Sunday, 5 March 2017


Strangers in the Night

For some time I have been toying with the idea of devising a dance drama based on the paintings of Jack Vettriano

Queen of the Fan-Dan

If there is anyone left on this planet who has not heard of Jack Vettriano then all they need know is that he is a Scottish artist who has achieved fame and fortune for his work

He now divides his time between London, Methil (in Fife, where he was born) and Nice, in the south of France

Back Where You Belong

He is what is called a 'genre' painter. For that reason, perhaps - and because he is self-taught - he has never been accepted by any of the major British galleries although next month he has a well-deserved restropective at the Kelvingrove Galley, Glasgow

His neglect by the (largely) English art establishment is a scandal, for he is a fine painter whose work is widely appreciated by ordinary art lovers and collectors alike

It is said he makes £500,000 a year - and that's just  from his prints!

Suddenly One Summer

My interest in Jack Vettriano began when I came across a small painting of his in the museum in Kirkcaldy, Scotland sometime in 1986

I was intrigued and have followed his career ever since

Just The Way It Is
Vettriano is best known perhaps for his dark, brooding and erotically-charged paintings set sometime in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

This is the world of Christine Keeler and the Profumo Affair, Rachmanism, Soho night-clubs and the equally seedy world of London gangsters

The Party's Over

My idea for using these paintings as inspiration for a dance drama dates from sometime in 2000 when I first worked at The Cumbria Institue of the Arts and was able to help resident choreographer Gill Roncarelli with sets for her own dance dramas

The theatricality of Vettriano's work and the characters that emerge from his paintings on a regular basis seem to cry out for stage adaptation

Dancer For Money

It is also clear from their titles that these paintings have strong musical associations for the artist - a fact that further encourages theatrical adaptation of some kind

A Valentine Rose

Men in Vettriano's work appear largely predatory but his women are beautifully observed and often appear hugely introspective

Although usually the subject of male fantasy or sexual exploitation,  Vettriano's woman retain their autonomy

Thoughts Of You

On stage, especially in dance, this makes for strong characterisation 

One model - a striking brunette - regularly appears in his work and, for me at least, even resembles Christine Keeler herself

Table for One

That these women clearly have an inner life, often functioning within a dramatic, sometimes tragic dimension, is - for a dramatist or choreographer particularly challenging

The Letter

I should add at this stage that while my plans for a dance-drama are well advanced, they remain entirely speculative

I have neither a theatre nor  a dance company involved, let alone permission from Vettriano and his agents

Loser II

Still, this will not be the first speculative project that I have begun nor will it be the last

  Many such projects have, in the past, actually made it into a theatre or onto TV - let's hope that this one will one day

So, if you are out there Jack Vettriano or you  just happen to be Ashley Page, Artistic Director of  Scottish Ballet  then do contact me for I have an exciting project - just for you!

Mike Healey

If you want to know more about Jack Vettriano then click on the link below for direct access to his own website


For more information about my Vettriano project, click on the link below:

strangers/black carnival

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