John Byrne (playwright)

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John Byrne
Born (1940-01-06) 6 January 1940 (age 74)
Paisley, Scotland
Occupation Playwright/Artist
Alma mater Glasgow School of Art
Child(ren) John (b. 1964)
Celie (b. 1965)
Xavier and Honor (b. 1997)

John Byrne (born 6 January 1940) is a Scottish playwright and artist.

Life[edit]

John Byrne was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire where he grew up in the Ferguslie Park housing scheme and educated at the town's St Mirin's Academy before attending Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963. Byrne has received several Honorary Doctorates: in 1997 he was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Paisley, in 2004 he was made an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, in 2006 he was presented with an honorary doctorate from the Robert Gordon University Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen and in 2011 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Dundee. He is the father of actress Tilda Swinton's twin children.[1]

Works[edit]

Writer[edit]

Year Title Notes
1977 Writer's Cramp radio play[1]
1978 The Slab Boys
1979 The Loveliest Night of the Year
Normal Service
Hooray for Hollywood
Play for Today TV series
1980 Babes in the Wood
1981 Cara Coco
1984 Candy Kisses
Crown Court TV series
1985 London Cuckolds
1986 Scotch & Wry video
1987 Tutti Frutti
Double Scotch & Wry video
1988 Normal Service TV movie
Arena writer/director
1990 Your Cheatin' Heart TV series
1992 Colquhoun and MacBryde
1993 Screenplay writer/director
1997 The Government Inspector
2004 Uncle Varick
2008 Nova Scotia
2010 The Cherry Orchard

Art[edit]

From 1964 until 1966 he designed jackets for Penguin Books. Following unsuccessful experiences with London galleries he released (through London’s Portal Gallery) a series of works from 1967 under the pseudonym of "Patrick" he claimed were created by his father, an alleged self-taught painter of faux-naïf images.[2] These works began to meet with some success and his painting career commenced.

As well as designing the settings for his own plays Byrne, in collaboration with director Robin Lefrevre, also designed the settings for Snoo Wilson's The Number of the Beast (Bush 1982) and Clifford Odets' The Country Girl (Apollo Theatre 1983).[3]

Byrne has also designed record covers for Donovan, The Beatles, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly. Singer-songwriter Rafferty's song Patrick is written about Byrne (the lyrics begin: "Patrick my primitive painter of art/You will always and ever be near to my heart"), and the pair co-wrote several songs together.

He illustrated Selected Stories by James Kelman, winner of the 1994 Booker Prize. His work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad. Several of his paintings hang in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, including portraits of Robbie Coltrane, Billy Connolly, Tilda Swinton (the mother of two of his children), and a self-portrait. Recent exhibitions: Open Eye Edinburgh, Glasgow Print Studio, Rendezvous Gallery Aberdeen, Fine Art Society London, Bourne Fine Art Edinburgh.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hampstead Theatre programme, 7 August 1979
  2. ^ "Byrne biography". Portal Gallery. Retrieved on 5 February 2010.
  3. ^ Bush Theatre programme notes for Candy Kisses, May 1984

External links[edit]