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch is currently playing to capacity audiences throughout Scotland (to date over 8,000 tickets have been sold) and continues to attract serious interest from promoters worldwide. We have been working closely with the Barbican to stage the production in London in late spring 2007. As yet, it has not been possible to secure a venue suitable for the unique nature of the production. We are confident that Black Watch will appear outside Scotland later in 2007. In this respect, we will continue to explore possible venues in London and beyond.”

The first big hit for the fledgling NTS, Black Watch is an unauthorised biography of the legendary Scottish military troop of the title, written by Gregory Burke (whose other plays include Gagarin Way and The Straits) based on interviews with soldiers who served in Iraq.

In addition to a Fringe First at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, where it was presented in a drill hall, Black Watch was nominated for Best Regional Production in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards and was the surprise winner of the Theatre prize in the eleventh annual South Bank Show Awards, held in January.

The show’s 2007 tour – which reunited the eight original cast members (David Colvin, Ali Craig, Emun Elliott, Ryan Fletcher, Peter Forbes, Paul Rattray and Nabil Stuart) under the direction once again of John Tiffany – opened on 14 March 2007 at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. It’s currently sold out in Glasgow, after which it visits Dumfries and Aberdeen, where the schedule concludes on 18 May.

An NTS spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com that international dates will be announced shortly and that this premiere production of Black Watch will continue to have a future life for the next year. She reiterated that NTS and the Barbican are still looking at options with the hope of bringing the play to London at a later date.

NTS is currently represented in the capital by Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which finishes its run at the Royal Court this Saturday (21 April) and Aalst, about a double infanticide in Belgium, which opens tomorrow (18 April, preview tonight) at Soho Theatre before continuing on tour until 19 May (See News, 12 Dec 2006).

- by Terri Paddock