Editorial Vol 4 Issue 2

The theme of this issue of IJOSTS is ‘Networks of influence’. It recognises that Scottish theatre and screen constitute part of wider policies and movements and also deal with and have an impact on topics of international significance. Contemporary Scottish theatre and screen are active partners in world theatre and international film and television. The contributions to this issue each in their own way mark this outward-looking dimension.  

The first peer-reviewed article is by Danièle Berton, the distinguished French scholar, whose work on contemporary Scottish theatre is recognised and whose analysis of Matthew Zajac’s The Tailor of Inverness applies Deleuze and Guattari’s theories in innovative ways. Berton employs continental critical and theoretical approaches to the critique of a Scottish play and uses Deleuze and Guattari’s work to open up fresh insights into the form and practice of Zajac’s play. This, in its own terms, deals with the wide-ranging impact of the Second World War on communities and individuals, and has achieved considerable international success. The networks of communication along which Zajac’s father, the Tailor of Inverness, travels mark the disruption brought about by the disaster that is war and yet they also mark the need and potential for surprising new beginnings. In recognition of this, this issue’s cover page features the Dogstar Theatre Company’s production photograph (courtesy of Matthew Zajac) of The Tailor of Inverness which previewed at the Arches Theatre, Glasgow, on 29th and 30th July 2008 and opened at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 31st July the same year. An instant success, it won the Scotsman Fringe First Award, The Stage Award for Best Solo Performer at the Fringe (Matthew Zajac), and subsequently toured around Scotland and Australia.  

The second article, by David Hutchison, considers networks of influence in the more specific sense of media policy and the interaction of television and radio with other media outlets and with Scottish theatre and literature. Hutchison outlines key aspects of contemporary policy,  in an authoritative and wide ranging discussion that places the operation of Scottish broadcasting in the wider context of recent developments in programming considerations and  that addresses possible futures for the changing networks of political possibility in which Scotland currently finds itself.  

The third article, by Ian Brown, draws on recent research into the roles of dramaturgs in British theatre, and on his own practice-as-research experience over the years in developing a variety of initiatives in playwright development. He demonstrates key vectors of influence in the establishment of playwrights’ workshops and, to an extent, dramaturgs or literary managers in the UK.  The crux of the article is Brown’s argument that the Scottish Society of Playwrights held vital significance in these areas of development, particularly in the period between 1974 and 1985, when it sought to acclimatise to UK theatre practices the new writing model introduced by Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, USA. He outlines the SSP’s influence on the nurturing of new generations of British playwrights over the last thirty years and the often- overlooked influence that 1970s experiments in Scottish theatre had on the enriching a wide-ranging and vibrant contemporary theatre culture in Britain today. Brown also points in his article to the burgeoning importance of dramaturgs in British theatre, and suggests that in its most recent forms British dramaturgy partly grew out of the work of the SSP, inspired by the O’Neill Center’s work under its founder, George White, and first Artistic Director, Lloyd Richards.  

This issue’s forum article is an important interview of Andrea Calderwood by Christopher Meir. The interview offers another perspective on Calderwood’s outstanding career and yet another insight into the ways in which networks of influence have shaped Scottish screen and theatre and their ever changing and influential role, both nationally and globally, in shaping of the theatre and media cultures of other nations.  

Ian Brown  

Ksenija Horvat