Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

King's Theatre's ceiling mural revealed

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Media captionTime-lapse footage shows artist John Byrne painting a new mural on the dome of the King's Theatre in Edinburgh

The playwright and artist John Byrne has completed a new mural on the ceiling of Edinburgh's King's Theatre.

A team of painters took five weeks to complete the work, which is part of a major restoration project.

It features a harlequin and a flame-haired woman and quotes Shakespeare's line "All the World's a Stage".

The scaffolding was removed on Monday. The artist saw it from the floor for the first time earlier and said he was delighted with the finished work.

It was commissioned by the Festival City Theatres Trust.

'Beautiful design'

Playing on the duality of light and shade and the progression of day following night, the mural has theatrical motifs and references, including the lines from Jaques' monologue in As You Like it.

Image caption John Byrne said he was 'delighted' with the work

Mr Byrne told BBC Scotland: "I was more surprised than anybody that I got the chance to do this.

"I got a wonderful reaction from myself to it when I saw it and it looks wonderful from downstairs.

"We never got a chance to view it because we were all working up very, very close to it.

"I knew if we did it very crisply upstairs there was a chance it would look really good from downstairs, which it does in the stalls area."

Duncan Hendry, chief executive of the Festival City Theatres Trust, said: "There was no-one more appropriate to provide such a beautiful and thought-provoking design and I'm sure that audiences will enjoy his work for many years to come."

The mural marks the completion of a major refurbishment, designed and project-managed by Rachel Simmonds of Edinburgh architects Smith Scott Mullan Associates, which included new seating, new carpeting, a new ventilation system and new decoration.

The first public performance at the refurbished King's Theatre will be Metamorphosis in the Edinburgh International Festival, opening on Saturday at 20:00.

The Festival City Theatres Trust is an independent theatre organisation which runs the Festival and King's Theatres in Edinburgh.

The King's Theatre was designed by architects James Davidson and JD Swanston and opened in 1906.

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