All the world’s a stage

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It might be better known as part of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, but for theatre-goers in Edinburgh, this famous line now has an extra special meaning.

A major refurbishment and restoration of one of the capital’s leading theatres has included a stunning mural named All the world’s a stage which has been painted on the dome of the King’s Theatre. The 85 square metre dome within the Viennese baroque auditorium has been transformed thanks to acclaimed Scottish painter and playwright John Byrne.

Artist John Byrne stands beneath his mural 'All the world's a stage' © Colin Hattersley

Artist John Byrne stands beneath his mural ‘All the world’s a stage’ © Colin Hattersley

Commissioned by the Festival City Theatres Trust, the spectacular artwork depicts a swirling celestial scene filled with magic and intrigue and includes Jaques’ well known line from the play. A black harlequin carrying the sun through the clouds and a star-cloth covered flamed-haired woman feature in the mural which is rich in theatrical references.

Working with a team of painters including artist Kevin Leary, Byrne created the mural in five weeks and it’s been a vital part of the restoration of the much loved theatre, affectionately known by some in Edinburgh as ‘the Old Lady of Leven Street’. Other work includes the installation of luxurious new seating, new carpeting and a restored interior decoration.

© Colin Hattersley

John Byrne © Colin Hattersley

Opened in 1906 the King’s is renowned for its art nouveau foyer and beautiful baroque auditorium and hosts a year-long programme of excellent touring drama, as well as the city’s annual panto which regularly attracts 90,000 people during the festive season.

So when you’re next at the King’s to enjoy the performance of world-class drama, am-dram or the Panto, pause for a moment and look skywards to soak up the beauty of this new artwork. All the world’s a stage after all…

Check out the VisitScotland website if you’re looking for more info about arts and culture in Edinburgh & The Lothians or see what’s coming up at the King’s.

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Sheena Macrae

Sheena Macrae comes from Edinburgh and now lives in West Lothian. She enjoys travel (around Scotland and beyond), photography and arts and crafts.

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