A Gambler's Guide to Dying

Traverse Theatre Company By Gary McNair

Available Thu 17 Dec - Wed 27 Jan

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What are the odds of living an extraordinary life?

This is the story of one boy’s granddad who won a fortune betting on the 1966 football World Cup and, when diagnosed with cancer, gambled it all on living to see the year 2000.

An intergenerational tale of what we live for and what we leave behind.

Having played to sell-out audiences when it premiered at the Traverse Festival – winning a Fringe First and the Holden Street Theatre Award – A Gambler’s Guide to Dying has since been performed around the world.

This festive season, Gary McNair’s soul-stirring tale comes home to Scotland as this exciting new theatrical capture, filmed on location around Glasgow and Traverse 1, transports you to the very heart of the story.

Written and performed by Gary McNair (Locker Room Talk, Square Go), this new presentation of A Gambler’s Guide to Dying is co-directed by the show’s original stage director Gareth Nicholls (Ulster American, Crocodile Fever) and Siri Rødnes, with original composition by Michael John McCarthy.

A Gambler’s Guide to Dying was first performed at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Made in Scotland Edinburgh Festival Showcase on 6th August 2015. It was presented by Gary McNair with Show and Tell and directed by Gareth Nicholls.

The Traverse is funded by Creative Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council, with additional support from The Scottish Government Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund.

Design: Mihaela Bodlovic; Photography: Jassy Earl

Watch the trailer


Winner - Fringe First Award

Winner - Holden Street Theatre Award

'It is the best of fireside tales, told by one of Scotland’s finest writer-storytellers – heart-warming, human, searching, and just a touch mysterious, as only the best of stories can be.' ★★★★ The Scotsman

‘Gary McNair shines in this beautifully written, deceptively simple, warmly comic piece that accumulates layers of meaning through the act of storytelling itself. Rich and earthily funny – a genuine pleasure.’ ★★★★ Guardian [on stage show]

‘An amusing and affecting monologue… one of the hits of the Edinburgh Fringe.’ ★★★★ The Times [on stage show]


  • Writer & PerformerGary McNair
  • Co-DirectorGareth Nicholls
  • Co-DirectorSiri Rødnes
  • Director of PhotographySteve Cardno
  • EditorNatalie McGowan
  • Composer & Sound DesignerMichael John McCarthy
  • Sound RecordistJaime Sotelo
  • Sound RecordistKyle Allan

Behind the Scenes