‘Only of Scottish Interest’: 7:84’s Devolution Trilogy
Indiana University, US
Deana Nichols is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Theatre History, Theory and Literature program at Indiana University. She is currently at work on her doctoral dissertation, 'Scottish Theatre and Drama in the Age of Devolution.'
From 1997 to 2000, Scotland achieved an unprecedented constitutional shift, as the country devolved from the United Kingdom. The people of Scotland witnessed a vote of ‘Yes Yes’ on the devolution referendum, elections of the first Members of the Scottish Parliament, the opening of the Scottish Parliament and the passage of the Scottish Parliament’s first Acts. Meanwhile, the audiences of theatre company 7:84 (Scotland) witnessed productions commissioned by Artistic Director Iain Reekie from three of Scotland’s most prominent dramatists: David Greig’s Caledonia Dreaming, Stephen Greenhorn’s Dissent, and Peter Arnott’s A Little Rain. Taken together, these three plays form a devolution trilogy, an exploration of political Scotland that spans the early devolution years. This article examines the three plays individually and collectively and incorporates material from personal interviews with the plays’ makers in order to ascertain the import of these works, as they each serve as both hallmarks of their time – providing three distinct perspectives from three distinct moments in the devolution process – and as benchmarks for the theatre being made today and in the coming months, theatre that responds to the Independence Referendum that will occur in 2014.