A major strand of Glasgow performance is the rash of young artists heavily influenced by the National Review of Live Art and the accompanying New Territories Festival. This pair of events have gradually moved closer under the guidance of Nikki Millican, a long time player on the Glasgow scene: New Territories began as a dance programme, but has redefined itself to include everything from Michael Clark’s punchy punk choreography to Forced Entertainment’s devised theatre.

The Contemporary Performance Practice degree at the RSAMD has provided cohorts of students and graduates willing to pursue deeply personal and radically experimental actions. This groundswell then attracts other performers from across the world, as well as graduates from Glasgow University’s well respected drama department.  It’s fair to say that Jackie Wylie at The Arches has given considerable support to the scene: September’s Arches Live is a fortnight of young artists grappling with the meaning of performance.

Due to the nature of the work, the subjects and approaches are startling diverse, and it is difficult to categorise. However, certain key themes emerge. The spoken monologue is often subjected to scrutiny, and stretched over animation, video footage, choreography and puppetry. The tight social dance of Goat Island is an influence, Forced Entertainment’s deadpan nihilism lurks menacingly. Intimate details are revealed, the barrier between private and public challenged. The RSAMD graduates are particularly influenced by feminism, and the programming of Tramway, especially in its concentration on European dance and theatre, is an important inspiration.

Certain artists have come from this scene to greater attention, working with the National Theatre of Scotland in their Allotment series or social outreach, or embarking on national tours. Nic Green’s Trilogyis a fine example: equally, Glas(s) Performance– who also lead the youth theatre based in Tramway, Junction 25 – have gained a reputation for working effectively within communities and with people who are not usually expected to be found on stage.

Key Performers

David Overend. This University of Glasgow post-graduate embarked on a project to examine how the Arches’ multi-platform uses impacts on theatre, and deconstructs both the venue and the performance. His Post-Show, with Rob Drummond, took apart the mechanics of the after-show chat and the myths of director and writer. 

Gary McNair. King of the personal is political monologue, McNair has covered nuclear destruction, the credit crunch and, officiating at recent Sunday Sermons, the place of religion in a non-religious community.

Glas(s) Performance. Also teaching at the RSAMD, Glas(s) are best known for their ability to discover the latent talents and stories of people outside of the drama community. An emphasis on revealing hidden and personal narratives is combined with a sophisticated stage-craft and inclusive creative process.

Nic Green. Increasingly the icon of the scene, Nic’s enthusiasm for feminism, ecological thought and relentless self-questioning has come to national attention, and her pieces are capable of gently holding an audience without compromising her hard messages.

Fish and Game. A sort of New Work super-group, starring Eilidh MacAskill – Glasgow’s ukulele queen and RSAMD lecturer Robert Walton. Their Otter Pie was a brilliant examination of Scottish identity. Work in progress includes an angular look at Abraham Lincoln.