John Boyd: A Crossing Place

Exhibition focuses on key literary figure

The Theatre and Performing Arts Archive at the Linen Hall Library is set to celebrate the life and works of John Boyd.  A free exhibition will run from October 19, culminating with an evening of readings on November 18, 2005. 
John Boyd (1912 – 2002) was instrumental in shaping and influencing the cultural existence of Northern Ireland throughout his life.  
As founding editor of the influential literary magazine Lagan,  John Boyd gave a voice to the Ulster regional movement, publishing poets such as John Hewitt and Roy McFadden. Later John was one of the editors of Threshold, which kept alight a flame for culture during the darker days of our history.  
John was also one of the most successful regional BBC radio producers, creating talks and recordings with figures such as Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNiece and WR Rodgers.  
As a key playwright at the Lyric Theatre, Boyd produced the first plays to document and analyse the Troubles, including the well-remembered The Flats (1971). John also served as Literary Advisor to the Lyric in the period that saw talent such as Christina Reid, Martin Lynch and Stewart Parker light up the Ridgeway Street stage. 
Throughout his life John documented his relationships with other writers, and conserved both his own work and that of writers who saw him as a key touchstone and advisor for their own work. At his death the Boyd family kindly left this huge collection of letters, cuttings, scripts, poems and papers to the Theatre and Performing Arts Archive.
With the help of the ACNI and the Unity Theatre Trust this has now been conserved and collated to create one of the most important cultural collections held anywhere in Ireland. This collection will be on display during the course of the exhibition at Linen Hall Library. Some of Northern Ireland’s premier performers will present the evening of readings on November 18, 2005. For further information, please contact the Box Office on +44 (0) 28 9032 1707.