Past event | Joan Eardley: A Private View

In May 2017 to coincide with our Joan Eardley | A Sense of Place exhibition (Sat 3 Dec 2016 - Sun 21 May 2017) National Galleries of Scotland presented the world premiere of Heroica Theatre Company’s play Joan Eardley: A Private View at Modern Two, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Eardley’s studio set, Modern Two. Image courtesy of Heroica Theatre Company.
Alexandra Mathie as Joan Eardley. Image courtesy of Heroica Theatre Company.

Joan Eardley: A Private View was written by Anna Carlisle, directed by Marilyn Imrie, with Alexandra Mathie in the role of Joan Eardley. 

The production had evolved over three years of collaboration between the National Galleries and Heroica through a series of public workshops and audience feedback sessions. Playwright Anna Carlisle outlined the development of the play in her Ideas in the Mind blog.

Clockwise from left: Alexandra Mathie as Eardley in Catterline, Ashley Smith as Margot Sandeman and John Kielty as Andrew Samson. Images courtesy of Heroica Theatre Company.

The play follows Eardley’s life from art school to artistic success exploring her joys, frustrations, disappointments and triumphs. 

The action takes in the Samson children of Glasgow’s bustling Townhead and the isolation she sought at the coastal village of Catterline in Aberdeenshire. The audience met Eardley’s friends Margot Sandeman, Angus Neil and Lil Neilson, all painters themselves, and photographer Audrey Walker all played by Ashley Smith and John Kielty.

The Edinburgh performances were followed by a tour of UK regional art galleries and arts centres in May and June 2017. Watch an excerpt from the Halifax performance here.

Joan Eardley in Catterline

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Pre-order Joan Eardley: Land & sea-A life in Catterline (paperback)


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This beautifully illustrated book on artist Joan Eardley is published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth in 2021. Joan Eardley, one of Scotland’s most loved artists, visited the coastal fishing village of Catterline in 1951 for the first time. It sparked a fascination that would last the rest of her life.

Focusing on Eardley’s relationship with Catterline, this book includes previously unpublished archival material as well as specially conducted interviews with many of those in the village who knew her best, shedding new light on Eardley’s life and artistic practice. A vivid portrait is painted both of Eardley and of the village, showing the vital part Catterline played in her development as an artist. 

Pre-order only. This book is not printed yet, copies are expected for dispatch mid-Summer

By Gráinne Rice, Adult Programme Coordinator