Marketing (Marketing Manager and main contact for Black Watch)
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email@example.com Lesley Watson, Marketing and Press Officer
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The National Theatre of Scotland Since its launch in February 2006, the National Theatre of Scotland has been involved in creating more than 48 productions in over 88 different locations. With no building of its own, the Company takes theatre all over Scotland and beyond, working with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. It takes place in the great buildings of Scotland, but also in site-specific locations, airports and tower blocks, community halls and drill halls, ferries and forests.
In Autumn 2007, the National Theatre of Scotland presents UK tours of dramatically different pieces of theatre including a new version by David Greig of Euripides’ The Bacchae and a magical adaptation of Luke Sutherland’s novel Venus as a Boy, performed by renowned Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn with author Luke Sutherland himself performing live music. A nationwide small-scale tour of two compelling and contrasting works - Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney and an adaptation of the charming children’s tale, A Sheep called Skye - will visit communities from the Highands to the Borders. For the first time, the National Theatre of Scotland will co-produce a site-specific work with environmental innovators NVA; Half Life, an intriguing day and night event set in Kilmartin Glen in Argyll which explores Neolithic Scottish myths and legends. The National Theatre of Scotland Learn Department pioneers a programme of events which, this Autumn includes Transform – a bold, innovative schools and communities project and Exchange, vibrant and urgent theatre for young people. In addition to its Scottish appearances, the National Theatre of Scotland will, for the first time, present work internationally; the multi award-winning Black Watch and TheWolves in the Walls will appear in the US.
Scottish theatre has always been for the people, led by great performances, great stories and great playwrights. The National Theatre of Scotland exists to build a new generation of theatre-goers as well as reinvigorating the existing ones; to create theatre on a national and international scale that is contemporary, confident and forward-thinking; to bring together brilliant artists, designers, composers, choreographers and playwrights; and to exceed expectations of what and where theatre can be.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Richard Findlay (Chair), Anne Bonnar, Allan Burns, Peter Cabrelli, Maggie Kinloch, Iain More and Irene Tweedie
The National Theatre of Scotland’s
BLACK WATCH By Gregory Burke
Directed by John Tiffany
David Colvin MACCA
Ali Craig STEWARTY
Emun Elliott FRAZ
Ryan Fletcher KENZIE
Jack Fortune OFFICER
Paul Higgins WRITER AND SERGEANT
Henry Pettigrew ROSSCO
Nabil Stuart NABSY
Paul Rattray CAMMY
Jordan Young GRANTY
John Tiffany Director
Steven Hoggett Associate Director (Movement)
Davey Anderson Associate Director (Music)
Laura Hopkins Set Design
Gareth Fry Sound Design
Colin Grenfell Lighting Design
Jessica Brettle Costume Design and Wardrobe Supervisor
Leo Warner and Video Design
Mark Grimmer for
Fifty Nine Productions Ltd
Carrie Hutcheon Company Stage Manager
Sarah Alford-Smith Deputy Stage Manager
Fiona Kennedy Assistant Stage Manager
Maria Bechaalani Lighting Supervisor
Andrew Elliott Sound Supervisor
Mark Sodergren Audio-Visual Technician
Jane Seymour Stage Technician
David Graham Technician
Christine Dove Wardrobe Assistant
The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by The Mackintosh Foundation under the Regional Theatre Director Scheme.
Black Watch was first performed on Saturday, August 5th 2006 at the Drill Hall, Forest Hill, Edinburgh. The original cast included Brian Ferguson (Cammy) and Peter Forbes (Officer).
ABouT THE ARTiSTS Davey Anderson
Associate Director (Music)
Davey trained at Glasgow University and is currently Director in Residence at the National Theatre of Scotland. His recent work includes: Rupture (National Theatre of Scotland/Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Falling (Dramaturg Poorboy/National Theatre of Scotland), Home: Glasgow (National Theatre of Scotland), Wired (Writer, Oran Mor), Tipping Point (Dramaturg, 7:84 Theatre Company), Snuff (Writer and Director, Arches Theatre, Glasgow as winner of the Arches Award for Stage Directors 2005), Weans in the Wood, Aladdie, Cinderella (Musical Director, Tron Theatre, Glasgow), House of Murders, Court of Miracles (Assistant Director, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow), Promised Lands, The Double Life (Director and Musical Director, Push Bar to Open), Traffic (Writer, 7:84 Theatre Company).
Gregory was born in Dunfermline in 1968. He was awarded the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright award in February 2002, and Best New Play at the TMA Barclays Awards for Gagarin Way, as well as sharing the Meyer-Whitworth Award for Gagarin Way. He is currently under commission with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and has recently completed a new play for the National Theatre’s Shell Connections 2006. Previous writing includes: On Tour, The Straits, Gagarin Way, The Party, Occy Eyes, and Shell Shocked.
Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor
Jessica completed a post-graduate diploma in Theatre Design at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2005. Design work includes: After Juliet and Into the Woods (Lyceum Theatre Summer on Stage), A Fond Kiss, Excuse My Dust and The Price of a Fish Supper (Oran MorE Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2007), co-designer Spanglebaby (Poorboy Theatre Co) at The Arches, Glasgow, costume designer The City Madam (Bristol Old Vic Studio), set designer The Front Page (Bristol Old Vic Studio), set and costume designer Krapps Last Tape (Bristol Old Vic Basement) and costume designer Fierce (Grid Iron Edinburgh Fringe 2004). Previously she was wardrobe supervisor at the Brunton Theatre for 15 years designing costumes for many in-house productions and all the pantomimes. She then went on to supervise at Pitlochry Festival Theatre and was assistant cutter at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow. She has worked freelance for many touring companies including Scottish Youth Theatre, Benchtours, TAG, Communicado, Wee Stories, The Singing Kettle and The Happy Gang. She is currently designing a production of Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie, part of the 2007/08 season at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.
David graduated with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) postgraduate Musical Theatre Course where he was highly recommended in the Ronald William White prize for Excellence in acting through song. Theater work includes: Bernstein’s Mass (London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Theatre), Honk (Everyman), Broadway Bound (RAM), The Real Inspector Hound, Jesus Christ Superstar (Orbit Theatre Co.). Television work includes: Casualty (BBC).
Ali trained at Mountview Academy of Performance Art. Theater work includes: a European tour of The Rocky Horror Show and college performances of Closer, A Slight Ache, Baby, Children of Eden. Television work includes: Monarch of the Glen, Sea of Souls (BBC). Radio work includes: Black Watch (BBC Radio 3).
Emun trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) where he was awarded The Gold Medal. Theater work includes: Ubu The King (Dundee Rep/Barbican Theatre), Captain Oate’s Left Sock, My Romantic History, (Royal Court Theatre) – play readings. RSAMD performances in Pericles, Electra and The Bite of the Night. Television work includes: Afterlife (ITV), Feel the Force (BBC), Monarch of the Glen (BBC). Film work includes: The Clan (Clan Films), Merry Christmas (Nord Ouest), Then A Summer Starts (Cineworks). Radio work includes: Places in Between (BBC Radio 4), Black Watch (BBC Radio 3).
Ryan trained at Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Theater work includes: The Wolves in the Walls (National Theatre of Scotland/Improbable), Ae Fond Kiss (Oran Mor – A Play a Pie and a Pint). Television work includes: River City (BBC Scotland), Victorians, The Night Sweeper (Ruby Films), Stop Look Listen (BBC). Radio work includes: Black Watch (BBC Radio 3). Ryan’s grandfather was in the Black Watch.
Jack’s theater work includes: King Lear (Bristol Old Vic), Memory of Water, Popcorn (Apollo Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (New Victoria Theatre), An Ideal Husband (Plymouth Theatre Royal), Arms and the Man (Cambridge Theatre Co.), The Boys Next Door (Hampstead Theatre), Hamlet (Northern Classical Theatre), Far From the Madding Crowd, The Normal Heart, (Bolton Octagon Theatre) All My Sons (Redgrave Theatre), Martine (Thorndike Theatre), Made in Bangkok, Noises Off (Chester Gateway Theatre), The Assignment (Nuffield Theatre), The Glass Menagerie, (Leicester Haymarket), S.I.W (Kings Head Theatre), Piaf (Nottingham Playhouse), Julius Caesar (Young Vic Theatre), Volpone, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Shadow of a Gunman, Otherwise Engaged (Library Theatre). Television work includes: Dunkirk, Judge John Deed, Casualty, Cardiac Arrest, Dangerfield, To Play The King , Between the Lines, Your Cheatin’ Heart, The Justice Game (BBC), Sparkling Cyanide, Serious and Organised (ITV), North Square (C4), Soldier, Soldier (Carlton), Harry Enfield’s TV Programme, (Hat Trick), Taggart, The Advocates (STV), Forever Green (Carnival for LWT), Tales of the Unexpected (Anglia) Henry VI, Richard III (BBC Shakespeare Series). Film work includes: Tumbledown (BBC), The Lovechild (Channel 4 Films). Numerous commentaries for BBC Horizon and other documentaries including the Emmy Award-winning Why The Twin Towers Fell. Jack’s grandfather, father and brother all served in the Black Watch and saw active service in both world wars, in Cyprus and in Northern Ireland.
Gareth trained at the Central School of Speech & Drama in Theatre Design. His recent work as a Sound Designer includes: The Overwhelming (Laura Pels Theatre, NY), A Matter of Life and Death, Attempts on her Life (National Theatre), Noise of Time (with the Emerson String Quartet), Strange Poetry (with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra), Mnemonic (associate), Genoa 0 (Complicite), Waves (2007 Olivier Award for Best Sound Design), The Overwhelming, Theatre of Blood, Fix Up, Iphigenia at Aulis, The Three Sisters, Ivanov, The Oresteia (National Theatre), Harvest, Forty Winks, Under the Whaleback, Night Songs, Face to the Wall, Redundant, Mountain Language, Ashes to Ashes, The Country (Royal Court Theatre). Other work includes: O Go My Man, Talking to Terrorists, Macbeth (Out of Joint), Astronaut (Theatre O), Romans in Britain, Shadowmouth (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), The Bull, The Flowerbed, Giselle (Fabulous Beast), Almost Blue (Riverside Studios, Associate Director), By the Bog of Cats (Wyndhams Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Savoy Theatre), Zero Degrees, Drifting (Unlimited Theatre), Time and Space (Living Dance Studio, Beijing), Living Costs (DV8 at Tate Modern), Phaedra’s Love (Bristol Old Vic/Barbican Theatre), The Watery Part of the World (Battersea Arts Centre), World Music, The Dark (Donmar Warehouse), Eccentricities of a Nightingale (Gate, Dublin), The Found Man, Mr. Placebo (Traverse Theatre). He also designs the music and sound systems for Somerset House’s ice rink.
Colin’s theatre work includes: The Bacchae (National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival), Enjoy (Watford Palace Theatre), The Atheist (Theatre 503), Soap (Northampton Theatre Royal), 2 Graves (Arts Theatre), Unprotected (Liverpool/Everyman & Traverse Theatre), Separate Tables, Kes (Royal Exchange Manchester), Rabbit (Old Red Lion/Trafalgar Studios). For Improbable Theatre: Theatre of Blood (National Theatre), The Hanging Man (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, BAM, US Tour), Spirit (Royal Court Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, UK & US Tours), Coma (UK Tour), Lifegame (National Theatre, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Off Broadway, UK Tour,), Animo (UK Tour, Little Angel Theatre), 70 Hill Lane (UK & International Tours), Mitchell and Webb (UK Tour), Presence (Plymouth Theatre Royal), Papa Mas, Playing The Victim (Told By An Idiot), Kosher Harry, Bodytalk (Royal Court Theatre), Missing Reel (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Tangle (Unlimited Theatre), Old King Cole, Yikes!! (Unicorn Theatre), The Unthinkable (Sheffield Crucible), Heavenly (Frantic Assembly), Marie Luisa (Gate Theatre), My Dad’s a Birdman (Young Vic), Crime and Punishment in Dalston (Arcola Theatre), Ben Hur (Battersea Arts Centre), Breaststrokes (Stella Duffy), Life in the Folds (out of inc), Charlie Lavender (Southwark Playhouse), Would Say Something, Consuming Songs, Bottle (Guy Dartnell, UK Tour), Ladies and Gentlemen Where am I? (Cartoon de Salvo), Stiff (Spymonkey, UK & World Tour), Two Dreamers (Primitive Science). Opera work includes: Fidelio (Opera Theatre Company), La Boheme (English Touring Opera/ Opera Theatre Company),The Merry Widow, Rigoletto, Cosi Fan Tutte, Pique Dame, Andrea Chenier, Eugene Onegin (Opera Holland Park), The Rape of Lucretia (Guildhall),The Magic Flute, A Midsummer Nights Dream (British Youth Opera), Cendrillon, L’Enfant et Les Sortileges, Le Nozze di Figaro, Falstaff (RSAMD), Passions (BAC). Colin and his co-designers Julian Crouch, Phil Eddols and Stephen Snell won the TMA Best Design award for The Hanging Man.
Mark is the Creative Producer of Fifty Nine Productions. Current projects include Satyagraha (The Met, New York), Alex (Arts Theatre), Carmen (English National Opera), Warhorse (National Theatre) and Salome (Royal Opera).
Recent work includes: Satyagraha (Improbable/English National Opera), Waves and Attempts On Her Life (National Theatre), The Seven Deadly Sins (Royal Ballet), Roam (National Theatre of Scotland/Grid Iron) and The Escapologist (Suspect Culture).
Paul’s theatre work includes: Damascus (Traverse Theatre), The Tempest (Tron Theatre), Paul, An Enemy of the People, and The Hare Trilogy (National Theatre [UK]), The Cosmonaut’s Last Message (Donmar Warehouse), Macbeth and Conversations After a Burial, (Almeida Theatre), Measure for Measure (Royal Shakespeare Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe Theatre), Nightsongs, American Bagpipes, Conquest of the South Pole and A Wholly Healthy Glasgow (Royal Court Theatre). Television includes: The Thick of It, The Last Enemy (BBC), Low Winter Sun (C4), Murder, The Negotiator, Tumbledown (BBC), Staying Alive and The Birthday Girl (ITV). Films include: Red Road (Sigma/Zentropa), Complicity and Bedrooms and Hallways. Radio work includes: Black Watch (BBC Radio 3).
Laura trained in Interior Design and at the Motley Theatre Design course. Her recent work includes: The Class Club (Duckie at the Barbican Theatre), The Three Musketeers (Bristol Old Vic), Sinatra (costumes, London Palladium); Hamlet, Faustus (TMA award winner, Best Design) and Othello (also nominated for TMA award) (all Northampton Royal), Mercury Fur (Paines Plough), The INS Broadcasting Unit at the Institute of Contemporary Art; Elixir of Love (New Zealand Opera) and Carnesky’s Ghost Train (a visual theatre ride). Previous work includes: Cosi Fan Tutte and Falstaff (English National Opera), The Storm, Dido, Queen of Carthage, The Golden Ass and Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Mister Heracles (TMA award for Best Design) (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Swan Lake Re-mixed (Volksoper, Vienna), Clair de Luz (ICA) and The Rake’s Progress (Welsh National Opera). Future work includes an adaptation of Simon Schama’s book Rough Crossings and Peer Gynt at the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis.
Associate Director (Movement)
Steven is co-founder and Artistic Director with Frantic Assembly, directing and/or performing in all of their shows. Recent work includes: (Pool) No Water, Dirty Wonderland and Hymns. Additional performance credits include Manifesto (Volcano Theatre Company) and Go Las Vegas (The Featherstonehaughs). Choreography and movement direction credits include The Bacchae (National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival), The Hothouse and Market Boy (National Theatre), Wolves In The Walls (National Theatre Scotland/Improbable), Mercury Fur and The Straights (Paines Plough), vs (Karim Tonsi Dance Company, Cairo), Waving (Oily Carte), Improper (Bare Bones Dance Company) and Villette (Stephen Joseph Theatre). Additional choreography includes work for Prada, Selfridges, Radio One and the award-winning TV commercial “Harmonious Dance” for Orange.
Henry trained at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, graduating in 2005. Theater credits include: The Bevellers (Citizens’ Theatre), Troilus and Cressida (Edinburgh International Festival/Royal Shakespeare Company). Television work includes: Belsen (C4) and Midsomer Murders - “Dance With The Dead” (ITV). Film work includes: Next of Kin. Radio work includes: The Sun at Midnight (BBC).
Paul trained at the Drama Centre London. Theater work includes: The Long, the Short and the Tall (Sheffield Crucible), East Coast Chicken Supper and Shimmer (Traverse Theatre), In the Blue (Young Vic), Dinner (National Theatre), Decky Does a Bronco (Grid Iron) Cool Water Murder (Coventry Belgrade), The Anatomist (Royal Lyceum), Handbag (ATC/Lyric Hammersmith). Films include: Creep, Enigma, Max, Mike Bassett England Manager, Morvern Cellar, Simple Things, Wet Work, Nice, The Furnished Room. Television: Last Rights (C4), Casualty (BBC), The Bill (ITV) and The Night Sweeper (Ruby Films). Radio includes: Cool Water Murder (BBC Radio 4), Black Watch (BBC Radio 3).
Nabil trained at the Drama Centre London. Theater work includes: a range of roles at drama school including Macbeth, A Doll’s House and Hotel Paradiso. Nabil graduated last year and his performance in Black Watch was his first professional theater job. Film work includes: 16 Years of Alcohol filmed in Edinburgh in 2001.
John studied Classics and Theatre at the University of Glasgow and is Associate Director (New Work) for the National Theatre of Scotland. Previously, he was Associate Director at Paines Plough and Literary Director at the Traverse Theatre. Recent work includes: The Bacchae (National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival), Elizabeth Gordon Quinn by Chris Hannan and Home: Glasgow (National Theatre of Scotland), Jerusalem by Simon Armitage (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Las Chicas del Tres y Media Floppies by Luis Enrique Monasterio (Granero Theatre, Mexico City and Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Work for Paines Plough includes: If Destroyed True by Douglas Maxwell, Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley, The Straits by Gregory Burke (also Off-Broadway). Work for the Traverse includes: Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke (also National Theatre, West End and world tour), Abandonment by Kate Atkinson, Among Unbroken Hearts by Henry Adam (also National Theatre), Perfect Days by Liz Lochhead (also West End) and Passing Places by Stephen Greenhorn (also Citizens’ Theatre and tour). John has won a clutch of awards in recent years including the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director and a South Bank Show Award for Black Watch, Fringe Firsts for Black Watch, Las Chicas del Tres y Media Floppies, Gagarin Way and Perfect Days and Herald Angels for The Straits and Black Watch. In June of this year, Black Watch won Best Director, Best Production, Best Ensemble and Best Technical Presentation at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
Leo is the Creative Director of Fifty Nine Productions. Current projects include Satyagraha (The Met, New York), Alex (Arts Theatre), Carmen (English National Opera), Warhorse (National Theatre) and Salome (Royal Opera).
Recent work includes: Satyagraha (Improbable/English National Opera), Waves and Attempts On Her Life (National Theatre), The Seven Deadly Sins (Royal Ballet), Roam (National Theatre of Scotland/Grid Iron), The Escapologist (Suspect Culture), Fierce (Grid Iron), Borderland (7:84 Theatre Company) Sweet Fanny Adams In Eden (Stellar Quines).
Jordan’s theater work includes: The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, Beauty and the Beast (Royal Lyceum Theatre), Cinderella, Mother Goose and Sleeping Beauty (Glasgow King’s Theatre) Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lachlan’s Choice Hotel (Brunton Theatre), Cyrano (Catherine Wheels), Angels Wings and Rain (Oran Mor), Aladdin (Macrobert Theatre), The Seagull (Edinburgh International Festival/Russian Drama Centre Riga), Cinderella (Take Two Productions), Our Boys (Theatre Enigma). Television work includes: Danny in Legit, Only an Excuse Hogmany Show, Still Game (BBC), Strange Case Of Sherlock Holmes (BBC), Rebus (SMG), Driving Lessons (by Jeremy Brock) and Wild Country (Gabriel Films). Radio work includes: Shellshocked and Black Watch (BBC Radio 3). Jordan is from Fife and his grandfather served in the Black Watch.
There is a pride in Scotland - romanticised perhaps, but a pride none the less - about our military traditions. Scotland has always provided a percentage of the British Army disproportionate to its population's size. Where does this martial culture sit alongside the shortbread-tin version of the Highlands, or the socialist glory of the former industrial areas? What is the enduring appeal of regiments like the Black Watch?
Young men around the world are often limited to narrow, predetermined roles that prove more fragile and less sustainable under the pressures of growing up. Many of them find that the identities they would wish to choose for themselves aren't available when they reach adulthood. If the environment does not offer an alternative when this change confronts them, then sometimes they turn to those organisations that are adept at exploiting this need for identity.
During the rehearsals for Black Watch, a former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Regiment gave the actors the benefit of both two hundred and sixty-seven years of parade ground insults, and of the particular attention the Regiment pays to what a layman might find trivial. The exact way to wear your uniform. The impulse to turn as much of the world as possible into an acronym. But mostly what he taught them about was pride. To take a pride in yourself. To take a pride in what you are doing. To take a pride in your appearance. To take a pride in what you represent. When the actors first mastered a piece of marching, he took them outside and made them march in the street: he was proud of them and he wanted other people to see what they could do. To me this was indicative of the seductive nature of surrendering yourself to an institution that has refined its appeal to the male psyche’s yearning for a strong identity.
Like any military unit, the Black Watch has to carve out its own identity. It has to see itself and its members as special. It has several tactics for achieving this. Its history is drummed into recruits from the day they enter basic training. Then there are the uniforms: the kilts, and the red hackle which they wear on their Tam O'Shanters. There are the Pipes and Drums, who played at John F Kennedy's funeral and tour the world.
There is a cachet to be had from serving in the Black Watch, the oldest Highland regiment. They call it the "Golden Thread": the connection that runs through the history of the regiment since its formation. Even today, in our supposedly fractured society, the regiment exists on a different plane. In Iraq, there were lads serving alongside their fathers. There were groups of friends from even the smallest communities: The army does best in those areas of the country the Ministry of Defence describes as having "settled communities". The Army does not recruit well in London or any other big city; fighting units tend to be more at home with homogeneity than with metropolitanism or multiculturalism. The central core of the regiment has always been the heartland of Perthshire, Fife, Dundee and Angus.
When the clans of Scotland used to fight they would have people who stood in front of the soldiers and recited the names of their ancestors. In the end, our soldiers don’t fight for Britain or for the government or for Scotland. They fight for their regiment. Their company. Their platoon. And for their mates.
Gregory Burke, 2007
Black Watch – a timeline Dec 2004 Vicky Featherstone, the newly appointed Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, asks writer Gregory Burke to monitor the amalgamation of the Black Watch with the other Scottish regiments.
Nov 2005 The first season of the new National Theatre of Scotland is announced.
Feb 2006 HOME, a weekend of free performances marks the first production of the National Theatre of Scotland, staged in 10 locations simultaneously throughout Scotland.
June 2006 Black Watch rehearsals begin, with John Tiffany, the National Theatre of Scotland’s Associate Director (New Work) directing.
Aug 2006 The first public performance of Black Watch, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is staged in a disused drill hall on August 1st. Performing to full houses, standing ovations and unanimous critical acclaim, Black Watch wins a Herald Angel, Fringe First, Best Theatre Writing Award (The List) and The Stage Award for Best Ensemble.
Jan 2007 Black Watch wins the South Bank Show Award for Theatre and John Tiffany wins Best Director at the Critics’ Circle Awards.
Mar 2007 Black Watch begins its Scottish tour in a disused Hydraulic Laboratory in Pitlochry.
Apr 2007 Performances include a school gym in Aberdeen and The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow.
May 2007 Performances include a drill hall in Dumfries and The Highland Football Academy in Dingwall. Black Watch is filmed by the BBC, to be screened on national television later in 2007 and is also broadcast as a radio play on BBC Radio 3.
June 2007 Black Watch wins Best Production, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Technical Presentation at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
The Right Honorable. Alex Salmond MSP, Scotland’s First Minister, invites the National Theatre of Scotland to perform three free performances of Black Watch to celebrate the opening of the Scottish Parliament; one performance for veterans groups and charities, one for the public and a gala performance attended by MSPs and VIPs including Sir Sean Connery.
Sep 2007 The first National Theatre of Scotland production to be performed internationally, Black Watch opens at UCLA Live.
Oct 2007 Black Watch opens in New York.
A note from Vicky Featherstone Black Watch has been described in the press as a cultural landmark of the twenty-first century (Sunday Herald, March 2007). A lofty claim indeed, but it is only once in a lifetime that a piece of theatre is created which celebrates the vibrancy and possibility of the art form with every second of its performance, which explodes something we are collectively struggling to understand – in this case the Iraq War – and provides a visceral resonance which permeates universally. Black Watch is that piece of theatre. That it exists at all is testament to the wonderful people who made it and to the stories the soldiers communicated to us, but also to something which could be another cultural landmark of the twenty-first century – the National Theatre of Scotland. Black Watch sums up what we are and what we want to be. We have no building, which means we can create theatre without walls. We work in partnership to find the appropriate co-producers and theatres for our work to have maximum impact on our audience.
Paradoxically, that Black Watch remains so urgent is not something to be celebrated. Only the day before the performance to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament in June 2007, two former Black Watch soldiers were killed in Iraq by a roadside improvised explosive device.
Since our programme leapt onto the theatre scene in February 2006 with its opening production Home, which took place simultaneously in ten different regions in Scotland, we have produced over fifty different pieces of theatre in over eighty different locations.
Black Watch is our first production to perform internationally, first in Los Angeles and then in New York where it will be joined by our production of The Wolves in the Walls – a musical pandemonium based on the book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.
Although Black Watch has taken us all by storm, we have a fantastic body of other work too which has exceeded all our expectations. I urge you to visit our website to give you a flavour of these.
Everything to which we aspire is about challenging the notion of what theatre can achieve. It is about enabling creative professionals and participants to take risks and be innovative, about trying to do things flexibly and out of our comfort zones to create experiences for audiences which merit the creation of a cultural institution in an international world in the twenty-first century. As far as we can, we want to create environments for artists to flourish – for their voices to come through, for us to trust that through them, we can see our complex world in a different way.
Black Watch started as an assignment – I asked Gregory Burke to follow the story of the soon-to-be-amalgamated Black Watch Regiment in 2004. He was of course already doing this, which is why he was the right person for the job. We have about ten assignments a year where we ask playwrights and artists to follow something – anything from huge stories to fleeting moments – not needing to know where they will end.
From this work, Greg and John Tiffany created Black Watch through a series of workshops and research sessions. They achieved this thanks to a stunning and fearless creative team, comprising Steven Hoggett, Davey Anderson, Laura Hopkins, Jessica Brettle, Colin Grenfell, Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer and Gareth Fry, and to the tireless trust and brilliance of the cast. The first time it was a leap into the unknown. Doing it again has created another set of challenges, and I want to thank everyone at the National Theatre of Scotland who has worked so hard to bring Black Watch to the Scottish, and now, the international stage.
If the non-building-based model of this National Theatre of Scotland can create something so universal, so powerful and so pertinent, we genuinely do have the opportunity here to create a cultural landmark. Not a monument to the past, but rather a breathing, flexible, challenging and bold movement for the future.
Artistic Director, The National Theatre of Scotland
Director’s Note In August 2005, a couple of months after I started working at the National Theatre of Scotland, I attended a cycle of plays at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh as part of the International Festival. The cycle was produced by the Galway-based Druid Theatre Company and consisted of all six of J. M. Synge’s plays performed by the same company of actors over nine hours with breaks for sustenance. It was a truly amazing experience to sit and watch the entire dramatic output of one brilliant playwright. As a celebration of the achievements of Irish theatre, it felt truly national.
I got to thinking about the role of NTS in terms of the history of Scottish theatre, and how we could honour and rouse its traditions. There have been, and continue to be, many great dramatists producing great plays over the years. Major revivals of Scottish classics along with world premieres will always have a strong presence in our programme. But the plays are not the whole story. Fuelled by variety, visual art, music and a deep love of storytelling, Scotland’s artists have created a form of theatre that is as significant and vital as its written drama. It features narration, song, movement, stand-up comedy, film, politics and, above all, an urgent need to connect with its audience. It is often contemporaneous with world events and issues,
although never dry and academic, and therefore deeply relevant and bound to the time in which it is created. It is a distinct form of theatre of which Scotland can be very proud.
It is a tradition that has been fired by, and has found expression in, the work of a great number of theatre companies and artists: John McGrath and 7:84 changed the face of Scottish theatre with The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, which encompassed two hundred years of Scottish history from the Clearances in the eighteenth century to the discovery of North Sea oil in the seventies; Gerry Mulgrew and Communicado collaborated with Liz Lochhead and Edwin Morgan to create visceral and riotous shows such as Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off and Cyrano de Bergerac; Bill Bryden told the story of dying industry with a great demotic energy in The Ship, performed in the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Govan. All these pieces of theatre used cabaret, spectacle, passion and honesty to communicate with their audiences.
It is these productions, among others, that were the inspiration behind the ambition of Black Watch. This ambition resulted in a development and rehearsal process that was unfamiliar to me, Greg Burke and the creative team. For the most part we were making it up as we went along. At the end of 2004, as one of the first things she did as Artistic Director of NTS, Vicky Featherstone asked Greg to keep an eye on the story of the Black Watch, who had just returned to Scotland from Camp Dogwood. When I joined the company in April 2005, Greg had discovered some fascinating stories with real dramatic potential, so we decided to programme the piece in our inaugural year as a ‘highly physical piece of political theatre’. I told Greg not to go away and write a fictional drama set in Iraq, but that instead we should try and tell the ‘real’ stories of the soldiers in their own words. This led to Greg interviewing a group of Black Watch lads in a Fife pub over a couple of months (thanks to our researcher Sophie Johnston), all of whom had just left the regiment. I knew that I wanted to perform the piece in a space in which we could create our own version of the Tattoo, with seating banks down either side of an esplanade. This we found in Edinburgh, in an old drill hall near the Castle that was being used as a car park by the university. For the first time as a director, and through nobody’s fault but my own, I was going into rehearsals without a script. All we had were the interviews, some traditional Black Watch songs and the dimensions of the drill hall. Luckily Greg had been secretly writing some fictional scenes set in Dogwood and these made a powerful contrast with the pub interviews. We soon had material from Steven Hoggett, Associate Director (Movement), who was working with the actors on a ‘letters from home’ sequence and brought in a Regimental Sergeant Major to teach us parade marches, and Davey Anderson, Associate Director (Music), who was creating radical new arrangements of the Black Watch songs.
We also had fantastic support from Sarah Alford-Smith, our Stage Manager, who created a twenty-first-century rehearsal environment with internet access, DVD players and video cameras, and who, along with the actors, collated a goldmine of news reports, radio extracts, documentaries, political speeches, statistics and visual references. Even with all this material it still wasn’t clear to us whether we had a piece of theatre that would communicate anything to an audience. We continued not to know until the first night in Edinburgh. Then it became apparent that there was a real connection being made and that we were telling a story that the audience desperately wanted to hear.
John Tiffany, February 2007
Promotional copy Following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival in summer 2006, unanimous critical acclaim and a stunning audience response, the award-winning Black Watch is on tour.
Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on recent interviews conducted by Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again.
John Tiffany’s production makes powerful and inventive use of movement, music and song to create a visceral, complex and urgent piece of theatre.
Black Watch has won a South Bank Show Theatre Award, Herald Angel Award, Scotsman Fringe
First Award, The List Best Theatre Writing Award, Critics’ Circle Award (Best Director), The Stage
Award for Best Ensemble, Best Production, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Technical
Presentation at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
Press quotes “Black Watch is an astonishing artistic whirlwind. The world must see this play. Immediately.” The Herald *****
“Brimming with breathtaking theatricality, inventiveness, style, thought provoking intelligence, humour and heart.. An unmissable piece of theatre.”
The Metro * * * * *
“A mature and complex piece of political theatre – fierce, passionate and unguarded.”
The Guardian ***** “Few will come away untouched by this thrilling, raw, challenging and masterful piece of work” The Times ***** “Black Watch is a glorious piece of theatre, raw, truthful, uncomfortable, political funny, moving, graceful and dynamic”
Scotland on Sunday “ A magnificent piece of social and political theatre, a high point not just of the festival but of the theatrical year”
Notes for the box office: The Facts:
A sell-out show at the Edinburgh festival ’06.
Sean Connery announced it was the best thing he’d seen at the festival
Received 10 five star reviews and 1 six star review and has won 6 awards.
Cast – 10 fantastic Scottish actors.
Director – John Tiffany (Associate Director – New Work, NTS)
Writer - Fife-born Gregory Burke (Gagarin Way, The Straits) has been began researching the play in 2004 and conducted the interviews with former soldiers.
Topical story - the play looks at the recent disbanding of the Black Watch regiment and other Scottish regiments to create the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Awards: Black Watch has won a South Bank Show Theatre Award, Herald Angel Award, Scotsman Fringe First Award, The List Best Theatre Writing Award, Critics’ Circle Award (Best Director), The Stage Award for Best Ensemble, Best Production, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Technical Presentation at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland
Internationally renowned – Since its first outing, Black Watch has gained an international reputation. In addition to the Scottish tour Black Watch will be touring to LA and New York
The script will be for sale for £6 (schools can receive one free copy for every 20 tickets)
About the Performance Black Watch is 1 hour and 50 minutes long with no interval. Due to the highly physical nature of the performance if you need to leave during the show you must be escorted by an usher. You will not be allowed to re-enter the show.
Black Watch contains very strong language.
Black Watch has unreserved seating, there are no restricted view seats. The seating bank contains comfortable, modern theatre seats.
FAQs: What’s it about?
It’s the story of one group of Scottish soldiers in the last days of the Black Watch regiment. It tells their story in Fife and in Iraq. It’s based on real interviews conducted by the playwright, Gregory Burke, with former Black Watch soldiers last year.
What’s it like?
Black Watch is a visually spectacular event. It’s not set in a normal theatre venue has special effects, sound effects, the highest standard of multimedia, fantastic choreography and music. Old army songs have been set to newly commissioned music to create a haunting sound track, often sung by the cast.
Will I like it?
Black Watch is probably like nothing else you might have seen. It’s breathtaking, funny and sad; it will make you feel angry and at times stunned.
Is it anti/pro war?
No. Black Watchreveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again. This is the story as seen by those on the front line and very much more than either an anti-war or pro-war polemic.
Who is it suitable for?
The show contains strong language – it uses the real words of some foul mouthed soldiers from fife – there is some loud sound effects and some bangs. BSL Signed
Need more information? The National Theatre of Scotland’s web site has photos from the production, vox pops from audience members, interviews with the creative team and all the reviews from Edinburgh. www.nationaltheatrescotland.com
Credits When mentioning Black Watch please, when possible use the following credit:
The National Theatre of Scotland’s
By Gregory Burke
Directed by John Tiffany
Please refer to the National Theatre of Scotland rather than NTS or NToS.
When including logos please use the following logo
The National Theatre of Scotland is funded by The Scottish Government
Please credit all Black Watch photography to Manuel Harlan
When possible please let the National Theatre of Scotland approve all material featuring the logo or