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NTS 2011 Season

If the notion of five year plans sounds like an archaic concept, by
calling their 2011 programme Staging The Nation, the final season of
the National Theatre of Scotland’s first half decade can’t help but
appear similarly grandiose. If you read between the lines, however,
it’s clear that the NTS are pursuing a far more holistic and
progressive party line than the high-profile flagship works suggest.

So for every Dunsinane, there are more maverick initiatives such as
Five Minute Theatre and Favourite Scottish Plays, while the Bank of
Scotland enabled Graduate Director and Emerging Artists schemes keep an
eye on the future rather than looking backwards.

If there are too many buzzwords of the Diaspora, Extreme and Reveal
variety, the series of workshops, rehearsed readings and
works-in-progress contained within these strands offers a back to
basics approach that goes beyond the more obvious spotlights.

Of the big guns themselves, a home-grown revival of David Harrower’s
debut play, Knives in Hens, is welcome, as is a new production of Ena
Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep, recently revived on the London stage.
Possibly best of all is The Missing, a staging of Andrew O’Hagan’s
remarkable none-fiction book that reunites O’Hagan with John Tiffany,
who directed the NTS production of O’Hagan’s novel, Be Near Me.

While there has been much naysaying of late that that the NTS have yet
to match the phenomenal success of Blackwatch, we should bear in mind
that hits don’t grow on trees. After five years, to have even one
era-defining work is an achievement. While comparisons are futile, if
any of the above comes even vaguely close, audiences will reap the
benefit.

The Herald, December 9th 2010

ends

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