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'A bloody disgrace': Liz Lochhead attacks National Theatre of Scotland and EIF

Scotland's national poet has spoken out against the country's National Theatre, which was founded in 2006, and the Edinburgh International Festival

Taking aim: Liz Lochhead
Prominent Scottish playwright and poet Liz Lochhead has fired a broadside against the National Theatre of Scotland, labelling a recent production "a bloody disgrace".

Lochhead, who was appointed Scotland's National Poet ('Makar') in 2011, was speaking at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

As reported by The Scotsman, her comments came as she took aim at outgoing Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills' decision not to address the Scottish referendum in next year's programme.

She said: "Why should I be surprised... The last thing I saw [at the EIF] was Caledonia, probably the most rotten thing the National Theatre of Scotland did in its eight years, it was a bloody disgrace, it was crap. Also, so was 365 [by David Harrower], which was about the care of children in Scotland."

Lochhead, 65, was taking part in a debate on 30 Years Of Scottish Culture. She said that the EIF was a "kiss of death" for Scottish plays.

She also revealed that she had lobbied the NTS to stage a production of her play Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, but when they did - as a touring production in 2009 - it was "terrible".

"Scottish Youth Theatre did it proud last week and it will live to fight another day," she added.

"I am not saying they [NTS] haven't done good work - I would think it was worth having a national theatre just purely to have Black Watch, which is one of the best things I have seen."

In response, a spokesperson for the National Theatre of Scotland told the Herald: "One of the many wonderful things about Scotland is that the arts and culture provoke such strong and diverse opinions.

"Our role is to present memorable theatre experiences to as wide an audience as possible and we welcome the healthy debate this responsibility brings with it."