At a press conference held yesterday in Glasgow, details for the first-ever National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) were unveiled (See News, 29 Jun 2005). Unlike the London-sited National Theatre (for all of Great Britain), the NTS is not building based and has a specific remit to spread its productions far and wide.

In keeping with that, the inaugural programme will launch on 25 February 2005 with nine new productions, all inspired by the theme ‘Home’, opening simultaneously around Scotland. The free, site-specific pieces (still to be announced) will be performed in streets, schools and other non-theatrical venues for up to two weeks each in Shetland, Stornoway, Caithness, Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders.

The 2006 programme will then continue with a dozen full-fledged productions, a mixture of new stagings as well as reprisals of previously acclaimed pieces now being co-produced with their original companies. They are:

  • The Wolves in the Walls - based on the book by graphic novelist Neil Gaiman and illustrator Dave McKean, directed by NTS artistic director Vicky Featherstone (pictured) and Julian Crouch and co-produced with Improbable Theatre
  • Elizabeth Gordon Quinn - written by Chris Hannan, directed by John Tiffany
  • Arthur Miller’s 1953 classic The Crucible - a co-production with TAG Theatre company, directed by Guy Hollands of TAG
  • Roam - a site-specific co-production with Grid Iron Theatre Company directed by Ben Harrison
  • The Wonderful World of Dissocia - the award-winning 2004 play written and directed by Anthony Neilson and co-produced with the Tron, Glasgow and Drum Theatre, Plymouth
  • Snuff - written and directed by Davey Anderson and co-produced with Arches Theatre Company
  • Black Watch - a new play by Gagarin Way author Gregory Burke, directed once again by John Tiffany

  • Untitled - a new play written and directed by Anthony Neilson in a co-production with the Edinburgh International Festival
  • Tutti Frutti - written by John Byrne (pictured) , directed by Tony Cownie and co-produced with His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
  • Schiller’s classic 1800 tragedy Mary Stuart - in a new version by David Harrower, directed by Featherstone and co-produced with the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. (The Donmar Warehouse production - in a new version by Peter Oswald, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter – has just transferred to the West End.)
  • Mancub - written by Douglas Maxwell and directed by Matthew Lenton in a co-production with touring company Vanishing Point
  • Strindberg’s 1888 clash of the classes classic Miss Julie - newly adapted and directed by Zinnie Harris
  • AALST - by Pol Heyvaert, a co-production with Tramway and Victoria of Belgium.

    Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Featherstone said: “This is a historic occasion, representing a new beginning for theatre in Scotland which places us firmly on the world stage. We are proud to be continuing the tradition of excellence in Scottish drama, which has had such a profound impact on our culture over the past 50 years and more.” Of the programme itself, she said: “The common thread uniting all the productions is excellence, innovation and entertainment. This is an ambitious programme offering the breadth of experience that epitomises what theatre should be about.”

    - by Terri Paddock