Challenging the dominant view of a broken and discontinuous dramatic culture in Scotland, this book outlines the variety and richness of the nation´s performance traditions and multilingual theatre history. Brown illuminates enduring strands of hybridity and diversity which use theatre and theatricality as a means of challenging establishment views, and of exploring social, political, and religious change. He describes the ways in which politically and religiously divisive moments in Scottish history, such as the Reformation and political Union, fostered alternative dramatic modes and means of expression. This major revisionist history also analyses the changing relationships between drama, culture, and political change in Scotland in the 20th and 21st centuries, drawing on the work of an extensive range of modern and contemporary Scottish playwrights and drama practitioners.
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Biographical Note

Ian Brown is a playwright, poet and Professor of Drama at Kingston University, London. Until recently Chair of the Scottish Society of Playwrights, he was General Editor of the Edinburgh History of Scottish Theatre (2007) and editor of From Tartan to Tartanry: Scottish Culture, History and Myth (2010) and The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Drama (2011). He has published widely on theatre, cultural policy and literature and language.

Review Quotes

"Brown’s exceptional range of experience as playwright, academic and senior administrator with the Arts Council, makes this an immensely rewarding study. It enriches our understanding of theatre practice and theatre history both within and beyond Scotland." – Anne Varty, Royal Holloway, University of London
"Ian Brown’s monograph follows The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Drama he edited in 2011, and taken together, these books amount to a thorough and radical rethinking of the traditions of Scottish plays, performances, dramatic and theatrical structures and engagements through history, how we have encountered them, and how we might read them with fresh interest and deeper sympathy and understanding" – Alan Riach, Glasgow, in: The Bottle Imp 15 (2014) [ Full review]

Table of contents

Literary tradition and diversity of language
Hybridity and cultural gravity: crossing boundaries in Scottish cultures
Scots language: personal, political, social and commercial
The historiography of Scottish drama and public performance
Public enactments, gender, community and language
Twentieth-century drama, innovation and the Scots leid
Border-crossing, popular theatre and performative modes
Diversification, language, gender and sexuality
Rethinking dramaturgy
Appendix: The box-office appeal of new plays in Scots – some reflections


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