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‘Shortage of Scots at National Theatre of Scotland’ says Liz Lochhead

Liz Lochhead. Photo: Norman McBeath Liz Lochhead. Photo: Norman McBeath
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Dramatist and poet Liz Lochhead has cautioned that there are not enough Scottish creatives working at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Lochhead, who was made Scots Makar – the national poet for Scotland – in 2011, said that as result the theatre may be missing out on the country’s “gutsy, rough-and-ready” theatrical culture.

Speaking to poetry magazine Gutter, Lochhead said that the theatre company had been a “mixed bag” since it was founded, but added that it had had “spectacular successes”, including Black Watch by Gregory Burke.

She continued: “I think it’s a great pity that there’s a shortage of Scottish people working in the National Theatre of Scotland. It’s just a shame, you know. I’ve nothing against any of the people that do work there. I just wish there were some more Scots, some more people with a Scottish theatrical culture.”

National Theatre of Scotland was founded in 2006, and was run by English artistic director Vicky Featherstone until 2013. The role was then taken on by Laurie Sansom, who is also English.

When asked how the company may change under Sansom’s direction, Lochhead responded: “I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the arts in Scotland. The National Theatre of Scotland is funded directly by the government and they’ve got really quite a lot of money. They’ve got all the budget for theatre in Scotland, really. And it’s in the hands of a very few people, few of them Scottish.”

Responding to Lochhead’s claims, an NTS spokeswoman said: “While we do not agree with Liz Lochhead’s assessment of the National Theatre of Scotland, we continue to welcome healthy debate about Scotland’s vibrant theatre scene.”

A spokesman for Lochhead declined to comment further.

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