Tag Archives: david harrower

James Tait Black Prize for Drama longlist announced

Game shows, gangsters and online dating add drama to longlist.

The 14 nominations for the James Tait Black Prize for Drama – chosen from more than 180 plays world-wide – showcase a range of diverse productions from a mix of new and established writers.

Scottish playwrights win the most nominations, with plays by David Harrower, David Leddy Rob Drummond and AJ Taudevin on the longlist.

Contemporary themes explored in the 14 plays include counterfeiters, TV Quiz shows and child abuse, online dating, surveillance, gangsters, pornography and immigration.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at the Traverse Theatre on 11 August at 6pm, which the public are welcome to attend.

The event will be hosted by Joyce McMillan, one of the UK’s most esteemed arts writers and theatre critics. As well as the presentation of the James Tait Black Prize for Drama to the winner, there will be an opportunity to hear extracts from the three short listed plays, read by a company of actors and produced by the National Theatre of Scotland.

Judges award the £10,000 prize to the best new English-speaking play, which they consider demonstrates an original theatrical voice and makes a significant contribution to the art form.

The longlisted plays are:

  • Grounded by George Brant, produced by The Gate Theatre, London,
  • The Chronicles of Kalki by Aditi Brennan Kapil, produced by Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis. Staged as Part I of a trilogy called Displaced Hindu Gods by Aditi Brennan Kapil,
  • Brahman/I by Aditi Brennan Kapil , produced by Mixed Blood Theatre. Part II of Displaced Hindu Gods
  • Quiz Show by Rob Drummond, produced by Traverse Theatre Company
  • Ciara by David Harrower, produced by Traverse Theatre Company and Datum Point Productions
  • Ciphers by Dawn King, an Out of Joint, Bush Theatre and Exeter Northcott Theatre co-production
  • Sequence by Arun Lakra, produced by Downstage Theatre and Hit & Myth
  • Long Live the Little Knife by David Leddy, originally commissioned and presented by Fire Exit Ltd at Tramway, Glasgow
  • Cannibals by Rory Mullarkey, produced by the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Desolate Heaven by Ailis Ni Riain, produced by Theatre 503
  • Three Birds by Janice Okoh, Produced by The Royal Exchange Theatre in association with the Bush Theatre.
  • Perfect Match by Gary Owen, produced by Paines Plough and Oran Mor, Glasgow
  • Some Other Mother by AJ Taudevin, produced in association with The Tron Theatre in Glasgow, Scottish Refugee Council & supported by Stellar Quines & On Fife
  • Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, produced by DryWrite Theatre Company

Neil Murray, Executive Producer at The National Theatre of Scotland said:

“It is a very exciting longlist of plays, all of which have had a major impact on audiences. I very much look forward to the challenge of selecting a winner.”

The drama prize was launched in 2012 by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the National Theatre Scotland and in association with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.

The drama prize is judged by postgraduate students and academics from the University of Edinburgh. The shortlist will be announced in July 2014.

For further information and images please contact:
Kathryn Dunlop, Press and PR Office, tel 0131 651 5587; email kathryn.dunlop@ed.ac.uk


Reviews of Knives in Hens

Knives in Hens | photo by Peter Dibdin

Knives in Hens (photo by Peter Dibdin)

There was I thinking Knives in Hens was one of those plays that didn’t change much from production to production . . . Belgian director Lies Pauwels obviously hasn’t read the rule book.

Pauwels lets the story look after itself while her setting, crisply realised by designer Chloe Lamford, is both a modernist stage – most of the dialogue is delivered through microphones – and an end-of-the-pier funfair. . .

Pauwels matches the primal forces of the play with the primitive pleasures of the fairground, be it the flexing potency of the muscle man or the preening sexuality of the peep show.
The Guardian * * * *

A vaulting horse sits next to a mini carousel on which assorted bodies collapse. Three microphone stands are lined up in front, enabling actors Duncan Anderson, Susan Vidler and Owen Whitelaw, plus dancer Vicki Manderson, to be heard above the din, be it with a Tammy Wynette classic or a Piaf showstopper as the action erupts into a hell-for-leather maelstrom that looks part Olympic gymnastic display, part demented mardi gras.
The Herald * * * *

In this new touring production, the Belgian director Lies Pauwels has not so much staged the play as exploded it to the four corners of the stage and reassembled it in a new, raunchy and disturbing form.

Once again, the National Theatre of Scotland have defied expectations to create a production that reinvents [David] Harrower’s play as the kind of classic text on which directors can unleash their imaginations.
The Scotsman * * * *

Susan Vidler is immense as the unnamed ploughman’s wife, caught between her husband and the village miller. Her hatred of the Miller is tempered by his articulacy and ability to write, while her faithfulness to her husband is destroyed by his own love of his horses.

. . . a thoroughly satisfying and intriguing reinterpretation of a modern Scottish classic.
The Stage

Lies Pauwels and The National Theatre of Scotland have created a production that can only add to the play’s reputation and have created utterly absorbing drama at the Traverse. There’s a name for this sort of thing and that’s brilliant.
TV Bomb * * * * *

Despite productions abroad numbering in their hundreds, the play has had only one professional revival in Scotland before now. So there is a logic in inviting a director with a European sensibility to show the home audience this modern classic afresh.

And fresh it certainly is.

. . . this thrillingly theatrical production, acted with tremendous commitment, builds moments of real tension. It’s a challenge to anyone who likes their theatre cosy, predictable and polite, but that seems exactly like the kind of challenge the NTS should be laying down.
Northings/ Hi-Arts

New season drama workshops – now booking

The National Theatre of Scotland offers secondary schools, youth theatres and drama groups an exciting opportunity to take part in free  practical drama workshops exploring three of the Company’s productions – Dunsinane, Knives in Hens and Men Should Weep.

The workshops are led by a team of theatre specialists who will travel to schools or venues within areas where the productions are appearing. Scroll down for more information on each of the workshops.

For further information on all workshops please contact Philippa Tomlin, Creative Learning Co-ordinator, National Theatre of Scotland
Tel: 0141 227 9232
Email: philippa.tomlin@nationaltheatrescotland.com

Dunsinane workshop: ‘Sequels and Prequels’

Workshops led in association with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

Dunsinane - National Theatre of Scotland/ RSC

Siobhan Redmond in Dunsinane

David Greig’s Dunsinane is a vision of one man’s attempt to restore peace in a country ravaged by war. This new production tours to Edinburgh and Glasgow from May to June 2011.

  • A practical drama workshop which enables participants to discover the devices and techniques used to create brand new pieces of theatre that have been inspired by classic stories and well-known plays.
  • With a specific focus on Dunsinane, the workshop is designed to promote discussion and widen understanding about devised theatre as well as to equip participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to create new pieces of theatre.
  • Designed for pupils starting S4 Drama.
  • Suitable for S3 upwards.

Edinburgh: Mon 9 May – Fri 3 June
Glasgow: Mon 6 – Fri 10 June

Knives in Hens workshop

Knives in Hens

Knives in Hens (photo by Bethanne Elion/ Blipfoto)

Written by David Harrower, Knives in Hens is a modern Scottish classic about the transformative power of knowledge as the world moves from the rural to the urban and industrial. This new production tours to Edinburgh, Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrews from June to July 2011.

  • A practical drama workshop exploring a contemporary approach to directing a classic text.
  • With a specific focus on Knives in Hens, the workshop is designed to promote discussion and widen understanding about directing theatre.
  • Designed for young people aged 14+.
  • Suitable for pupils studying Standard Grade, Intermediate and Higher Drama as well as youth theatre and drama group members.

Edinburgh: Mon 30 May – Sat 11 June
Inverness: Mon 13 – Thu 16 June
Dundee: Mon 27 – Thu 30 June

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE – School Summer Holidays
Aimed at youth theatres and drama groups

Aberdeen: Fri 1 – Sat 2 July
Glasgow: Mon 4 – Sat 9 July
St Andrews: Thu 14 – Sat 16 July

Men Should Weep workshop

Men Should Weep

Men Should Weep (photo by Jim Glass/ Blipfoto)

Written by Ena Lamont Stewart, Men Should Weep is a landmark play set amid the grinding poverty of Glasgow’s tenements in the 1930s. This new production tours to Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Perth from September to November 2011.

  • A practical drama workshop that creatively explores the National Theatre of Scotland production, Men Should Weep.
  • Suitable for students studying drama in schools, colleges and universities.

Glasgow: Mon 19 Sep – Fri 7 Oct
Inverness: Mon 24 – Fri 28 Oct
Aberdeen: Mon 31 Oct – Fri 4 Nov
Edinburgh: Mon 7 – Fri 11 Nov
Perth: Mon 14 – Fri 25 Nov


Cost: Free
Where: We will bring the workshop to your school or venue.
When: May – November 2011
Please refer to the workshop schedules for available dates in each area.
Duration: 2 hours (no shorter than a double period)
Numbers: Up to 30 people per workshop
Booking: Workshop sessions are limited and bookings are made on a first come, first served basis, subject to availability. Preference will be given to groups who have booked tickets to see the show.

For further information on all workshops please contact Philippa Tomlin, Creative Learning Co-ordinator, National Theatre of Scotland
Tel: 0141 227 9232
Email: philippa.tomlin@nationaltheatrescotland.com