Friday, February 24, 2006

In 10 different places in Scotland with 10 different never-before-seen productions, the National Theatre of Scotland opens on Saturday, February 25, 2006.

The National Theatre of Scotland has been talked of for a century but has not existed til now.

A big problem was--would the theatre be built in Glasgow (commercial money) or Edinburgh (old money, history, national capital.)

The answer that worked is neither and more. The answer that worked is no building.

The National Theatre of Scotland has organization offices in Glasgow and no intention of ever having a theatre of its own.

The director, Vicky Featherstone, commissioned 10 different theatre artists to do productions in 10 different places.

Message to theatre artists: We support new work, here's some money right now.

Message to people in general: The whole country matters.

All this commissioning cost money, which came from the national government. But the amount of money was much less than a building would have cost. Start with the cost of a big complicated new building as a point of comparision, and other things look cheap. And theatre people all over the country instantly got some of that not-building-building money.

A good way to get a job in the theatre is to have worked before with the people putting the production together. If there were one theatre, one social/work network would be the winner. With 10 productions, more winners, more kinds of winners.

The theme that Vicky Featherstone asked the commissioned artists to work on was "Home," the thing the National Theatre of Scotland either doesn't have or else its home is the whole country.

Asked where she would be on opening night, she said that maybe because the organization's offices are in Glasgow she might go to the production farthest from Glasgow. Or she might go home.

All the decades of arguing about Glasgow or Edinburgh, people weren't noticing imaginatively that both already had multiple theatres, as did the rest of the country. Meanwhile, on the planet we have many buildings already and we have the whole planet. It's up to our various imaginations to make it all really in new ways home.

The information herefrom the February 21, 2006, Financial Times article by Sarah Hemming, "All the land's a stage for Scotland's theatre.", search the site for Vicky Featherstone