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Co-production by Untitled Projects, National Theatre of Scotland, Tramway and Summerhall

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh International Festival

Dublin Theatre Festival, Ireland
Ystad Theatre Festival, Sweden

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Tramway, Glasgow

James Hogg’s cult classic novel Confessions of a Justified Sinner is a rare treat, a fusion of rich characters, structural sophistication and narrative grace responsible for bewitching readers for generations. ***** – Exeunt Magazine

This new theatre event at Tramway is as intriguing in its execution as it is an artistic concept: on one level ‘a multi-layered, multi-media solo performance and exhibition’ and on another, ‘a theatrical experiment in collective memory and in the creation of fiction – The Public Reviews

Coupled with Anton’s relaxed and natural performance there is no doubt they have given us something of an event which manages to blur the division between reality and imagination. **** – What’s On Stage

At its heart, then, here is a play that reclaims a radical past to give it voice again. **** – The Herald

These words by this unknown reviewer so accurately reflect the present production I can only add that the experience, if less gripping than the book, is, at times, vivid and thought-provoking. – The Observer

As you enter Tramway’s main performance space, you are confronted with an extraordinary exhibition which excavates a strangely forgotten, but highly ambitious, theatre project from the 1980s. – The Sunday Herald

I may, for example, be like Keith Bruce of the Glasgow Herald, who wrote a review, seemingly published in the late 1980s, of an all-night performance in which a “few hardy souls … were rewarded with an experience none of us will forget”. Except, everyone did forget. **** – The Guardian

Laing and Carter’s work achieves a thrllling poetic intensity; and touches on something wild and self-destructive in Scotland, and in the human spirit, that links the story of the haunted Wringhim to that of Paul Bright, driven by his own demons all the way to the snow-blasted Borders summit, where the two stories seem to rest together, at last. **** – The Scotsman

Whatever one decides it is, there is no denying that these assiduously non-confessional Confessions provide an often witty, occasionally hilarious, and always excellently acted (if slightly self-satisfied) evening’s theatre. **** – The Telegraph

Part lecture, part exhibit this is an exploration of one man’s attempt to bring James Hogg’s masterpiece to a stage without a theatre. – The Fringe Review Scotland

Creative Team

Emilia Weber — Researcher
Jack Wrigley — Artist / Animator
Mike Brookes — Lighting Designer
Nick Millar — Technical Director
Pamela Carter — Writer
Robbie Thomson — Artist / Animator
Steve Slater — Producer
Stewart Laing — Director

Photography: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner


With Untitled Projects

Between 1987 and 1989, in the run up to Glasgow’s tenure as European City of Culture, a young Scottish Director, Paul Bright created a series of radical performances based on James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Mapping the original locations from the classic novel, a series of individual episodes were staged in urban sites and landscapes across Scotland. This visionary project became a cult hit, expanding its budgets and audiences as it progressed before eventually imploding publicly in its insanely ambitious final instalment.

Now in 2013 we at Untitled Projects have been immersing ourselves in the traces of this influential production in an attempt to understand how it all came together and ultimately fell apart. We wish to share our fascination with this Scottish theatrical phenomenon by creating a new piece of documentary theatre that reconstructs Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Using material from the original production such as models and archival video, as well as script readings and personal reminiscence, we aspire to engage a new audience with this historical live performance that, by the very nature of the ephemeral art form we work in, can no longer be experienced directly.