Irvine Welsh is adapting ‘Trainspotting’ into a stage musical

The musical will span a variety of genres, including techno, urban house and disco

Irvine Welsh has confirmed he is working on a stage musical version of his book Trainspotting, which was famously adapted into the 1996 film.

The cult story was originally given a stage version soon after the book was published in 1993, and included eventual film star Ewen Bremner. It was also recently adapted for immersive experience Trainspotting Live, which is due to return next year.

However, Welsh has now revealed he is collaborating with songwriting partner Steve McGuinness and producer Phil McIntyre on a musical version for the West End, which will span a variety of genres including techno, urban house and disco.


“I don’t want to jinx something that’s in development, but my songwriting partner Steve and I have done 14 brand new songs for a Trainspotting musical,” he said (via Daily Record).

Irvine Welsh
‘Offended by Irvine Welsh’ investigates the harmful effects of ‘cancel culture’ on art. Credit: Sky Arts

“We do a kind of techno act together, but we’ve stepped up to write urban house, blues, jazz, disco and rock ‘n’ roll songs and power ballads.

“We’ve got the songs and we’ve got a script for it. We’re looking at things like casting, choreographers and set designers.

“We’re looking at doing it about a year from now at the earliest, but I think we’ll probably try to go straight into the West End. That’s the ambition for it.”

Robert Carlyle as Begbie in ‘Trainspotting’. CREDIT: Alamy


Alongside the musical, a TV adaptation of Welsh’s The Blade Artist is also in the works, with Robert Carlyle due to reprise his role as Begbie.

“Irvine [Welsh] and myself have been chatting quite a lot recently with a couple of excellent producers in London about [continuing the Trainspotting story],” Carlyle recently told NME.

“As you know there was another book called The Blade Artist which is just entirely about Begbie and his mad story. It’s still in its early moments but it’s looking pretty good that this will happen eventually.”

Welsh has written a number of other books set in Trainspotting‘s world, including 2002 sequel Porno, 2012 prequel SkagboysThe Blade Artist and 2018 sequel Dead Man‘s Trousers.

The original Trainspotting film was followed up in 2017 with sequel T2 Trainspotting, which saw original stars Bremner, Carlyle, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Kelly Macdonald all return.