CREATING a musical about home and heritage – with some epic storylines and an impressive transatlantic collaboration at its heart – made Scott Gilmour think about his own roots.

“It’s the whole idea of where you come from as the place you are bound to, but equally that moment when you think – should I explore beyond those borders?” explains the 27-year-old actor and writer.

Scott and fellow Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate Claire McKenzie, who set up Noisemaker Theatre Company together, have written the ‘Scottish half’ of Atlantic, part of a collaboration between the RCS and the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Chicago’s Northwestern University.

Their story – Atlantic: A Scottish Story – is paired with the AMTP's Atlantic: America and The Great War, and the two ambitious productions run on alternate nights throughout the Edinburgh Fringe. They are being performed by students from both institutions.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which celebrates its 170th anniversary this year, will take three musical theatre productions to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – which is also celebrating in 2017, as it marks its 70th birthday.

As well as the two Atlantic pieces, Musical Theatre Masters students from the Royal Conservatoire will present Into the Woods at the Assembly Hall.

“It’s been really exciting to work on this project, although it has meant lots of conference calls at weird times of the day,” grins Scott, a former pupil of Duncanrig Secondary School in East Kilbride.

“We spent some time in Chicago, and the American team came over here, so it has been a fantastic opportunity to work in collaboration like this.”

Since forming Noisemaker, Scott and Claire, who is originally from Newcastle, have worked throughout the UK and internationally and have picked up a number of prestigious awards including Best Production for Children and Young People at the UK Theatre Awards last year, for Little Red and the Wolf.

The duo are not afraid to take on a challenge.

A previous musical production, The Girl Who, had 128 possible endings, depending upon the choices made by the audience at each performance.

“We like to play around with structure,” grins Scott.

“Especially in musical theatre, which many people, especially in Scotland I think, expect to take certain formats - maybe some jazz hands in there…”

He laughs: “That’s really not the focus of our work. Funnily enough, Atlantic is probably the most linear of structures we have had in our productions - it's the story of one woman's life, so it's a bit different for us too."

He adds: “When you look back, really as far as you can go, music has always been part of Scottish theatre and storytelling, but it’s not a musical in the sense you might think of. Musicals were maybe seen as a bit elitist, with big companies and big money on board.

“We wanted to play around with the structure and challenge those ideas of what musical theatre is.”

Atlantic: A Scottish Story is set in the early 1800s on a Scottish island, where a young couple stand at the shore and long to discover what’s beyond.

When the boy leaves for a new life in America, the girl must find a way to live, and the show looks at the ties we have to home and how difficult it can be to escape them.

Scott says: “We’re returning to the roots of classic musical storytelling in A Scottish Story, combining Scottish folk music and myth to create a piece that feels of the time but also relevant to our lives today.”

He adds: “One idea we kept returning to was the question - is it a curse to stay, or a curse to leave your homeland?

“I suppose it’s those themes – of identity and heritage and adventure that made us both think about our own roots.

“For me, growing up in East Kilbride, I knew that was my home – I’d lived there all my life, my parents had lived there for years and even my grandparents were from the same area.

He adds: “But I knew, at the age of 17 or 18, that I wanted to get out and see the world. I think most people have that moment of wanting to dip their toe in the water, of exploring outside the boundaries and it doesn’t always have to be when you are young, either.

“My parents, for example, have just decided to give up their jobs to run a business – which is something completely new for them.

"It's that feeling of the horizon looking a little bit different now and asking – is what’s in front of me exactly what I have to do? Or could there be something else?”

Atlantic: A Scottish Story and Atlantic: America and The Great War, are at The Rainy Hall at Edinburgh’s Assembly Hall until August 27.