2022 Arts Preview: The Year to Come in Theater

Fiona Gibson, Managing Director of Capital Theaters, and Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theater, launch their Sunshine On Leith co-production PIC: Colin Hattersley Photography

January The Scottish theater community approaches the New Year with a strange and ambiguous frame of mind. The people of the theater are elated by the rush of live theater that returned to our stages in the final months of 2021, but also grieved by the divisions and lingering inequalities highlighted by the pandemic, in an industry that often fails. , in a cash-strapped practice, to live up to its best principles. Tensions rise further when Creative Scotland makes a surprise announcement in January that in future every live theater performance supported by Creative Scotland must also be shown online, to ensure greater inclusion for those who cannot. attend live events; the idea that theater as we know it might be inherently exclusive and inaccessible sends shockwaves through the community, although a quick glance at the going theater ticket prices suggests that it must, indeed, to be so.

February At the Lyceum press night for Zinnie Harris’ new play A Scent Of Roses, everything seemed to run smoothly with the show’s’ mixed ‘presentation, live and on Zoom, until a Fire alarm flips cast and audience live in a humid night time on Grindlay Street. The audience at home, comfortably seated on the sofa and not accidentally cut off, begin to chuckle wickedly, raising fears that the audience will abandon the winter theater altogether.

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March Despite growing dismay on all fronts, Scottish theater is plunging into a feverishly busy spring season. Vanishing Point’s Matthew Lenton – a passionate advocate of live theater as a unique experience – is launching a tour of his acclaimed version of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, one of the last major shows to open in Scotland ahead of the pandemic in 2020. A tense public debate ensued over whether artists should have the freedom to decline to be broadcast live, if they so choose; but the question remains unanswered, despite heated discussions after the show at Tron and Traverse. Meanwhile, during the launch at the Beacon Arts Center in Greenock of a new Scottish musical about the life of Lena Zavaroni – referred to simply as Lena – audiences online can be heard singing along to her hit songs, in a way that seems strangely moving.

Zinnie Harris PIC: Michael Gillen / JPI Media

April At the SECC in Glasgow, the National Theater of Scotland stages the premiere of Douglas Maxwell’s musical stage version of Peter Mullan’s hard-hitting film Orphans. Thanks to Mullan’s stellar performance in the hugely popular NTS Scenes For Survival Fat Baws film – directed during lockdown and also written by Maxwell – Orphans becomes Scotland’s most successful live-broadcast theatrical show; and the NTS enjoys an unprecedented strengthening of its public profile since the launch of Black Watch in 2006.

Can The wind and the rain; numerous complaints that companies cannot organize outdoor shows, which are mysteriously exempt from the mandatory live broadcast decision.

June The Lyceum’s cover of Tom McGrath’s much-loved play, Laurel And Hardy, became a surprise online success, drawing a huge global following of Stan and Ollie fans. Meanwhile, Pitlochry Festival Theater and Capital Theaters, Edinburgh, are launching their new musical theater partnership with a touring production of Stephen Greenhorn’s homage to The Proclaimers show Sunshine On Leith. Interest online is low, as the show already exists in film form; but the live show is a smash hit, both in Pitlochry and on tour.

July Summer holidays; The Scottish theatrical community is intellectually and aesthetically exhausted, not to say bamboozled. Mull Theater launches new play by Joseph Wilde In The Weeds, about increasing pressures on rural and coastal communities, which involves flooding the stage; Creative Scotland is granting the tour an exemption from the live streaming rule, arguing that audiences online could not fully enjoy the experience of sharing a space with thousands of gallons of cold water.

Douglas maxwell

august and september Sudden two-month shutdown of cinemas following the emergence of new variants of Covid, even if fortunately they turn out to be benign. Edinburgh’s festivals are shattered again, sparking an anxious debate over the future of the international arts in a time of uncertain travel and growing climate concerns; but the Pitlochry Festival Theater is allowed to open its open-air production of David Greig’s new play Under Another Sky, based on Charlotte Higgins’ book on Romans in Britain.

October The newly refurbished Citizens’ Theater opens with a beautiful cover of Robert David MacDonald’s Chinchilla, an astonishing play about art and artists, and why they can be important. Artistic Director Dominic Hill says there’s more to accessing than streaming online, and decides the key to inclusion is to cut prices. The new Citizens’ therefore has the words’ all 50p seats’ engraved on every wall visible from the street; Elderly viewers swear they’ve seen something like this before, but legendary Citizens director Giles Havergal, guest of honor at the opening gala, only smiles and says nothing.

November Fog and sleet. Creative Scotland lifts live broadcast rule in time for pantomime season for creative freedom reasons; but said he hopes companies have learned something from the experience.

December Clear and cool weather; and everything seems almost back to normal, as crowds gather for the Beauty And The Beast opening gala at Glasgow King’s. As stars Elaine C. Smith and Johnny Mac take the stage, a faint third echo can be heard behind the audience’s traditional roars of “hiya” and “behind you”. And yes, that’s the audience online, out there in the ether; those who cannot be there, but still want to be with us, in the theatrical moment – and who, in a changed world, can never again be entirely forgotten, or left out in the dark, beyond the door theater.

David Greig PIC: Michael Gillen

Every show named above will take place at the time and location mentioned, with the exception of the Chinchilla Citizens reopening production, which is my invention. All other details are entirely fictional, drawn from the depths of Mystic McMillan’s crystal ball.

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About Dela Cruz

Dela Cruz

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