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First Director of the National Theatre of Scotland appointed


The inaugural Director of the National Theatre of Scotland has been appointed, Chairman Richard Findlay announced today (29 July 2004). She is Vicky Featherstone, currently Director of Paines Plough theatre company, a dynamic theatre director with an outstanding track record in British theatre. Ms Featherstone is recognised as a champion of new and cutting-edge writing, including several Scottish writers. Her appointment signals a firm commitment to new work, as well as established writers, by the National Theatre of Scotland.  The recipient of 12 theatre awards in the past five years alone, Featherstone is also well known for bringing a number of critically acclaimed productions to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe over many years, and for her work with Graeae Theatre Company, which presents productions by people with physical and sensory impairments.

Announcing the appointment at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Richard Findlay said: "I am delighted that Vicky Featherstone has agreed to become our first Director. She is an outstanding theatre director, is highly driven, and has a clear vision of what she wants to achieve in the role. Vicky is rightly recognised as a major force in British theatre and I am looking forward to working with her to bring inspirational theatre to everyone in Scotland."

The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Frank McAcveety MSP, welcomed the appointment and added: "The creation of the first National Theatre of Scotland is testimony to our commitment to see the arts flourish here in Scotland. We are aiming for world-class productions, which will make a major contribution to our cultural life.  I am delighted to welcome Vicky Featherstone to the job of ensuring that the National Theatre of Scotland is something that we can be proud of and that will make Scotland's mark on the international cultural stage."

Vicky Featherstone said: "I am honoured to be charged with the historic responsibility of developing and achieving the founding vision for the National Theatre of Scotland. The company will build upon all that is vibrant, dynamic and ground-breaking in Scotland and the Scottish theatre scene, to create life-changing theatre for all to enjoy."

Jim Tough, Deputy Director, Scottish Arts Council also welcomed the appointment and said: "Vicky Featherstone's international reputation as a producer and director sets the tone for an outward-looking National Theatre. Her energy and proven confidence in Scottish theatre artists promises an invigorating and diverse National Theatre of Scotland. The appointment of a woman to this senior artistic position should give added encouragement to women artists, who are currently under-represented in leadership posts in the sector."

During Ms Featherstone's seven-year tenure as Artistic Director of Paines Plough, she is credited with having catapulted the company into its current position as one of Britain's leading theatre companies. Major productions that Featherstone has directed for Paines Plough include: On Blindness by Glyn Cannon, The Drowned World by Gary Owen, Tiny Dynamite by Abi Morgan, Crazy Gary's Mobile Disco by Gary Owen, Splendour by Abi Morgan; The Cosmonaut's Last Message To The Woman He Once Loved In The Former Soviet Union by David Greig, Crave by Sarah Kane; Sleeping Around by Stephen Greenhorn, Hilary Fannin, Abi Morgan and Mark Ravenhill; and Crazyhorse by Parv Bancil.

Next year, Ms Featherstone is due to launch a season of four world premieres at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London by Enda Walsh, Philip Ridley, David Greig and Douglas Maxwell. David Greig's and Douglas Maxwell's plays are co-productions with The Tron, Glasgow, and Dundee Rep respectively. Also starting next year is the off-Broadway production of Abi Morgan's Tiny Dynamite, also directed by Featherstone, and a children's opera, developed with Improbable Theatre.

Ms Featherstone's recent awards include two prestigious TMA (Theatrical Management Association) Awards in 2001 for Best Play and Best Director for Splendour; and three Fringe First Awards - in 2003 (The Drowned World), 2001 (Splendour) and 1999 (Riddance). 

Vicky Featherstone spent much of her early childhood in Scotland, attending primary school in Alva, Clackmannanshire, before moving to India with her family. She has worked in Scotland for a significant part of her career and has spent many years forming fruitful relationships and collaborations with established Scottish writers such as David Greig, Douglas Maxwell, Gregory Burke, Mike Cullen, Stephen Greenhorn, David Harrower and Linda McLean, to produce some of their most exciting work. Ms Featherstone is also well known as a champion of other world-class writers, including Mark Ravenhill, Sarah Kane, Abi Morgan and Gary Owen.  Her extensive international work includes international tours with Paines Plough and master-classes for foreign companies visiting the UK. She recently directed Caryl Churchill's A number for the National Theatre of Slovenia and has worked in Mexico, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Lithuania.

Ms Featherstone will take up her post on 1st November.

Notes to editors

Notes to Editors

  1. Vicky Featherstone is Artistic Director of Paines Plough. She is on the board of Graeae Theatre Company and Frantic Assembly, is Artistic Associate for The Lyric, Hammersmith and is on the Drama Advisory Panel to Nicola Thorold at the Arts Council of England (ACE), as well as part of the Theatre Writing Strategy group for ACE. Vicky was on RTYDS as Assistant Director and then Associate Director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Resident Director at Bolton Octagon.
  2. The Director's appointment was made following a recruitment exercise led by the Chairman and Board of Directors of the National Theatre of Scotland. David Taylor, Head of Drama at Scottish Arts Council, sat on the recruitment panel as an observer. Executive Search Consultant Heather Newill at AEM International was retained during the appointment process (email: hnewill@aeminternational.co.uk)
  3. Funding totalling £7.5m for the National Theatre of Scotland over two years began on 1 April 2004. These funds will be disbursed by the Scottish Arts Council over the two years to 31 March 2006
  4. The National Theatre of Scotland (NToS) is a commissioning organisation and the Theatre will not be based in a specific theatre building
  5. The Board of Directors of the National Theatre of Scotland were appointed on 1 April 2004
  6. Richard Findlay was appointed Chairman of the National Theatre of Scotland on 1 December 2003
  7. The Bridge Cultural Campus in Greater Easterhouse has been identified as the preferred location for the National Theatre of Scotland's administrative office. Interim premises for the National Theatre's office are currently being identified in the centre of Glasgow, to be used until The Bridge is complete, probably some time in 2005

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Issued by: Media House (Issued on behalf of the National Theatre of Scotland)

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