National Theatre of Scotland announces its 2017 season
- Alex Johnston
- 25 November 2016
The NTS embarks on its second decade with some revivals, some world premieres and a lot of collaboration
The National Theatre of Scotland celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and it heads into 2017 with those creativity guns shooting theatrical excitement in all directions at once (note to self: metaphor needs work). While existing productions such as Let the Right One In and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart are off wowing audiences in the States – the Washington Post rightly praised Prudencia Hart's 'heady lyricism' – the NTS is settling into its new headquarters, Rockvilla, and developing new work.
Coming to Oran Mor in February is Alison Lang's An Tango mu dheireadh ann am Partaig / Last Tango in Partick, a gentle study of Moira, Iain and ballroom dancing, performed almost entirely in Gaelic with English surtitles. This is part of A Play, A Pie and a Pint (or possibly Dealbh-chluich, Pàidh is Pinnt). Also in February, Glasgow Girls returns. The high school musical about seven schoolgirls fighting for the rights of their refugee friend is timelier than ever, and it tours to Greenock, Liverpool and Belfast.
The 306: Day is part two of Oliver Emanuel and Gareth William's music theatre trilogy about the First World War: the titular 306 were British and Commonwealth soldiers executed after being court-martialled for desertion and other capital offences. This part looks at how the war affected women, families and communities at home. It opens in Perth on Tue 4 May, and tours across Scotland for the rest of the month. Room is Emma Donoghue's adaptation of her own 2010 novel, the movie of which earned Brie Larson the Oscar for Best Actress back in January. Cora Bissett directs this stage version, which opens at London's Theatre Royal Stratford East in May before touring to Dundee Rep in June and Dublin's Abbey Theatre in Jun–Jul.
Submarine Time Machine is a participatory production about the last voyage of the midget submarine HMS XE9, which sailed out of Glasgow to be scrapped in 1952; local participants living along the Forth & Clyde Canal will work with director Simon Sharkey to create an, as it were, immersive theatre experience on the canal itself. The community project starts in April, with performances from Mon 26 Jun.
The NTS, with Dundee Rep, commissioned and is supporting The Last Queen of Scotland, Jaimini Jethwa's one-woman show about what it was like to come from Uganda to Dundee in the 70s after Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of the country's Asian population. It's produced by Stellar Quines and tours to Dundee Rep and the Edinburgh Fringe in the summer of 2017.
At the Traverse in August there's the trans-themed double bill of Adam and Eve. The former is the story of an Egyptian boy who's born into a girl's body, and who must find a way of coming to terms with being a young trans man in a society which offers no place for him. Conceived by Cora Bissett, written by Frances Poet and with music by Jocelyn Pook, it features a digital community choir of trans and non-binary individuals, and if you are one, you're invited to join in. Eve, by Jo Clifford and Chris Goode, and performed by Clifford, is the story of one trans woman's life from the 1950s to the present.
Finally, in September, Rocket Post tells the story of German rocket engineer Gerhard Zucker, who in the 1930s, in the Western Isles of Scotland, tried to develop a way of delivering letters by rocket (and there's a good reason why nobody has done it since). Part play, part gig and part hoedown, it's about what can go right when everything goes wrong. It opens at An Lanntair on Sat 23 Sep and tours Scotland thereafter.
Theatre in Schools Scotland goes into the second year of bringing quality kids' theatre to primary schools with Up to Speed, a story about what it's like to be the odd one out, created by Rosalind Sydney with Laurie Brown. This was first performed at the Traverse as part of Imaginate in 2014 and will be presented to P3—P5 pupils in 2017. Visible Fictions' Jason and the Argonauts has been seen all over the world, and now it's coming to P6 and P7 year pupils.
The NTS website has full details of these and other events and supported projects in the season.