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Dundee Outlander actor reveals new play telling story of Michelin factory closure

Mark Rannoch outside the former Michelin factory site.
Mark Rannoch outside the former Michelin factory site.

A Dundee actor who has appeared in Outlander is set to tell the story of the city’s Michelin factory closure in a new play.

Mark Rannoch’s show, It’s Always Sunny in Dundee, will feature a family impacted by the site in Douglas shutting down.

It will run at London’s Golden Goose Theatre in July.

The drama focuses on a father who loses his job as part of the Michelin closure, which was announced in 2018.

Staff walking out of the Michelin factory for the final time in 2020, led by a pipe band.

But it will also feature other parts of the city’s history, as it reveals how the mother of the family lost her job following the closure of the Timex plant in 1993.

Mark told The Courier: “I’ve had a few friends who worked at the factory, and when I started writing ideas for the play it was very much in the news about other factories closing around the UK.

“That made me aware of what was going in Dundee with the Michelin tyre factory, and also the history with the Timex factory.”

The Michelin factory site pictured in 1972, the year it opened.
Inside the Michelin factory in modern times.

The Michelin factory closed for good in 2020, resulting in the loss of about 850 jobs.

The site has since been transformed into the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc.

The factory produced more than 300 million tyres after opening inĀ 1971, employing thousands of people during its lifetime.

Timex and NCR closures

Mark says the play will look back at the end of industry and the changes in Dundee over the last 30 years as a result.

He said: “The wife in the play, Elaine, used to work at Timex.

“She speaks about the strikes and the effect it has on her life and the family.

The scene outside the Timex factory before it closed for good in 1993.

“We’ve also got snippets of the NCR factory closure, which employed around 6,000 people in the city at one point.”

The play will also examine modern Dundee, including the addition of the V&A to the city’s Waterfront and the changing cultures.

“The father is a bit more traditional, he likes going to older pubs where you can get cheap pints,” Mark said.

Mark hopes the play might eventually come to Dundee.

“There’s comment from that about how the city is transforming from an industrial, working place into more of a tech hub.

“It’s about the city, and I think everyone around the UK has seen a little bit of gentrification of areas which have been industrial manufacturing hubs.”

Mark was bought up in Craigiebank, attending Craigie High School and later Dundee and Angus College.

Dundee Rep ambitions

He spoke to The Courier previously after he was cast in Outlander, the hit series starring fellow Scottish actor Sam Heughan.

The play marks the first major production of his own, and he hopes to bring it to Dundee if it proves successful in London.

He said: “The dream would be that I’d love to perform it at the Dundee Rep where I went to see theatre when I was younger, but this is sort of testing the water in London.”

Michelin Dundee closure: From farmland to 300 million tyres produced in 50 years

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