Trainspotting The generation defining novel, before it became a global success as a film, was a highly succesful and controversial stage play. It won the Sunday Times award for best new play. It is the story of Mark Renton and his friends in the Edinburgh heroin scene of the eighties.


Trainspotting has been, and still is, performed by various theatre companies throughout the world. Harry Gibson's production alone has toured extensively in Europe, the USA and Canada.


The first ever Trainspotting play was adapted by Harry Gibson and directed by Ian Brown for the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. As well as undertaking a myriad of other parts, the following actors played the following main roles:

-Ewan Bremner - Renton

-Malclom Shields - Begbie

-Susan Vidler - Alison

James Cunningham - Sick Boy/Tommy


Life's boring and futile. Wi start oaf wi high hopes, n then we bottle it. We realise we're all gaunny die withoot finding out the big answers. Basically, we live a short, disappointing life, and then we die. We fill oor lives wi shite, things like careers and relationships, tae delude oorselves that it isnae totally pointless. Smack's an honest drug, because it strips away the delsuions. Wi smack, whin ye feel good, ye feel immortal. Whin ye feel bad - ye see the misery o the world as it really is. Real life...

Irvine's Comment

Seeing my words performed by actors had a big impact on me. I went to see Ewan, Susan, Jim and Malcolm rehearse with Ian Brown at the Traverse in 1994. I was still really from being published and people were on the phone trying to cut film deals. I was thinking: 'it's only my scabby wee book, what the fuck is all the fuss about?' It was when I saw them doing their lines, the whole thing was removed from my head into the world, and I saw it for the first time how others were experiencing it. I felt the power of it for the first time. I walked out there believing that I had actually done something special. I knew it would be a great play.