Somewhere between the radical experimentation of Young Glasgow Performance Art and traditional stage and script combinations comes a loose group of companies and artists. While they retain emphasis on writing as a key foundation for theatre, and create work that is frequently sheltered beneath a proscenium arch, they are not adverse to experimental creative processes or linking up with the YGPAs.

In some cases, their process is heavily influenced by academic approaches to theatre: Flatrate’s Rob Jones is a recent university graduate, and the formal experiments of Forced Entertainment are, again, a touch-stone. They can be found in The Arches or upstairs in The Tron, or even in the smaller spaces of The Citizens. Taking their queue from the companies of the 1990s like Cryptic, they are willing to explore new outlets for performance: Flatrate run a monthly open night.

This grouping lacks any formal affiliations, and the subject matter ranges from angular anecdotes through to child abuse: if there is any connection in the subjects, it is that they are often more unsavoury than standard theatre fare. What they do share is a retention of the script as a core, even if the idea of the writer, alone in a garret, pursuing a singular vision, has been replaced by a more collaborative vision.

Their contribution to the theatre calendar is a series of small scale productions, the occasional revival of a contemporary classic and a steady stream of new writing. It is unlikely that the names listed below would recognise any great affinity with one another.

Key Performers

Alan McKendrick. Most recently spotted in The Arches basement, sporting a natty hat and presenting a filmed monologue that exposed the latent violence behind rock music messianic environmental and synchronised swimming, McKendrick’s scripts are cerebral and knowing. Ready to mix it up with visual artists, he maintains an almost old-fashioned respect for the script, while winking at modern techniques and post-modern irony.

Flatrate. Their first plays literally happened in a flat, and so the name. Now presenting at The Tron, Flatrate’s Rob Jones suggests that he wants to merge musical and theatrical aesthetics in a new way, even envisioning the company as more of a record label than a traditional band of actors. Not shy of the odd neo-brutalism revival, they’ve moved on to original works, penned by Stephen Redman, and take their influence from internet porn and wandering conversations with confused critics.

Leann O’Kasi. Formerly director in residence at The Citizens, and now at The Tron, O’Kasi is a writer, actor and director who impressed with a revival of American card-sharp two hander Top Dog/UnderDog before writing and starring in the recent Dirty Paradise. A straight talking East Londoner, O’Kasi is at home with the explicitly political and the idiosyncratically personal.

Rhymes With Purple. Drumhead was the toughest of Mayfesto’s political pieces: an hour of torture and justification, it dropped plot for an intense presentation of hardcore interrogation. Unfortunately, they lost the video footage of the critic being waterboarded, disappointing most of the performance community. Nevertheless, RWP are as comfortable with comedy as vicious indictment of US double-speak, and have built up a following thanks to bi-annual runs at Edinburgh Fringe.

Drew Taylor. Another writer and perfomer, Taylor has roots in slam poetry, and is often seen ranting in rhyme. His alter-ego Markus Makevellian had a glittery season at this year’s Fringe: his involvement in Glasgay! has ranged from directing Tennessee Williams through to one man shows.

Martin O’Connor. Once upon a time, O’Connor turned out perfectly formed monologues, starting with masculine anxieties but branching out into the corrosive effects of celebrity culture and social alienation. Recently, he has expanded into multi-character examinations of Glasgow life, never loosing that ear for West Coast patter.