John Byrne (playwright)
6 January 1940 |
|Alma mater||Glasgow School of Art|
John Byrne was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, where he grew up in the Ferguslie Park housing scheme and was educated at the town's St Mirin's Academy before attending Glasgow School of Art (1958–63). Byrne has received several Honorary Doctorates: In 1997, from the University of Paisley; in 2006, from the Robert Gordon University Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen; in 2011, from the University of Dundee; and in 2015, from the University of Stirling. In 2004, he was made an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy. He is the father of twins with actress Tilda Swinton.
John Byrne is best known as a playwright for The Slab Boys Trilogy. He has also been regarded as one of Scotland's foremost television writers. He had also designed for the Traverse, 7:84, Hampstead Theatre, Bush Theatre, Scottish Opera and the Citizens Theatre. For the original 7:84 production of The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black Black Oil he designed a seven-foot-high pop-up book of stage designs, which is now held in the National Library of Scotland.
As an artist, Byrne's first London one-man show was held at the Portal Galley in 1967, while he was working as a carpet designer with A.F Stoddart in Elderslie. His work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad.
|1977||Writer's Cramp||radio play|
|1978||The Slab Boys|
|1979||The Loveliest Night of the Year|
|Hooray for Hollywood|
|Play for Today||TV version of The Slab Boys|
|1980||Babes in the Wood|
|Crown Court||TV series|
|1986||Scotch & Wry||video|
|1987||Tutti Frutti||BAFTA award-winning series for BBC Television|
|Double Scotch & Wry||video|
|1988||Normal Service||TV movie|
|1990||Your Cheatin' Heart||TV series|
|1992||Colquhoun and MacBryde|
|1997||The Government Inspector|
|2006||Tutti Frutti||Stage adaptation for the National Theatre of Scotland, co-produced by His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen|
|2010||The Cherry Orchard|
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. 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).
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. 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.
- "This Charming Man". Leither Magazine. 19 April 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
We meet Mr Byrne – son of a pools winner (Zetters – £250) – in Leith’s Café Truva, where he is chuckling over my repeating The New Statesman’s assertion that he was ‘Paisley’s first postmodernist’
- "John Byrne and 'Cheviot' set - National Library of Scotland". www.nls.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
- Hampstead Theatre programme, 7 August 1979
- "Byrne biography". Portal Gallery. Retrieved on 5 February 2010.
- Bush Theatre programme notes for Candy Kisses, May 1984
- John Byrne at the Internet Movie Database
- Unofficial website
- Works in the National Galleries of Scotland
- Brief biography on paisley.org.uk
- John Byrne interviewed in 2008 by Jennie Renton
- Interview with the National Theatre of Scotland