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Reading: New Scottish playwriting, old myths and real future needs.


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New Scottish playwriting, old myths and real future needs.


Ksenija Horvat

Queen Margaret University
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A country is never defined solely by its political and social circumstances, it is also judged by its cultural awareness and acceptance of its cultural and artistic diversities. Drama and theatre have a significant role to play in a country's everyday life, adding to its vibrancy and providing a lasting moral compass, particularly in the times of radical change. Scotland has a long tradition of drama that is separate and different from the rest of United Kingdom, at times overlooked in British theatre historical sources. Yet, there is a strange tendency even in those who care for Scottish theatre to appear to wish away its history. In 1999, Edwin Morgan observed that ‘[t]he general assumption in the past has tended to be that an overview of Scottish drama would not take very long. Between Sir David Lindsay and James Bridie, what was there of any lasting importance?' (Morgan 1999, n. p.) Of course, what is considered of lasting importance may vary from one historian to another, but amidst the plethora of drama by Scottish playwrights between 1660 and 1800 explored by Terence Tobin (Tobin, 1974), even if much would now be seen as old-fashioned and written for performance conventions no longer prevailing, surely Allan Ramsay’s The Gentle Shepherd (1725.29) and John Home’s Douglas (1756), both among the most produced plays in the United Kingdom in the eighteenth century, have at least a lasting historical importance, and arguably remain fascinating additions to the canon. Alongside a process of suppressing the memory of the lively Scottish drama over the centuries, there is, though this trait is common in other theatre traditions, a tendency to mythicise even recent events

How to Cite: Horvat, K., 2017. New Scottish playwriting, old myths and real future needs.. International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen, 10, pp.126–133.
Published on 07 Dec 2017.


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