John Byrne guest of honour

John Byrne will make a welcome return to Hospitalfield, Arbroath next week.
John Byrne will make a welcome return to Hospitalfield, Arbroath next week.

TUTTI Frutti” playwright and artist John Byrne is to be guest of honour at a special event at Hospitalfield on March 11 to celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of the Friends of Hospitalfield.

For Byrne, who went on to make his name with The Slab Boys, it will be a return visit to a place of early inspiration.

In 1961, while a student at Glasgow School of Art, Byrne was one of a group of talented students selected for a Hospitalfield residency. Fifty years on he returns to become Hospitalfield’s Honorary Patron.

John Byrne said: “People always talk about Hospitalfield as a magical experience and for me it really was magical. I was only in second year of art school at the time and they made a special dispensation for me to go. It was a wonderful time there and I made some very good friends. I’m looking forward to returning.”

Trust chair Kenneth Cargill: “We are very happy indeed to arrange the return of John Byrne and delighted to have his support in what we expect to be a very important year of inspiring new developments at Hospitalfield. Friends and patrons, such as John Byrne and our first patron Sir Mark Jones, are vital to the future of this unique and historic institution in Arbroath.”

The Friends organisation has grown from zero to nearly 200 over the year and has an ambitious target of 300 by the end of June. Friends have enjoyed a varied programme of events throughout the year including art, food, literature, history and music. The anniversary event, which is restricted to Friends of Hospitalfield, will celebrate all that has been achieved and announce plans for the future. Guests will also be treated to an inside track on progress on the plans for the V & A at Dundee by architect Peter Bowman, a partner in Cre8 the Scottish collaborators of the Japanese award winning practice Kengo Kuma. A silent auction of art work is also scheduled to raise funds for Hospitalfield’s conservation. To attend this event join the Friends of Hospitalfield at www.hospitalfield.org.uk