Brian Catling Resurrects Historical Scottish Figure In First-Ever Play At Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Critically acclaimed RA sculptor, poet, novelist, film maker, academician and performance artist Brian Catling will bring his first-ever play Resurrecting Bobby Awl to Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 31st July to 25th August at 4pm at Summerhall, Anatomy Lecture Theatre.
All said he would be remembered forever.
From the creator of the Vorrh Trilogy, this new play charts the story of disabled street urchin Robert Kirkwood, a beggar better known as Bobby Awl who survived in the bleak gritty poverty of 19th century Edinburgh. Between Bobby's parents giving him up at birth for being less than human, and his tragic death in 1820 from a mule kick in the groin, he was famous. All said his name would live forever, but instead it was wiped out of Scottish history.
Brian Catling says: I first discovered Bobby in a high attic museum of the Edinburgh Phrenological Collection, where a post mortem cast of his head lived alongside the famous, the infamous, the talented and the abnormal. That is where the fascination began and I soon found of a rare chap book on his life. In 2007, I rewrote the tales of his sad and fierce life and created a solo exhibition in 2008 of small egg tempera portraits of cyclopses, with the Bobby plaster cast at the Ingleby Gallery Edinburgh. This play continues to carry the aim to re-establish the identity and humanity of one of Scotland's lesser sons.
Directed by Josh Roche (JMK Winner 2017), through a blend of storytelling and sculpture, Brian's new play will unlock Bobby from forgetfulness, re-inserting Robert Kirkwood into Edinburgh's mythology. The piece explores society's relationship to its most marginalised members, and will be performed by an ensemble of disabled and able bodied actors. Produced by Avalon and BBC Arts.