Joan Eardley was an extraordinary painter who, quite simply, died before she had finished. As an artist she remains unsung. Best known in Scotland where she was not born; rarely heard of in England where she was.

Heroica in association with Stellar Quines and National Galleries Scotland – are creating a new journey for Joan Eardley: one which brings her back to new life, and follows her as she makes her way through a life of joys and frustrations, friendships and solitary stretches, disillusionments and disappointments – as well as passions and triumphs.

Research and development began for this project in 2014. The script was workshopped at the National Portrait Gallery in September 2015, with an audience invited to share in a Q&A with the writer, director and actor after extracts were performed. Development will continue until 2017 when a UK tour to galleries is planned.

News on Heroica Theatre Company’s tour in 2017 of play about the artist Joan Eardley


Your chance to be part of this new play’s development:

  • Find out more about the play on 29 April at National Galleries Scotland Friday Night Mixer – an evening of short ‘taster’ talks and discussions exploring some of the themes of the Modern Scottish Women exhibition. Friday, 29 April 2016 from 18:30 to 20:00 at Scottish National Portrait Gallery, tickets £5 – £6.50: Booking via Eventbrite.
  • Join Stellar Quines and Heroica Theatre Companies at the National Galleries Scotland for two full cast performed readings of Joan Eardley: A Private View; the new play on the life and work of artist Joan Eardley.

Writer Anna Carlisle, director Marilyn Imrie and the cast are inviting audience feedback on the play and will be discussing the development of the full production at this event.

14 & 15 May
Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery
6pm (doors open 5.30pm, running time approx 90 minutes). Tickets £10
Limited places and booking via Eventbrite required.

  • Support this project through donating.
  • Immerse yourself in Joan’s work at a new exhibition coming soon: Joan Eardley | Fifteen Years, 3rd December 2016 − 21st May 2017: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art | £9 (£7)

Heroica Theatre Company (formerly Square Peg Productions, founded 2005) champions the achievements of maverick women.

The experience of a Heroica production is unique. Each play event illuminates the life of a secret heroine, celebrating a woman of great achievement, often a maverick and usually unsung. It also reimagines the relationships between history and the present day, and between a story and the place in which an audience watches it unfold.

For Heroica Theatre Company – based in the Pennines and operating all over the UK – location and environment provide much more than a backdrop to the action. Every Heroica event offers audiences a completely fresh engagement with a place, be it previously known to them or not. And the promenade style of performance ensures that, as audiences discover the previously hidden lives of history’s women, they simultaneously find the hidden corners of extraordinary buildings or outdoor spaces.

Image: Joan Eardley at work. Photograph by Audrey Walker; courtesy of The Scottish Gallery