Capital Theatres remembers John Byrne

John Byrne © Jane Barlow.jpg

We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of John Byrne. John was one of Scotland’s greatest artists and the legacy he leaves is second to none. His theatre career has inspired multiple generations of audiences, writers, directors, performers and designers.

We were privileged to work with John when Capital Theatres commissioned All the World’s a Stagea beautiful and striking artwork painted on the King’s Theatre dome. We will treasure and honour his legacy for years to come.

Fiona Gibson, Chief Executive of Capital Theatres said:

"Everyone at Capital Theatres is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of John Byrne, who played such a crucial role in the arts in Scotland. We will miss his brilliance and unique spirit immensely. Our sincerest condolences are with his wife Jeanine, his family and friends at this very sad time.”

John Byrne © Ron O’Donnell.jpg

Much photographed and cherished, John Byrne’s contemporary addition to the King's historic auditorium is one of the largest public artworks by one of Scotland’s greatest artists. Taking its name from the opening line of Jacques’ famous monologue in  As You Like It - All the World’s a Stage is a beautiful design, a vivid and colourful play on duality that is rich in theatrical motifs. 

John Byrne, explaining the origin of the commission, said: "When my partner and I went to the King's to see the splendid West End touring production of The Ladykillers (2012), we glanced up at the dome and noticed that part of it had been replastered, which made us wonder what was going to happen with it. You can imagine my surprise and delight when a few weeks later I was asked if I would like to accept the commission to provide a new design for the dome. I jumped at the chance!" 

John and his team, which included his daughter Celie and scenic artist Kevin Leary, worked on the decorative restoration measuring 78.5 sq/m over a six-week period. They painted on a wooden platform 100 feet above the ground floor of the King’s Theatre. The new dome design was unveiled on 6 August 2013 and was on public display until the closure of the King’s Theatre for a major redevelopment in August 2022.  

JB Dome ©.jpg

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