The Wayfarer Trust (SC 027212) is the idea of Murray Watts, co-founder of Riding Lights Theatre Company in York and author of many books and screenplays, including The Miracle Maker and the best-selling Lion Bible for Children. Murray’s website: www.murraywatts.co.uk

Murray purchased Freswick Castle, a magnificent Scottish laird’s house standing on the coast a few miles south of John O’Groats, on the northerly tip of Scotland. He and others have made it their home and have created a remarkable haven of hospitality.

Over the past sixteen years the Castle has hosted visual artists, writers, musicians, actors and directors from around the world. Many people, from all walks of life, have rediscovered the importance of creativity in their own lives and found inspiration for a wide variety of vocations and for the enrichment of culture.

The key aims of the Trust are:

  • To enable artists of all disciplines to discover and develop their gifts and so deepen their impact on contemporary culture
  • To provide an environment for the creation and performance of artistic works including theatre, music and film-making, and to enrich local cultural life through the arts
  • To foster a closer relationship between the worlds of the arts, sciences, politics, business and churches, and to connect all aspects of life and learning
  • To affirm the inspiring work of film-makers, writers, TV directors and producers, composers and performing artists at work in the media today, and to offer a haven of encouragement and renewal
  • To be a resource for school children and the next generation, and to help young people discern their own pathway and possibilities for influencing culture.


Murray Watts has often spoken of creating cultures of hope in relation to the arts. He draws inspiration from a phrase from the Chief Rabbi that we need to build ‘ecologies of hope’ in the modern world: we need to create environments in which hope is likely to flourish.  It challenges the notion that ‘hope’ and ‘despair’ were true opposites, examining how the darkest times can be fertile ground for a new experience of hope and vision for the future.  The true enemy, according to Murray Watts, and the diametrical opposite of hope, is cynicism which can often be the refuge of gifted and disillusioned people but has fatal consequences for the human spirit.

‘Creating a Culture of Hope’ effectively sums up the vision of The Wayfarer Trust for the renewing of culture through a more profound engagement with arts and spirituality.

In March 2011, Murray Watts was asked to deliver a shortened version of this talk to a World Health Organisation symposium (on the global rise of non-communicable diseases) at Edinburgh University.  He addressed the subject of ‘Hope and Hopelessness’ in the context of psychological and physical wellbeing.  This talk then led to an invitation to speak on the same subject at the first TED event in Glasgow, TEDx Glasgow, on March 4 2012.

The 15 minute talk can be seen online via the TEDx Glasgow YouTube channel: Creating a Culture of Hope.