Five Facts About Robert Louis Stevenson

Are you ready to set sail at Lanternhouse this winter? Ahead of our re-imagined telling of Treasure Island, we’ve got some fun facts about Robert Louis Stevenson to share with you! Find out more from writer, Ross McKay.

Watch Ross’ video or read below to find out!

Hello, my name is Ross MacKay. I have adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, Treasure Island for the stage. I have learnt a lot of things while I have been adapting this story. And today I wanted to share my top five favourite facts about Robert Louis Stevenson.

1. Robert Louis Stevenson has a global reputation

Stevenson is one of the worlds most translated authors. Stevenson’s work has been officially translated over 2000 times. This is a huge achievement considering he only ever published 10 full-length novels in his lifetime.  

2. His friend inspired Long John Silver

Stevenson’s friend and mentor, the poet, William Ernest Henley inspired Stevenson’s depiction of his famous pirate character. Henley walked with a crutch most his life and had a commanding presence. In letters Stevenson wrote to Henley, he says that this was the inspiration for creating Long John Silver.

3. He was arrested for a snowball fight

Robert Louis Stevenson was arrested as a student for taking part in a two-day long snowball riot in Edinburgh. Stevenson always claimed he was only a spectator, and he was let off with a reprimand.

4. We get the title wrong

One of Robert Louis Stevenson’s most well-known stories is The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. However, Stevenson pronounced Jekyll to rhyme with treacle. And he wanted the title to sound like a newspaper headline, so he never used a The in the title. So we should really call it Strange Case of Dr Jeekeel and Mr Hyde.

5. He’s enjoying a theatrical comeback

Earlier this year, The National Theatre of Scotland staged a huge retelling of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in collaboration with Screen Scotland and Sky Arts. They have a new version of his novel, Kidnapped, planned to tour Scotland next year. And of course, my own adaptation of Treasure Island is coming to Cumbernauld Theatre this winter.

These are just some of my favourite Robert Louis Stevenson facts. If you want to spend more time with one of Scotland’s greatest storytellers this winter, then make your way to Cumbernauld Theatre at Lanternhouse and pick up a ticket for Treasure Island.
It’s going to be quite the adventure!


Rachel Murphy

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