Blanche & Butch

Birds of Paradise and Tron Theatre present Blanche & Butch by Robert Softley Gale

It was the best idea they’d ever had – three disabled drag queens – called ‘Heelz n Wheelz’ – it was sensational! But when the sparkles fade and tensions rise, a new way forward is needed. Join our stars backstage as they now tour the first ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ to star an ‘actually disabled’ Blanche. It’s seen better days and so have they. What can possibly go wrong as they pull back the curtain on their lives, loves and loses?

Starring Robert Gale, Garry Robson and Kinny Gardner with live music performed by Amelia Cavallo. Directed and designed by Kenny Miller with original songs from Akintayo Akinbode, ‘Blanche & Butch’ promises to be a night of outrageous unPCness, high quality campness and deeply touching stories of three men who span the generations.

The award-winning Birds of Paradise Theatre Company with Tron Theatre bring you a dazzling new production inspired by Noel Greig’s 2006 play. Blanche & Butch tells the witty and poignant story of the lives, loves and losses of the three disabled men who used to be the sensational Heelz on Wheels. There’s not much sensation now…

“Performed with a fabulously brazen swagger that dares to make the (usually) unspeakable into shockingly funny entertainment that ambushes your heart as well.”
★★★★ The Herald

“Birds of Paradise aren’t trying to shock you for no reason. They’re challenging political correctness and audience ideas. And they do it so well.”
★★★★★ Broadway World

“Blanche and Butch is a twisted mix of camp, drama, comedy and music that is both glamorous and sharp.”
★★★★ The Wee Review


BSL Interpreter – Amy Cheskin – is fully integrated within the production and captioning plays on a screen within the set.

Description during the show will be delivered to headsets via one of the onstage characters, Wendy.  Join Stage Manager Wendy for the backstage gossip and her take on Blanche, Butch and Bette as the relationships of these three men are tested.  Please come to the theatre early for a pre-show intro and to get settled in your seat – it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Blanche & Butch

Written by Robert Softley Gale

Presented by Birds of Paradise Theatre and Tron Theatre


Robert Softley Gale – Blanche
Garry Robson – Butch
Kinny Gardner – Bette
Amelia Cavallo – Keys
Amy Cheskin – BSL Interpreter
Cara Ballingall – Wendy

Blanche and Butch were originally characters in the late lamented Noel Greig’s 2006 play with songs Heelz on Wheels produced by Fittings MMA and directed by Russell Barr. Original production featured Garry and Robert with Mark Beer and Sally Clay.

Creative Team

Robert Softley Gale – Writer & Lyricist
Kenny Miller – Director & Designer
Tayo Akinbode – Composer
Amelia Cavallo – Musical Director
Philip Osment – Dramaturgy
Grant Anderson – Lighting Designer
Darren Brownlie – Movement Director
Fraser Macleod – Assistant Director
Jennie Lööf – Wardrobe
Amy Cheskin –  BSL translation
Christopher McKiddie – Audio Description Writer
Philippa Clark – Cabaret Development Facilitator

Production Team

Colin Bell – Production Manager
Avalon Hernandez – Stage Manager
Daniel Thompson – Technical Stage Manager
Sophie Wall – PA to Amelia Cavallo
Cassie Dickson – Rehearsal Assistant
Jamie Rae – BSL Trailer presenter
Glenda Carson – Captioning consultant

For BOP Theatre

Robert Softley Gale – Artistic Director
Garry Robson – Artistic Director
Mairi Taylor – Executive Producer
Michelle Rolfe – Assistant Producer
Callum Madge – Projects Officer
Joy Parkinson – Press Coordination

BOP Thanks

James Collins for use of “I don’t do drag”, Outspoken, Everyone at Tron Theatre, Amble Skuse, National Theatre of Scotland, Mark Cameron, Carol Chambers, Eamonn McCarron, Kevin Murray, Scottish Youth Theatre, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Lyceum Theatre, Dundee Rep, Steve Mackluskie, Colin Stephen, Sean Clark, Matic Media, Citizen’s Theatre, Amy Sinead Moran



Kenny Miller - Director & Designer

Kenny Miller is a freelance designer and director who was for many years Head of Design/Associate Director at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow and is currently Associate Artist: Designer for the Sherman Theatre, Cymru.

He has worked in Theatre and Opera both nationally and internationally, designing and directing for many companies such as: Royal Court Theatre London, Royal Shakespeare Company, Oxford Stage Company, Hampstead Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Palace Theatre Watford, Greenwich Theatre, Bush Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Tron Theatre and Dundee Rep Theatre…

He has won three Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for: Scrooge (Best Production), Smoking With Lulu (Best Technical), and A Little Bit of Ruff (Best Ensemble). He has also won the Manchester Evening News Award for 10 Rillington Place (Best Designed Production).

He recently directed Witness for the Prosecution (also designed, Dundee Rep), And Then There Were None (also designed, Dundee Rep), Face, Jacquoranda, directed and designed April in Paris & And The Beat Goes On (Perth Theatre), The Chooky Brae by Daniel C Jackson (Borderline Theatre & National Tour) and directed and designed Snout, The Seagull, Company Policy, Romeo and Juliet and Don Giovanni for Oran Mór’; designed Born Bad and directed and designed Pinocchio for Scottish Youth Theatre and Harold and Maude and Days of Wine and Roses for Theatre Jezebel of which he is a founding member.

Most recent design work includes Cuttin’ A Rug (Citizens’ Theatre & Royal Lyceum Edinburgh), The Weir, Bird (& Royal Exchange Manchester), A Doll’s House & Romeo and Juliet (Sherman Cymru); The Tin Forest (National Theatre of Scotland), The Dolls – Abroad (National Tour); Macbeth & Blithe Spirit (Perth Theatre), In An Alien Landscape (Beacon Arts Centre) and The Man Who Lived Twice (Arches Theatre) for Bird’s of Paradise Theatre Company both of which toured Nationally, The Snaw Queen, Sleeping Betty (& Directed), Miracle on 34 Parnie Street, Peter Panto and the Incredible Stinkerbell (& Directed), Cannibal Women of Mars, Aganeza Scrooge, Plume, Mister Merlin’s Pure Panto Magic, Flo White and Valhalla! (Tron Theatre), Casablana: The Gin Joint Cut for the Tron Theatre, Edinburgh Festival & National Tour, Marilyn for the Citizens’ Theatre & Royal Lyceum Edinburgh.

Robert Softley Gale - Writer and Actor

Robert is an established figure in the Scottish arts scene. His professional acting debut was in 2002 and since then he has appeared in many productions – including co-writing and performing in Girl X for National Theatre of Scotland. His award-winning solo performance – If These Spasms Could Speak – was a hit of the 2013 Made in Scotland programme and has subsequently toured internationally to countries including Brazil, Estonia, the USA, Ireland and India. For BOP he has directed the smash-hit sex comedy Wendy Hoose and Purposeless Movements, for which he was nominated for a CATS Best Director award.

Garry Robson - Actor

Garry Robson has directed over 40 professional productions here and abroad receiving awards including a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award and a Herald Angel. He was Artistic Director of DaDaFest International 2008 & 2010, establishing DaDaFest as one of the key International Festivals for Deaf and Disability Arts and performance worldwide. As an actor He has performed in numerous roles on TV and Radio in many of the major theatres in the UK in a range of classics and new works. He’s looking forward to donning a frock once more in the never-ending story that is Heels on Wheels.

Kinny Gardner - Actor

Kinny is from Leith, is Hard of Hearing and is 58 years old. Studied Classical Ballet and at The Martha Graham School with Martha Graham herself. West End credits: ‘Godspell’, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, ‘The Mousetrap’ and ‘ Chicago’. Rep. and tours include: ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, ‘Marat/Sade’, ‘The Threepenny Opera’, ‘Assassins’ and ‘Cabaret’.
Kinny is a principle guest solo artist with The Lindsay Kemp Company with whom he has toured the world in ‘Flowers’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Big Parade’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Variete’ and ‘The Last Dance of Elizabeth the First’. He retains the honour of being the only person permitted to re-create a Kemp company work outside of Lindsay Kemp’s own, re-staging ‘Variete’ for Youth Music Theatre U.K.
He is Artistic Director of Krazy Kat Theatre Company and a Development Adviser to BBC Cbeebies.
Awards: BBC Community Hero Award, British Citizens Award, British Empire Medal for services to Theatre and Disability (Queen’s Birthday Honours List).

Amelia Cavallo - Actor & Musical Director

Headshot of Amelia Cavallo
Amelia Cavallo is a blind performer from the USA with experience in acting, singing, dancing, aerial circus and burlesque. She is also a multi-instrumentalist, musical director and composer. Recent stage performances include Tommy (Ramps On The Moon) Into The Woods (Royal Exchange Manchester) A Winter’s Tale (Taking Flight Theatre), Beauty and The Beast (Theatre Royal Stratford) and The Threepenny Opera (Graeae Theatre Company) She has also composed, MDed and performed in original works called Sailing Through The Dark (Liberty Festival) and I Breathe (Flying Diplodocus). She also works as a freelance MD and composer for PAD Productions, Extant Theatre and with her band, Sunshine Savage. Amelia was a sway pole performer in the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, and also performed at the cultural Olympiad in Rio with Graeae Theatre’s production of The Garden in September, 2016. When not on stage, behind a musical instrument or dangling from a height, Amelia can be found working towards her Phd in disability politics and theatrical performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. For more information visit

Amy Cheskin - BSL Performance Interpreter

Amy Cheskin is an experienced Sign Language Performance Interpreter. Graduating from Bristol University in 2008 with specialist knowledge in Sign Language Literature and Performance, Amy has since performed at Tramway, Citizen’s Theatre, RCS, CCA Glasgow, Eden Court, Dundee Rep, as well as the Traverse and Assembly & Zoo venues in Edinburgh. Previously regaling the sides, she made her main stage debut with delightful presence in the beautifully crafted Purposeless Movements by Birds of Paradise (2016). Originally pursuing the dream of becoming a ballet dancer, her ambition faltered on the discovery that she has two left feet.

Cara Ballingall - Actor

Cara Ballingall headshot
Cara Ballingall is an actor and musician from Edinburgh, who trained with National Youth Theatre and Guildford School of Acting. Theatre credits include: Young Chekhov: Ivanov (Royal National Theatre), Alice’s Adventure’s Underground (Les Enfants Terribles, Olivier-nominated), Lost at Sea(Finborough Theatre), Stars Over Kabul (Tramway Theatre). She was the Piano-conductor for the Olympics and Paralympics Team Welcome Ceremonies for London 2012, and has created work with the Smooth Faced Gentlemen and Cr8tive Collective. Training: Guildford School of Acting and National Youth Theatre.

Tayo Akinbode - Composer

I was born in London to Nigerian parents and discovered theatre at the Royal Court’s Activists Youth Theatre. At 18 I went to Manchester to work on the stage crew at the Royal Exchange Theatre for 3 months but didn’t return home. Three years later, Manchester Youth Theatre asked me to write some music for their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I have subsequently been a composer and MD for numerous companies such as: Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, The Generating Company, OCT East, Shenzen, Almeida Theatre, Littlebigman Films, Nottingham Playhouse, Eclipse, New York Public Theater, The National Theatre, Specsavers, Spirit of the Union UAE 40th Birthday celebrations in Abu Dhabi.

Recent work includes: Junkyard for Headlong Theatre Company, Aladdin for Theatr Clwyd, Omeros, Twelfth Night for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Listening Project theme for BBC radio 4, Sylvia South the Word Catcher for Spark Arts Theatre Company, King Lear for Royal Exchange/Talawa, Othello for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Tempest for Singapore Repertory Theatre, 2 Gentlemen of Verona, Julius Caesar and Stig of the Dump for Storyhouse Chester, Sponge for Turned on it’s head.

Philip Osment - Dramaturg

Philip wrote a series of Devon plays which were directed by Mike Alfreds and himself directed landmark productions for Gay Sweatshop in the 1980s, including Poppies, Compromised Immunity and This Island’s Mine, and for Theatre Centre and Red Ladder in the 1990s. More recently, he created and directed Mad Blud (a verbatim play about knife crime) for Theatre Royal Stratford East and wrote and co-directed Inside (about young fathers in prison) for his company Playing ON at the Roundhouse. He has also directed for the National Theatre Studio, Bristol Old Vic and three productions for Graeae including his own translation of George Dandin. His play Whole won the Writers’ Guild Award for Theatre Play for Young People in 2013 and in 2014 he created a new adaptation of Kes with Kully Thiarai for CAST in Doncaster. His play about mental health, HEARING THINGS, presented by Playing ON has played at London venues and at the Latitude Festival 2017 and will be seen at Birmingham Rep’s Bedlam Festival on October 21st.

Grant Anderson - Lighting Designer

Grant is a Lighting Design graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Select credits include: Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs (Edinburgh International Festival); The Broons national tour (Sell A Door); Cuttin’ A Rug, Simon’s Magical Christmas Socks, Panic Patterns (Citizens Theatre); Submarine Time Machine, To Begin (National Theatre of Scotland Learn); Love Song, In My Father’s Words, Hecuba, Promises Promises, Baby Baby (Dundee Repertory Theatre); The Polar Bears Go Wild, Weans In The Wood, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast (Macrobert, Stirling); News Just In (Random Accomplice); And The Beat Goes On (Perth Theatre & Random Accomplice); Wendy Hoose (Birds of Paradise & Random Accomplice); Summer on Stage 2012 – 2016 (Lyceum Theatre); The Maw Broon Monologues, The Snaw Queen (Tron Theatre); Chess, Cabaret, 9 to 5,
Urinetown, Addams Family, Company (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); Little Red And The Wolf, Freak Show, Forest Boy, The Girl Who (Noisemaker). Grant has also, designed extensively for the Scottish Events Industry, including Botanic Lights 2015 Seasons In Colour and 2016 EXPLORE, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh as well as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Torchlight Procession & Street Party.

Fraser Macleod - Assistant Director

Fraser trained at Scottish Youth Theatre and Queen Margaret University College. Fraser has worked with Ickleflix, Theatre Jezebel, Licketyspit Theatre Company, East End Community Arts Project, UK Theatre School, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, Citizens Theatre Education Department, Cutting Edge Theatre Productions, Birds of Paradise, National Theatre of Scotland, Tron Theatre and Scottish Youth Theatre. In 2014 Fraser presented a workshop tilted ‘Creating Work with the Instant Generation’ at Performing the World in New York. In 2016 Fraser delivered ‘creative landscaping’ workshops in New Delhi, India for the British Council.

Directing Credits include
A Present State (Tron Studio/Tron Theatre), International Performing Company – The Tin Forest (SYT/NTS), Now’s the Hour (SYT/BBC), Instant (SYT/Glasgay), Tips – Development (Random Accomplice/Mary Gapinski), The Glasgow Passion (Cutting Edge Theatre Productions), It Wasn’t Me, It Was Goldilocks, Jack and the Magic Beans, The Princess and the Pea (SYT/Aberdeen Performing Arts), The Happiness Formula, Collateral Damage, The Sky is Falling, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, You Can’t Catch Me, Born Bad?, The Court of Miracles, The Ugly Duckling (SYT)

Jennie Lööf - Wardrobe

Swedish born Jennie Lööf is a Glasgow based costume maker/designer and sewing teacher.
Jennie began sewing at the age of 7, a skill that has been passed down through the Lööf family for generations. Since arriving in Glasgow in 2004 she has worked as a wardrobe supervisor and designer in Scottish professional theatre making costumes for countless shows. Jennie also runs her own fashion label ‘Jennie Lööf Clothes’ and is one of the founding members of Shawlands ‘Glad Rags’ Thrift Shop.


Intergenerational Cabaret

Join us at our Cabaret on Saturday 14th October at Summerhall, Edinburgh 9-11pm.  BOP, in partnership with Luminate and LGBT Age, presents an outrageous, accessible inter-generational cabaret featuring a cast of artists and performers who have taken part in our cabaret development project. Compered by Kinny Gardner and with performances threatened from the whole cast! BSL interpretation, live text and audio description. Booking essential, click here.

Poster for Blanche & Butch. Depicts a red velvet glove coming in from the left hand border, between the thumb and forefinger the gloved hand is holding a rat by the tail which dangles down the left hand border of the poster. The bottom of the poster shows a dark pool of water in which a red high heel and wheelchair are both half submerged. In the top half of the poster are the words "Blanche & Butch" in the style of the Hollywood sign, on the side of a mountain, with two spotlights picking out the words in their beams. The whole poster is bordered with light bulbs, like a dressing room mirror, though some of the bulbs have blown leaving gaps in the border.

Tour Dates

Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th September 2017 @ 7.45pm: Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Tuesday 19th September 2017 @ 7.30pm: Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Saturday 23rd September 2017@ 7.30pm: Macrobert, Stirling

Wednesday 27th September 2017 @ 7.30pm: The Byre, St Andrews

Thursday 28th September 2017 @ 7.30pm: Woodend Barn, Banchory

Monday 2nd October 2017@ 7.30pm: Eden Court, Inverness

Wednesday 4th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee

Thursday 5th October 2017@ 7.00pm: Platform, Glasgow

Saturday 7th October 2017@ 7.30pm: Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Tuesday 10th October 2017@ 8.00pm: The Gaiety, Ayr

Wednesday 11th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: CatStrand, Castle Douglas

Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: Summerhall, Edinburgh

Production Photographs