Factfile: National Theatre of Scotland
A profile of Scotland's national theatre company
What is it?
Launched in 2006, the NTS aims to put all theatrical activity in Scotland, from community drama to mainstage classics, on a national footing.
What’s the big deal?
Billing itself as a ‘theatre without walls’, the NTS has no building of its own and operates within the existing infrastructure of Scottish theatre. Although it does put on some productions entirely under its own name, it is just as likely to collaborate with other companies. This enables it to celebrate the talents already at large across the country and prevents it from becoming the kind of central monolith that other national theatres have become. It also allows it to champion all forms of theatre, from site-specific plays to Christmas shows, without being tied down to one type of theatre. It’s an innovative structure that has since been borrowed by National Theatre Wales.
What’s its claim to fame?
By a tremendous stroke of fortune, the NTS had its biggest hit in its very first year. Gregory Burke’s Black Watch, a large-scale show relating the experience of Fife squaddies in Iraq, was the hit of the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe and is still on tour internationally today. Other triumphs include a one-man Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, a spooky version of A Christmas Carol and David Greig’s pub-based comedy-chiller The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart.
Who’s in charge?
Vicky Featherstone is the founder artistic director, building the company from a staff of one to the powerhouse it is today. She is leaving to take on London’s Royal Court at the start of 2013,and will be succeeded by former head of Royal & Derngate in Northampton Laurie Sansom.
Who else is about?
Featherstone’s number two is John Tiffany, the director of Black Watch and Macbeth. Other key players include Simon Sharkey, associate director of Learn, who is responsible for all the big community projects, and Graham McLaren, associate director, whose productions include A Christmas Carol and Men Should Weep.