HE is the avant garde theatre impresario whose scandalous conference sent shockwaves through Edinburgh society and saw the model involved put on trial for indecency.

Such was the furore created by the nude appearance of Anna Kesselaar at Jim Haynes' 1963 Drama Conference that Festival director Lord Harewood, the Queen’s cousin, was pushed out of his post and the stunt was denounced from the pulpit.

But now, 55-years-later, a more forgiving Edinburgh establishment has opened its arms to the producer, who co-founded the Traverse Theatre and was a driving force during the early days of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, now the largest performing arts festival in the world. 

The former enfant terrible has been awarded an honourary doctorate from Napier University, in recognition to his contribution to drama and cultural life. 

He said the award was unexpected, but that "crazy things happen."

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The Herald:

The Traverse Theatre has grown to become an Edinburgh institution

Mr Haynes, who is now 84 and lives in Paris, said: "The first time I came to Edinburgh in 1956, it was cold and damp and rainy, but it looked beautiful then. Today the sun is shining and it's still beautiful. 

"I'm very honoured with this recognition. I did not think this would happen when we opened the Traverse all those years ago." 

Louisiana-born Haynes, who arrived in Scotland while enlisted in the US air force, established the Traverse's continuing policy that it would be a theatre for writers which only produced new plays.

He also opened what has been said to be the first paper-back only bookshop in the UK, a Bohemian hangout which quickly became a hotspot for the capital's artistic intelligentsia and a performing venue in its own right. 

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He also launched with the publisher John Calder the famously-contentious Writers Conference as part of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1962.

But it was the pair’s follow-up event in 1963 - the Drama Conference - which made headlines around the world.

During a discussion exploring the "theatre of the future", a 'happening' was stage, which included an 18-year-old Ms Kesselaar being wheeled out across a balcony, naked and clinging to a lighting trolley,

It was only a glimpse of flesh, but it led to her being put on trial for indecency in a case dubbed the "Lady MacChatterley trial".

The charges were later thrown out, but the young model was said to have been hounded out of Edinburgh by the fallout, settling in |London for the rest of her life.

The Herald:

Anna Kesselaar was acquitted during the trial

Mr Haynes said: "The word which was in the air at the time was 'a happening', and it was decided once would be staged during the conference. 

"There was an actress who walked across the backs of the seats and people crawling about on the roof, while Anna Kesselaar was wheeled along the balcony above people's heads.  

"The press gallery was opposite and it became the thing they focussed on."

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In 1966 Mr Haynes moved to London where he co-founded the International Times alternative newspaper with Barry Miles and John Hopkins.

The following year he set up the Drury Lane Arts Lab, which hosted familiar faces such as David Bowie, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and spawned a new generation of artists, filmmakers, writers and directors.

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After relocating to Paris in 1969, Mr Haynes taught media studies and sexual politics at the University of Paris for 30 years, and found more fame with his open-house Sunday dinners.

As publisher with his Handshake Editions imprint, he brought forth work by authors such as Beat Poet Ted Joans and John Calder among others.

Mr Haynes old friend Richard Demarco said: "His arrival in Edinburgh changed the city for the better, and I don't think it's ever recovered from his presence."

Poking fun at genteel society in the capital, Mr Demarco - who paid Ms Kesselaar £4 to take part in the conference 'happening' - added: "He had a huge impact on the Edinburgh Festival.

"After his Drama' Conference, Edinburgh had to deal with the reality of female nudity by confronting, for 2-3 seconds, her[Anna Kesselaar's] beautiful nude body."

He said that Mr Haynes fully deserved recognition from Napier University, and called for him to be given greater honours as well.

Mr Demarco said: "He believes that everybody he meets is special, and that everybody should be treated as important. He said yes, yes, yes to everybody and everything. He should be given the freedom of  Edinburgh."

The Herald:

Richard Demarco

Mr Haynes was due to be honoured by the university last year but was unable to travel to Edinburgh due to ill health, so he received his Honorary Doctorate of Arts today in a special one-off ceremony at the Craiglockhart campus yesterday.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are delighted to honour a man who has made such a significant contribution to the arts, not only in Edinburgh but nationally and internationally.”