NTS tackles phone-hacking with Enquirer
New site-specific work relies on verbatim transcripts from journalists
Into the pristine, empty top floor of the Hub, a media office block between the Clyde, Film City and the BBC, has come the clutter of a newspaper office. The mismatched chairs, the cardboard coffee trays, the piles of paper are all present and correct. Enquirer, National Theatre of Scotland’s response to the crisis facing the British press, will be staged among these telephone cables and grubby keyboards.
‘I have,’ says co-director John Tiffany, ‘a deep love of print journalism. I’ve grown up with journalists and a lot them are turning round and saying what now? It’s not just about how they pay the mortgage. It’s a collective sense of shame about what has happened.’
What has happened is the long-term structural changes to the print media caused by digital technology and the crashing horror of the phone hacking scandal. To tackle both, and to ‘chronicle and acknowledge the industry as it disappears,’ Tiffany and Vicky Featherstone, the other creative director of NTS, commissioned three journalists from different backgrounds to interview their colleagues and peers.
Senior Guardianista Deborah Orr, style writer Paul Flynn and Herald stalwart Ruth Wishart between them talked to 41 journalists about their start in the industry, their hopes, dreams and visions for the future. Trenchant columnists, ancient old timers with ink in their veins, senior editors in Scotland, London and overseas have all contributed.
From this raw data Tiffany and Featherstone have cut and pasted – they are now impressively fluent in newspaperspeak – a show that poses more questions than answers. A cast including Maureen Beattie, John Bett and Billy Boyd will jump in and out of what Tiffany describes as a ‘frenetic’ piece, roughly structured round a newspaper’s day. ‘We have not dramatised it at all,’ he says. ‘It’s journalists on journalism. You are fascinating people.’
The Hub, Pacific Quay, Glasgow, Thu 26 Apr–Sat 12 May. Booking via Citizens Theatre.