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....

Sunday, 22 September 2013

An eventful trip

I've just returned from visiting the Horse + Bamboo touring company - Mark, Jonny, Mel and Jordanna - on Deeside; partly to see the company and partly to film the show.

Banchory - Woodend Barn

First stop was at a really beautiful and well run art centre, Woodend Barn, at Banchory – close to Aberdeen. Here we had a great turn out, the 120 seater almost full and a very, very enthusiastic reception.

Some of the comments:

Wow! Lost for words...moved to tears. Thank you”

Exquisite theatre + art + music. Thank you for a stunning piece of art and a real tribute to the human spirit.”

One of the most interesting theatrical performances I have ever seen”.

Braemar Village Hall

Then, after a drive to Inverness to the opening of the Scottish Mental Health Art and Film Festival at Eden Court I drove back through the Cairngorms to Braemar and the tiny but characterful village hall. Here we were welcomed by a small and mysterious group of very talented musicians greeting the audience as they arrived by playing in the foyer. Again, there was a great reception for the show:

You took me on a journey into the life of Angus. An amazing story, brilliantly told, evocative, emotional, educational – a tear was shed, a wonderful performance – thank you – a visual picnic and feast.”

Magical. Brilliantly conceived and performed. Very moving – thanks.”

The road to Glenshee

Then through Glenshee to Perth and the Weaver of Grass exhibition in the Museum and Art Gallery. One of the things this year is how much is happening related to Angus MacPhee. In Inverness there are guided walks of the places he worked (on Wednesday 9th October at 1pm and 6pm, with Karrie Marshall at the site of Craig Dunain, the mental hospital where Angus lived for 50 years); a reading of poetry by Chrys Salt and a talk by Roger Hutchinson, author of 'The Silent Weaver'. Saturday 12th October is 'Angus McPhee day' – a celebration of creativity, and alongside these activities our friend Joanne B Kaar will be running a grass weaving workshop, and our show will be playing at Eden Court Theatre at 7pm.

From the exhibition in Perth Art Gallery and Museum

The Perth exhibition is very impressive, and it also features the film of Joanne demonstrating how Angus made his weavings. The gallery includes great examples of Angus' work collected by Joyce Laing, including several that I hadn't seen before. It's overwhelming and very pleasing to see so much interest now in Angus and his work. Posters and flyers of the exhibitions, our show, and these various Angus-related events and activities are to be found all over the country. How much has changed in just one year. 

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