John Byrne

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Plays by John Byrne

Cuttin' A Rug

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Thirty years since we last met him and Lucille in the Garden of Remembrance, Phil McCann faces the New Millennium with fortitude and good humour. The leading arts correspondent of the day is on her way to the far north to record a radio profile, which Paul is confident will relaunch his career as a painter and establish him once and for all as a colossus of contemporary Caledonian culture.

There are, however, a number of stumbling blocks on the road to Phil's rediscovery and the recognition of his genius, not least of which is his rocky marriage to much younger Didi, a video artist of some renown, who has just been nominated for the Turner Prize.

Then there's the old pal, Spanky, who turns up out of the blue with new bride, Lucille, on his arm...

Nova Scotia premiered at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in April 2008.

The Slab Boys

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

Still Life (Byrne)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

Tutti Frutti

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Twenty-three years on from their slightly dodgy, single foray into the charts, Scottish pop sensations The Majestics are mourning the loss of Bigg Jazza – their charismatic frontman – whose Ford Sierra just collided with a bus shelter via an unwelcome late-night kebab. With a Silver Jubilee tour booked, an album to cut and a TV documentary in the offing, can Jazza's brother, Danny, just washed up from New York with only four dollars to his name, save the day?

It was 1987 when John Bryne's award-winning comedy-drama burst onto the nation's TV screens, searing itself into a generation's consciousness in the process. Now he has adapted his own original script, as the National Theatre of Scotland and His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen, bring Vinne, Eddie Clockerty, Miss Toner, Suzi Kettles, Bomba et al. to the stage for the very first time.

The stage version of Tutti Frutti premiered at His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen, in September 2006.

John Byrne was born in Paisley in 1940. He worked as a 'slab boy' at AFT Stoddard, the carpet manufacturers, before going to Glasgow School of Art. He became a full time painter in 1968 following his first London exhibition. His plays include Nova Scotia, Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug, Still Life, Writer's Cramp, Normal Service, Cara Coco and Colquhoun and Macbryde. For TV, he is best known for his BAFTA award-winning series Tutti Frutti (adapted for the stage by National Theatre of Scotland, UK Tour). He is a distinguished theatre designer and has designed productions for the Traverse Theatre, 7:84, Hampstead Theatre, the Bush Theatre and Scottish Opera.