FEATURE THEATRES AND NATIONS _
Gerry Mulgrew, director
‘To be completely honest I don‘t care about the idea of a Scottish National Theatre. Ifthere is one. there is. and ifthere isn‘t. there isn‘t. I don‘t have any strong opinions on it these days. As a Scot. I do understand that there is a desire amongst certain people to legitimise something by giving it the epithet ‘national‘. But. also beinga Scot. my inate democratic tendencies tend to view that with some suspicion. The National Theatre in London has now become ‘Royal' for some reason. It‘s now descended from the gods. it’s God that runs it. Maybe in a few years it will be the ‘Holy Royal National Theatre‘. I don't give a damn about titles so long as what is happening in those places is exciting and actually moving
8'I‘he l.ist 3U August -» 12 September l‘)‘)l
Brith Got's PAX Is too ambitious even for the
forward the art oftheatre.
‘When Communicado started I was keen that it should be identified as a Scots company and should perform in a particular way that was derived from our culture as opposed to being an imitation of an English cultural experience. We wanted to use music and had a predilection for big themes and a specific way ofstorytelling. But that has become less ofan obsession for me now because I think that we‘ve managed to do It.
‘But we‘d still rather do The Cane Gatherers than a revival of Blythe Spirit. Not that Noel Coward‘s a bad playwright. it just wouldn't seem relevant for this company to do that kind of material because it would be
very imitative of a culture. and
indeed a class. that I know nothing about.
‘I also don‘t have any grandiose notions of cultural
explosions oranything like that
any more. I now find it all rather
vainglorious really. Ifit happens. it happens. And in any
case. there’s been cultural explosions in Scotland for the
past thousand and a halfyears and they will keep happening. There‘s been a lot of attention to
I cultural identity with Glasgow
1990 but then that’s all just big
5 business. I think that. belatedly. financial interests have
discovered that the arts mean
3 money. Iwould hate to think
that we are saying there's a
cultural revival when it’s just
that the Bank ofScotland has discovered it can further its own interests by promoting a piece of theatre.
‘I get a bit annoyed when people say that suddenly Scotland’s on the map. “It's up there just a bit further north than England.“ It‘s very arrogant of us to think that we are the first to have arisen. There‘s been thousands of other artists and writers that have been doing it for the past thousand years.‘
IRELAND: . The Abbey Theatre:
Alan Gilsenan, director ‘There‘s a tendency to throw
Ireland. England. Scotland and Wales together and the fact that we are actually independent has
great cultural and social importance to us. One ofthe
things that annoys me is that. to adegree. the national theatrein Dublin and the national theatre in London are put into the same
bag and decried as a sort of boring old bureaucracy. I suppose that‘s certainly true in London.
‘But with the Abbey. whilst it is a national institution and I‘m
being a bureaucracy. it was set
act against Britain. It‘s a part of that whole movement about
i nationalism and freedom. A
l number ofthe people who took part in the uprising of 1916 were Abbey actors and wrote plays
I for the theatre. So. in a way. that
sure falls prey to the problems of
up in 1916 almost as a rebellious