Street artist to install Orton artwork in Library

A renowned street artist will be at our University on Tuesday 20 June to create an image of celebrated playwright Joe Orton.

British street artist Stewy intends to make his stencil of the Leicester writer while working both at the Little Theatre and the University of Leicester.

The commission is part of a programme of events marking 50 years of the death of Orton.  Orton was born in Leicester in 1933 and after winning a scholarship to RADA in 1951, he met Kenneth Halliwell. Halliwell would become Orton’s partner, collaborator and eventually his murderer. Throughout his life, Orton wrote many acclaimed plays including: Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Loot and What the Butler Saw.

Stewy is a British street artist and psychogeographer who makes hand-cut, life-size stencils of British icons in locations specific to each person. He depicts eccentrics, misfits and forward thinkers, people who pushed boundaries, including Alan Bennett, Billy Bragg, John Cooper Clarke, Quentin Crisp, Tracey Emin, Joe Meek, Frank Sidebottom, Mary Wollstonecraft and Benjamin Zephaniah. He has also made a series of stencils representing the A to Z of indigenous British animals reclaiming towns and cities. His stencil of Joe Orton was originally made outside Islington South Library, London ( 2011), where Orton and Halliwell stole and redesigned books.

Leading Orton academic Dr Emma Parker, Associate Professor in Post-War and Contemporary Literature at the University of Leicester, said: ”I am delighted that Stewy is making his iconic image of Joe Orton in the University Library to mark the 50th anniversary of his death in 2017. Given that Orton was arrested for stealing library books, I think he would have appreciated the irony of his image being placed near the self-service check-out machines!”