As her last season at the helm of Glasgow’s famous lunchtime theatre series gets underway, Jemima Levick is looking back to where - and why - it all began.

“So many people got their first shots at writing or directing or acting here, we wanted to capture that spirit,” explains the outgoing artistic director of A Play A Pie and A Pint, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024.

“Founder David MacLennan gave me my first chance to commission work, back in 2007, and I have always been grateful for that. Also, this year, we received more submissions than we have ever had before from writers we did not know at all.”

She adds: “So in this 20th anniversary year, it felt right to be able to give more people their first shots.”

Glasgow Times: Jemima LevickJemima Levick (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

Theatre maker David MacLennan, who died in 2014, founded A Play A Pie and A Pint in 2004 and its core principle - to give emerging writers, actors and directors as well as established performers a platform - remains the same. 

Its global renown has enticed big name stars to perform in the basement theatre in Glasgow's West End - previous performers have included Elaine C Smith and Robbie Coltrane.

In addition, the David MacLennan Award is a bi-annual open writing competition with the winner having their play professionally produced.

Glasgow Times: David MacLennanDavid MacLennan (Image: Newsquest)

The Spring 2024 season will feature 18 plays, including this week’s opener, which runs until Saturday, February 24. JACK is a darkly comic monologue by Liam Moffat, about navigating a life of loss, love and hope with the help of man’s best friend.

Other highlights include Ellen Ritchie, with dark comedy Hotdog; and Éimi Quinn, with heartfelt comedy The Funeral Club about a group of friends from a teenage cancer ward who go on a diamond heist.

Jemima admits she is also particularly looking forward to the intriguing-sounding Lewis Capaldi Goes Tropical, a chaotic comedy by Raymond Wilson about a Glaswegian family whose illegal pet okapi is bought by the pop sensation.

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“I say this every season but there is truly a play for everyone here,” she says, adding with a laugh: “Lewis Capaldi is not actually in that play, by the way. It’s all very surreal.

“It is an upbeat season, with lots of comedy. I think we had a lot of heavy, hard-hitting drama last season, so it was fun to explore a different set of ideas.

"With the year everyone has had, feeling like the world is crumbling in on itself at times, we need some lightness and brightness and fun. Here, you can just come in and relax and forget real life for a while.”

Glasgow Times: Jemima in rehearsalsJemima in rehearsals (Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

Jemima is leaving Oran Mor after three years to become artistic director of the Tron Theatre following the departure of Andy Arnold. 

“I am delighted, and excited - and a bit terrified,” she says, of her move to the Tron. “It will be sad to leave Oran Mor, of course – Play Pie Pint is incredible, we are so fortunate to have so much talent in Scotland. And the audiences are amazing – they have such spirit of adventure.”

The thought of choosing a favourite play from the last three years is too much, she laughs.

“I couldn’t pick just one,” she says, in mock horror. “Scots!, the musical, was special, and I loved working with Jonathan Watson on Man’s Best Friend…but there have been so many highlights. I’d just love to do it all over again.”

She adds, smiling: “It’s a privilege to have been here.”

Tickets are now on sale for the spring season of A Play, A Pie and A Pint – check their website for details.