David MacLennan Portrait


Democratic Left Scotland hosted the unveiling of a portrait of David MacLennan, the actor, writer and producer who was at the heart of Scottish theatre for over 40 years until his death in June 2014 at the age of 65. The unveiling by Scottish Green Party co-convener and David’s widow Juliet Cadzow took place on Sunday the 21st February.


MacLennan co-founded the influential 7:84 touring company with playwright and director John McGrath.  7:84’s most significant work was the play “The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil” about the Highland Clearances. Following this success MacLennan enjoyed enormous success with “A Play, a Pie and a Pint” which has Òran Mór as its home. The list of contributors included Robbie Coltrane, Elaine C Smith, Liz Lochhead, David Greig and David Hayman.


Sandy Moffat’s portrait marks another step in the on-going project by the artist, supported by Democratic Left Scotland, to represent some of the leading intellectual and cultural figures in contemporary Scotland.


Over the past few years, Sandy Moffat has sketched and painted Alasdair Gray (whose portrait now hangs in Òran Mór), Alan Bissett, Tom Nairn and now David MacLennan. These portraits have been produced for the common good, with Democratic Left Scotland paying for the materials. DLS is a political organisation, open to all, whether members of a party or not, who support our radical, feminist and green aspirations. We produce an occasional magazine, Perspectives, which ranges widely over political and cultural issues in Scotland.


Maggie Chapman said: “It is an honour to be invited to unveil this portrait of David MacLennan. His early career with 7:84 and Wildcat brought political theatre to contemporary Scotland. “The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil” transformed people’s understanding of Scotland’s history, and “A Play, a Pie and a Pint” continues to bring theatre to new audiences in a remarkably egalitarian way – in Glasgow and around the world. We celebrate great cultural figures like David MacLennan in this way to acknowledge the role of artists in reflecting upon, critiquing and recreating our society.


DLS Convener Stuart Fairweather said: “DLS is delighted to recognise the contribution made by David MacLennan to the cultural life of Scotland. We commissioned Sandy Moffat’s painting to add to those of Alasdair Gray, Alan Bissett and Tom Nairn, all of whom have made very substantial contributions to the Scotland we see today.”

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