RLS Day on 13 November 2015, Edinburgh’s annual celebration of one of its most famous authors Robert Louis Stevenson, is set for its largest programme yet.
Organised by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, the celebration has grown from a single day to a week-long programme of events from 9 to 15 November. The literary celebration now includes 38 public exhibitions, talks, performances, walks, and family events at 23 venues across Edinburgh.
This year’s RLS Day theme is "Stevenson on Stage and Screen".
"Stevenson’s work has inspired over a hundred adaptations in cinema, and so many on stage, radio and TV, most recently the star-studded Jekyll and Hyde drama coming up on ITV," says Ali Bowden, Director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust. "We have 23 free events in the programme, a new schools programme and our Hidden RLS strand of events where we open the door on the lesser known aspects of RLS’s life."
The Speculative Society will be opening to the general public for the first time since it was founded in 1764, audiences will have the chance to visit and learn about the Halls of the members-only Edinburgh debating society, the oldest in the country, and hear some of Stevenson's own words written for the society (14 November).
The RLS Day programme kicks off with exhibitions, film screenings, tours and talks on Monday 9 November with the majority of events still taking place on Stevenson’s birthday, the 13 November.
There’s high tea in Stevenson’s home in Heriot Row and at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, performances of the Laird of Samoa play detailing Stevenson’s life and particularly great for younger readers, a dramatisation of his book, Kidnapped, called ‘When Kilts Were Banned’.
There's also a night of gothic shorts from the Edinburgh Short Film Festival featuring a special screening of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1920) alongside a creepy selection of Edinburgh-shot gothic shorts.
Edinburgh Napier University will host a keynote event with RLS Day patron, actor and author Nigel Planer alongside the first public screening of the short animated film The Land of Counterpane based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Nigel will be joined by The Snowman composer and director of The Land of Counterpane, Howard Blake and screenwriter and author Charlie Fletcher to discuss Stevenson on stage and screen.
“From having a cardboard theatre as a child, RLS was always interested in storytelling. His imagination is so vivid, so mercurial, his work still speaks to us today and it’s no surprise it has been adapted in so many ways, some less obvious than others, even The Nutty Professor is inspired by Jekyll and Hyde.” Professor Linda Dryden, Director, Centre for Literature and Writing, Edinburgh Napier University.