Top Scottish artistes meet at Hospitalfield

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A RARE public event which will bring together two artistes who have helped shape Scottish popular culture over the last 40 years will be hosted at Hospitalfield next Friday ( October 14).

Playwright and artist John Byrne, best known for ‘The Slab Boys’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’, will be ‘In Conversation’ with his old friend musician and songwriter Rab Noakes. Quirky observations, insights, laughs and music can be guaranteed along the way.

The two have a Hospitalfield connection. John Byrne spent time there as an art student in the 1960s, an experience he has described as “really magical”, and he returned this spring as an honorary patron.

Rab Noakes spent boyhood holidays in Arbroath and played to a capacity audience at Hospitalfield earlier this year.

From the early 1970s, John Byrne’s biography reflects his diverse talents, as a designer of theatre sets and record covers for Donovan, The Beatles, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly.

His first play ‘Writer’s Cramp’ (1977) was followed by ‘The Slab Boys’ (1978) and won him the Evening Standard’s most promising playwright award. In 1983 there was a New York production of ‘The Slab Boys’ with Sean Penn, Val Kilmer and Kevin Bacon.

In 1986 John wrote the immensely successful, six-time BAFTA award-winning television series ‘Tutti Frutti’ starring Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson. This was followed by another series ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ with Tilda Swinton and countless other plays and films to the present day.

His work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad. Several of his paintings hang in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the museum of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

In 2001 he was awarded an MBE in Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday honours list for services to literature and the theatre but returned it in protest at the British Government’s joining forces with the US administration’s invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. He was awarded an honorary degree by University of Dundee in 2011.

Rab Noakes, who has released 20 albums since emerging on the music scene in the 1970s, is well known for his creativity and input across music, media and production.

In addition to performing, he has made an impact through radio where for eight years he ran radio music and entertainment shows in Scotland for the BBC. Later, in 2000, he and his wife Stephanie Pordage set up their own record label, Neon Productions, through which they have released a range of material including three new discs last year: ‘Just in case - songs of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant’ , ‘Live at The Reid Hall’ and ‘Standing Up Again’.

Tickets cost £12 and can be reserved from or telephone Friends on 07825 872370.