BACKGROUND - THE ROBERT LOUIS STEveNSON SHOW

 

"Now when the number of my years

Is all fulfilled, and I

From this sedentary life

Shall rouse me up to die,

Bury me low and let me lie

Under the wide and starry sky.

Joying to live, I joyed to die,

Bury me low and let me lie."

 

So wrote the great nineteenth century novelist, diarist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson, the hugely popular author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child’s Garden of Verses, among many more works.

 

Aware of his own mortality from an early age, it was a surprise to Stevenson to achieve the great age of 44, and one imagines much more of a surprise to have ended his days in Samoa, so far from his beloved Scotland. He might also have been surprised to know that, more than 120 years after his death, his work is being given new life by musicians from around the world.

 

Edinburgh born and bred, he travelled the length and breadth of Scotland, and lived in England, the US and (from time to time) in Europe too. A natural adventurer and a great humourist, RLS was a “an obvious target” for songwriter Neil Adam, when it came to putting together a show that would entertain and enlighten. 

 

Across Scotland the Stevenson family is revered for the massive impact of their (literally) ground breaking lighthouse designs. Thousands of Scots and their descendants owe their lives to this family, and millions of people across the world love and cherish the RLS stories and poetry to this day.

Neil inherited a meter of RLS books from his father, who inherited them from his father. As he delved into them, it became clear that in amongst all the various kinds of writing, you could follow RLS' autobiographical thoughts most clearly through his poetry. One poem was set to music and recorded, then another, then finally there was an album full, and it began to be clear that a show could be based on them. And that is what we have now.

The Stevensons became early adopters of photography, and their lives were well documented, mostly by them. The show uses many of these as a backdrop for the songs and readings from his works and letters.

The show has toured through England, Scotland, New Zealand, Samoa and Australia, and has played all kinds of events, from literary festivals to folk clubs, from libraries to churches, from book shops to music clubs, from front rooms to concert halls