NTS brings Staging The Nation events to Edinburgh

Oct 6 2011 | By More

Bonnar on entrepreneurialism – Greig and Henderson Scott on the Scottish Play

Anne Bonnar

By Thom Dibdin

The first of a pair of events in the National Theatre of Scotland’s Staging the Nation series takes place at the Royal Lyceum on Thursday 6 october, when cultural and creative consultant Anne Bonnar presents a lecture on the tradition of entrepreneurialism in Scottish Theatre.

The event will also be broadcast online through the Staging the Nation website, with an online post-show discussion.

Staging the Nation is the NTS attempt to get people involved in Scottish theatre talking about how it should go forward, in the way they were doing in the run up to the creation of the NTS five years ago. Bonnar’s talk will analyse past Scottish theatre entrepreneurs to reveal common threads and archetypes and highlight the conditions and decisions for success.

Introducing her talk, Anne Bonnar says: “From the beginnings of Scottish theatre to the present day, theatre entrepreneurs have repeatedly broken the mould and taken the bold risks necessary to produce work, engage with audiences and balance the books.

“From the Unity Players to the Citizens Theatre; 7:84 to a Play, a Pie and a Pint; Pitlochry Theatre to Dundee Rep, Scotland’s theatre community has innovation in its DNA.

“Following, as it does, in a distinct tradition, what can the National Theatre of Scotland learn from the past as it enters its second five years? This analysis of past Scottish theatre entrepreneurs will reveal common threads and archetypes and highlight the conditions and decisions for success.”

Writing in her blog at annebonnar.wordpress.com Bonnar outlines the international reputation the NTS model has garnered, as a non-building based company which creates new work and works with a variety of communities, both social and theatrical. The question, she wonders, is whether the NTS can sustain its spirit for the next five or ten years.

She warns: “Theatre entrepreneurs operating within a state-subsidised economy face particularly complex forces. Typically applauded and rewarded by funders for early innovations, some of our most successful theatre entrepreneurs have lost favour and funding for not meeting criteria for quality or management as tastes and public policy objectives change.  Others have retained funding at the expense of institutionalisation and failing to take the risk required to continually develop their theatre.”

The Scottish play

The second event takes place on Friday 28 October, also at the Royal Lyceum, when playwright David Greig and academic Paul Henderson Scott go head-to-head, under the chairmanship of Professor Ian Brown. They will be discussing what makes a play Scottish and “examining the fragmented narrative of Scottish theatre” in a conversation under the title of The Scottish Play.

This should be an interesting event, to say the least. Greig is one the most prolific, published and staged of the contemporary Scottish playwrights, who has had much work performed by the NTS.  Henderson Scott is one of the NTS’ most vociferous critics, saying that it does not stage enough of the existing Scottish plays in general, with the specific example of Sir David Lyndsays Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, being the play which symbolises this failing.

Tickets for both events are free and are available from the Royal Lyceum Box Office on 0131 248 4848.

The Importance of Being Entrepreneurial – a lecture by Anne Bonnar
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Thursday 6 October, 6pm

The Scottish Play – with David Greig and Paul Henderson Scott, chaired by Professor Ian Brown
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Friday 28 October, 6pm.

Full details of all Staging the Nation events are available on its relaunched website: http://stagingthenation.com/


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