A Hebridean Happening for John McGrath

Sat 22 Jan 2022

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Call: 01851 708 480

sruth-mara and John Stahl invite you to a gathering to mark the 20th anniversary of playwright John McGrath’s death, as we ask: did a largely forgotten Hebridean play help kickstart the formation of his famous theatre company 7:84?

This is a free event but attendees are encouraged to make a donation to Leukaemia UK. Ticket holders will be sent a weblink 24 hours before the event begins.

Lewis-based actor John Stahl (Game of Thrones, High Road) has long been fascinated by John McGrath’s 1970 play Random Happenings in the Hebrides. For this special event he is joined by Dolina Maclennan (singer, actor, writer, broadcaster and former 7:84 cast member), playwright Alan Bissett, Scotsman theatre critic Joyce McMillan, and performers Daibhidh Walker, Laura Cameron-Lewis and Jane Paton to explore its legacy through conversation and readings from the play.

Random Happenings in the Hebrides premiered three years before John McGrath’s most famous play, The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black Black Oil. It was McGrath’s first ever Scottish production, and also the first time he’d written about the politics of the Highlands and Islands.

Random Happenings was staged at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre in 1970, directed by Richard Eyre with a cast including John Thaw, John Cairney and a young Denis Lawson. Half a century on it’s been almost forgotten. The Cheviot, McGrath’s second Scottish production (and 7:84 Scotland’s debut show), toured to community venues across the country three years later. It is now recognised as a landmark in Scottish theatre.

Join John Stahl and friends on 22 January, the 20th anniversary of John McGrath’s death, to explore the play’s legacy.

A Hebridean Happening for John McGrath is produced by sruth-mara and will be broadcast from Uig on the Isle of Lewis. We would like to thank Kate McGrath and the estate of John McGrath for allowing us to do this event, and also An Lanntair for allowing us to promote and ticket the event via its website.

Leukaemia UK 

John McGrath died from leukaemia on 22 January 2002.

Someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer every 16 minutes. Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK. Leukaemia UK supports those affected by leukaemia and other blood cancers through the physical, psychological and emotional uncertainty that may come with a diagnosis, working to fund innovative and effective research for better treatments and care.

Donate to Leukaemia UK here.

“John McGrath was a beacon to us all.”  – Bill Paterson

“No one since Joan Littlewood did more to advance the cause of popular theatre in Britain than John McGrath” – Michael Billington.