A new play coming to Stirling’s macrobert will tell the extraordinary story of the man who had an anuerism - and was seized with an overwhelming urge to paint and create.
And the incredible true story of Liverpool artist Tommy McHugh was also the springboard for a new writing talent to emerge.
His fellow Liverpudlian, Danny Start, had himself suffered brain injury and he was inspired by the artist’s tale to start writing ‘In An Alien Landscape’.
He was teamed with Julie Ellen, then the director of Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, who helped him turn an interesting idea into a vibrant piece of drama, using Danny’s own experiences to conjure up a world of brain injury, consciousness, memory and creativity using irony and dark humour.
The play tells the story of Albie, an ordinary man who experienced ‘a scuffle with death’ which unleashed his creative genie.
He can’t stop painting since he emerged from a coma.
Julie said: “It’s a really fascinating story - it goes on a huge journey that takes us through the character’s more painful moments but he is always kind of reviewing himself, so there are some very funny moments of observation.”
Julie was then asked by Birds of Paradise to direct the show and finally set about casting the piece.
With accomplished actors Paul Cunningham and Morag Stark in lead roles, Julie was also keen to use actor and dancer David Toole, who was fresh from starring in the Paralympic opening event.
She said: “I had seen David in an amazing piece and thought he was a wonderful actor and that he would be right for the character.
“It is also central to Birds of Paradises’ mission to work with people with physical and sensory impairment and give creative, talented professionals opportunities.”
‘In an Alien Landscape’ is at the macrobert arts centre, Stirling, on Friday at 7.30 p.m. For tickets, priced £10.50/£9/£7.50/£5, call the box office on (01786) 466666 or visit www.macrobert.org.