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National Theatre of Scotland 2013 Season - Vicky Featherstone's Swan-Song

That there is no main-stage swan-song directed by National Theatre of 
Scotland artistic director Vicky Featherstone in her final season 
before departing to run the Royal Court speaks volumes about her tenure 
over the last six years. Because it isn't any single production which 
has defined  Featherstone's role. Rather, it is an all-embracing vision 
which has enabled artists to be bold and to think big while 
Featherstone has taken on a more diplomatic role protective of her 
charges. Indeed, it could be argued that Featherstone's own creative 
work has been neglected because of this.

Of the season itself, if there is an element of baton-passing, with 
associate director Graham McLaren being particularly prolific, there is 
also a sense that theatre in Scotland has become increasingly 
exploratory. If the NTS has the resources to raise the bar, then the 
talent is already there to take advantage of it. It is an attitude the 
ongoing national embarrassment that is Creative Scotland could learn 
much from.

Yes, there are classic plays, but they are not there to appease 
traditionalists, but to breathe fresh life into already great works. 
But it is the season's collaborations, with Oran Mor, Vox Motus and The 
Arches, that point the way. All of these companies have led from the 
ground up, and their presence in the programme is vindication for the 
importance of the license to experiment beyond box-ticking.

Featherstone's final NTS season, then, is both as a summation of her 
achievements and a serious pointer towards the organisation's future. 
Whoever replaces Featherstone as artistic director, it remains crucial 
that the NTS is not squeezed into some parochialist ghetto dictated by 
its political funders. That would be a backward step, and a major 
mistake. For the organisation to flourish, the NTS must remain as 
expansively internationalist as its 2013 season promises to be.

The Herald, September 28th 2012

ends

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