Nova Scotia - From working class revolutions to conceptual art

30 years of Scottish culture

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1978
Traverse director Chris Parr commissions The Slab Boys. ‘Chris decided that the Traverse was going to focus on new Scottish writing, and in doing so he changed the face of theatre in Scotland,’ says Byrne.

1979
Margaret Thatcher elected Prime Minister. Scottish culture gains an antagonist and catalyst.

1981
Publication of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, still regarded as the seminal text in Scottish fiction.

1985
Groundbreaking exhibition by former welder and GSA graduate Steven Campbell helps cement the reputation of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ school of figurative painting.

1987
Liz Lochhead’s Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, a bawdy, female-focussed reinvention of Scottish history.

1989
Tramway’s Border Warfare and John Brown’s Body by John McGrath and Wildcat Theatre elevate Scottish political theatre to new levels of ambition.

1990
Glasgow named European City of Culture. Gerry Mulgrew’s company Communicado puts on the very Scottish Jock Tamson’s Bairns, which becomes an international hit.

1992
The Traverse moves to new, bigger premises by the Usher Hall, signalling that new Scottish-focused theatre is now the establishment.

1993
Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting brings contemporary Scots dialect into mainstream literature.

1994
James Kelman’s dialect-written How Late It Was, How Late wins the Booker Prize, to great outcry in London. The Times calls the book ‘literary vandalism’.

1996
Video artist Douglas Gordon wins the Turner Prize. The film version of Trainspotting is assimilated into the ‘Cool Britannia’ movement and makes instant stars of Robert Carlyle and Ewan Macgregor.

2001
Ali Smith’s multi award-winning Hotel World asserts a female, lesbian voice in Scottish writing.

2004
National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) established.

2005
Two Glasgow-based conceptual artists, Jim Lambie and Simon Starling, shortlisted for the Turner prize. Starling wins.

2006
Black Watch, by Gregory Burke and NTS, becomes one of the most celebrated, internationally-reaching Scottish theatre productions in history.

2008
AL Kennedy wins the Costa Prize with Day.

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