IT Founder Jim Haynes RIP

James Haynes (10 November 1933 – 6 January 2021) was a figure in the British “underground” and alternative/counter-culture scene of the 1960s. He was involved with the founding of Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, the paper International Times and the London Arts Lab in Drury Lane for experimental and mixed media work.

“Begin life in Louisiana 1933, pass early teens in Venezuela, three years in a boarding school in Atlanta, attend university in Louisiana (L.S.U. and Tulane), do military obligation and in 1956 settle in Scotland.

Attend the University of Edinburgh, start The Paperback Bookshop & Gallery (1959), The Howff (1961), a folk-song club, the Traverse Theatre (1963), co-organize The Writers’ Conference (1962) with John Calder and Sonia Orwell, the Drama Conference (1963) with John Calder and Ken Tynan and participate in the creation of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Move to ‘swinging London’ in 1966 and there co-create the London Traverse Theatre Company with Charles Marowitz, Michael Geliot, and Ralph Koltai. Co-launch the newspaper “I.T.” (with Barry Miles, John Hopkins, Jack Moore, and Michael Henshaw), the Arts Lab mixed-media space (with Jack Moore, David Curtis, Biddy Peppin, Pamela Zoline and others). Producer by now of over 250 theatre shows I am awarded The Whitbread Prize in 1966.

Co-founded Suck magazine (1969) and the Wet Dream film festival (1971).

Moved to Paris to teach Sexual Politics and Media studies in University of Paris “Vincennes” 1969.

Started Sunday dinner parties at my home 1978, 40 years later still going on.

Meeting Jim, documentary film opened at Edinburgh Film Festival June 23 2018.

The Arts Laboratory

Back to fast and loose (my dead gallery)



The Arts Lab after moving out


28th Oct 1969

182 Drury Lane,
Covent Garden,
London, W.C.2.
28th October, 1969


Dear Friends,

Please accept this duplicated newsletter from me with some news which should interest you. The Arts Laboratory Located on Drury Lane for the past two and a half years is closed. The Arts Lab was many things to many people: a vision frustrated by an indifferent, fearful, and secure society; an experiment with such intangibles as people, ideas, feelings, and communications; a restaurant; a cinema; a theatre (Moving Being, Freehold, Poeple Show, Human Family, etc); underground television (Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, Isle of Wight, Dick Gregory All-Night Event); a gallery (past exhibitions include Yoko Ono & Lennon, Takis, et al); free notice boards (buy/sell, rides to Paris); a tea room; astrological readings; an information bank (tape,video, &live-Dick Gregory, Lennie Bruce, Michael X, Michael McClure…); happenings (verbal and otherwise); music (live and tape including The Fugs, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Third Bar Band, Shawn Phillips, Kylastron, etc.) ; books, magazines. and newspapers (Time Out, IT, SUCK, OZ, Rolling Stone); information.

People flowed through — young,old, fashionable unfashionable, beautiful, bored,ugly,sad,agressive, friendly–five bob if you can afford it, less if you can’t. A few people in a position to help financially took but nover gave. They asked, “What’s the product? What’s its name?” The real answer was Humanity: you can’t weigh it, you can’t market it, you can’t label it, and you can’t destroy it. You can touch it and it will respond, you can free it and it will fly, you can create it and it will grow, if you kill it — it’s murder. The kids here don’t believe it’s the end and they’re right for it will reappear in another form.”We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to tho wind and are scattered,”

Some facts: The Arts Council gives £13,5OO per annum to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh which I founded and directed and which is only one third the size and scope of the Lab. The kitchens of the Royal Opera House are given some £37,OOO per annum by the Arts Council. The Arts Lab received no support from the Arts Council. I have been asked to join the Arts Council. I am £8,OO0. in debt.

The future: My future plans and the future plans for the Lab are clouded. I might move to Paris or to Amsterdam or to both cities. I have been invited to lecture at the new University of Paris at Vincennes. The Lab has been invited to present a season of London theatre, film, music, experimental television, etc at La Lucernaire, a theatre in Paris, in December.

The loss does not diminish the scope of the experience, I have learned. The fullness and unpredictability of the future out-distances the past. Perspective brings understanding – a property of future and past. The future has a delightful habit of turning into the present.

Blessings and regards,

Jim Haynes

Future address:
Post Office Box 2080,

To visit Jim Haynes’ website please click here


RIP Jim Haynes, the man who brought the Swinging Sixties to life in Edinburgh – Aidan Smith

Jim Haynes, counterculture trailblazer and co-founder of Edinburgh’s avant-garde Traverse Theatre – obituary


Jim Haynes obituary

Indefatigable leading light in the arts counterculture who founded the Traverse theatre and campaigned for sexual liberation


This entry was posted on in homepage. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to IT Founder Jim Haynes RIP


      Comment by Richard Arridge on 28 January, 2021 at 2:06 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.