ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Thursday, 4 November 2010


As fundraising and planning for a tour of a show about Angus McPhee gets underway in the Horse + Bamboo office I dug out the old photo-files of the 1984 tour of the Outer Hebrides. Then, we performed inside a marquee, although the first scene of the show took place outside of the tent before the audience were invited to enter. That outdoor show could also be used as a stand-alone performance, and the top photograph above is that show taken, I think, at Leverburgh Festival on Harris. 

The other two photographs are of the company travelling. If anyone recognises where we were then please let me know. The bottom photograph is on a causeway (look carefully and you can see the horse-drawn wagons in the distance), probably around Creagorry, on Benbecula, and not so far from Iochdar, where Angus was born. The middle photograph may be on Barra, or possibly Harris? 

Helen has created a Mastersheet - a plan of how we intend to raise the money to undertake this project and tour. A raft of different sources will be approached to support the work, and the first letters and applications are beginning to be worked on as I write. One interesting thing is the discovery that 2011-12 will be the year of a festival focused on the islands, -a year of events and activities that will showcase Scotland’s islands’ cultures and creativity, and called, not surprisingly 'Scotland's Islands'.

The festival will aim 'to raise the profile of the islands, attract new visitors, bolster community and economic development and strengthen links between the islands and mainland cultural organisations', and although co-incidental with our project, it may well be a perfect match.


  1. The middle picture is I think on Harris leaving Northton. Can't help with the causeway one except to say only Harris has quite such bare rock. Maybe near Luskentyre. I saw you lot in Lochmaddy on the football pitch and was stunned and inspired. It was my ideal of theatre's relationship to community. And the play involved I think a critique of telly! I am a friend of Chris Spears who I visited this summer just after you I think. I live in Cornwall now. My name is Jo Salter. I was involved in the early years of Taigh Chearsabhagh and was there when we had the Angus MacPhee exhibition which coincided with his death. I believe that Curly (Norman) Macleod, nanager of Taigh Chearsabhagh has a pair of Angus's boots. All the best. And thanks for that tour all that time ago. Jo

  2. Hello Jo. I've just noticed your comment - and thank you for identifying where the photograph was taken. Although it was a long time ago I've got vivid memories of the time spent on that Islands tour; both of the tour itself and also of the various reconnaissance visits I made. The prospect of a return, albeit without horses this time, remains exciting. Perhaps we'll get to see you? Regards...