Play telling story of SNP politician’s mysterious death comes to Dundee

Dundee Rep (stock image)

A hit play is returning to Dundee after a four-year absence.

Andy Paterson’s one-man show 3,000 Trees: The Death of Mr William MacRae makes its return to the city’s Rep Theatre on Friday June 22.

The play tells the story of the mysterious death of SNP politician and anti-nuclear campaigner Willie MacRae. It was first performed in 2014 and went on a sell-out run.

Mr MacRae’s death prompted speculation that he was murdered by the state. He was found dying in his car on a Highland road in 1985 with a single gunshot wound to the head, apparently fired from his own gun.

The play asks whether he was under surveillance on the day he died and whether he was killed to protect government interests.

The play takes the audience on a journey from Mr MacRae’s service as an officer in the Royal Indian Navy — where he was marked out as “subversive” for supporting Indian independence — through his anti-nuclear campaigning, his involvement with radical groups and on to his death.

The story of the complex and sometimes troubled Mr MacRae is told from his perspective.

Now on its third tour, the play is described as “moving and thought-provoking”, offering a reminder of dark political times that resonates today.

Neither Mr MacRae’s medical reports nor the post mortem examination data have been released to the public and there was no fatal accident inquiry.

The official verdict on his death was “undetermined”.

Mr MacRae’s work creating a legal maritime framework for Israel and as an academic in Haifa led to the title of the play.

Tickets for the play, costing £10, are available from