A NEW show from the National Theatre of Scotland exploring identity in an ever-changing world will feature its biggest cast yet.

Joining the cast of multi-media performance event Them! will be 150,000 leafcutter ants, supplied by Bonnybridge-based ant expert Andrew Stephenson.

The industrious insects will help turn Glasgow’s Tramway into a setting for the show, which is partly inspired by a B-movie of the same name.

In the 1954 film, a “horror horde” of giant irradiated ants attacks Los Angeles. The mutant result of an atomic bomb, the ants are never mentioned by name, says Stewart Laing, who directs Them! as first project in his role as associate director with the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS).

In the first section of the three-part piece, Australian actress Kiruna Stamell, plays the host of a live chat show.

Joining her on the couch will be Rosina Bonsu, Ross Mann and Zachary Hing performing as people involved in a modern-day remake of the 50s film.

Each of the performer’s characteristics will contribute to a narrative exploring what makes us who we are.

“It’s a sort of classic Graham Norton format interview show,” says Laing, who notes how the piece, written by his long-term collaborator Pamela Carter, is also inspired by a real episode of the show where Emily Blunt and Ben Whishaw talked to Norton about their work in Mary Poppins Returns.

“In the original movie, the ants are only ever described as ‘them’,” Laing says. “What we’re doing in a contemporary context, is asking: who are ‘them’? Who do we other, who is the enemy? With the idea of a remake, the idea of taking something old and trying to put new life into it, we are exploring this idea of changing identity. If you are unhappy with what you have, how do you change yourself? What is the process of personal change?”

He adds: “There is a huge focus on personal identity in our current culture. Social media is very much a part of that, how people stand out from the crowd, or come together in tribes.”

Central to the production is Eugene Kelly from legendary Scots indie band The Vaselines, who appears in Them! via film clips, and music composed and performed live by Carla J Easton and her band.

“Expectations will be subverted from beginning to end,” says the NTS of the production, and Laing is keeping quiet on the other two parts of the show. “We don’t have a curtain at Tramway 1 but I like that idea of sitting there waiting for it to go up when you’re not quite sure what to expect,” he says. “That’s what really excites me when I go to the theatre.”

June 27 to July 6, Tramway, Glasgow, 7.30pm, £15, £12.

Tel: 0845 330 3501.