A RESCUE dog is set to enjoy 35 minutes of fame after winning a starring role on the Scottish stage.
Tara, a 10-year-old German shepherd and Hungarian hunting dog cross, will earn the equivalent of £500 an hour at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh.
The thespian canine beat off 34 rivals for the lead role as “Candy’s dog” in Of Mice and Men.
Tara will star alongside veteran actor and Porridge star Dudley Sutton.
She got her big break in the production following the death of Badger, the elderly dog originally lined up for the role.
Producers were forced to place an online ad in January asking pet owners to get in touch.
Casting director and producer of the show, Matthew Gale said: “We’ve had a fantastic turnout of really wonderfully behaved dogs. It was extremely difficult to choose between them, and in the end, one could not ignore Tara’s star presence and temperament.
“Presence certainly you judge just by people’s reaction and your own emotional reaction to a dog or an actor. And then obviously their demeanor or their temperament is very important – particularly as we don’t want to stress out any dog working for us.”
He added: “It was a difficult process, because obviously sometimes you look at an owner’s face and it’s like taking their christmas presents away.
“But as I explained to the owners – and the dogs if they were listening – show business is tough.”
In the play, Candy’s dog ends up being shot.
Mr Gale explained: “The dog is taken off stage to be shot, but should return for the curtain call.
Tara’s owner, Lydia Gschosmann (CORR), 28, said she had driven through a snowstorm to rescue the dog in Hungary.
She said: “I’m so shocked that she’s been chosen. There were so many great dogs.
“We’ve never had stage aspirations, but this is brilliant. She’s going to meet so many new friends.”
The original ad – posted online at the end of January – read: “Most breeds and sizes will be considered, but he or she should ideally look relatively elderly and have the appearance of a ‘working’ dog, and must have a calm temperament.
“The dog will be on stage for around five minutes in total, alongside Dudley Sutton, playing ‘Candy’ and on a lead at all times. “
“£300 per week will be paid to the dog and its owner.”
The dog will have to appear just seven times on stage, giving a total “acting” time of just 35 minutes.
That means the canine will earn the equivalent of £514 an hour, or almost 77 times the national minimum wage for an adult.
Set in America during the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men tells the story of George and Lennie, two brothers working on a ranch, desperately trying to make enough money to buy land of their own.
Candy is an old ranch hand who faces homelessness when he becomes too old to clean the bunkhouse. His only companion is his ancient beloved sheepdog, known only as “Candy’s dog”.
Tara can be seen on stage at the King’s between April 26 – 30.