Encore Theatre Magazine
:: Thursday, January 20, 2005 ::
Where now for the Tron?
In a widely welcomed move, Neil Murray has been appointed executive director of the National Theatre of Scotland. It's also a smart political move by Vicky Featherstone, and consolidates the partnership that is already working on David Greig's Pyrenees, for the Tron and Paines Plough. The National Theatre's gain, though, is the Tron's loss. Murray's reign at the Tron since 2002 has seen it become a producing powerhouse, with Neilson's The Wonderful World of Dissocia (left) and Greig's San Diego being Festival showstoppers and Encore favourites (which, let's say it again, should both have already been on at the Court). Meanwhile the revival of Shining Souls was a popular and critical success which brough Chris Hannan belately out of the shadows. It's a terrific appointment and bodes very well for the NToS.
But whither the Tron? There's been so much shuffling of the pack in Scottish theatre of late that there's almost nobody left in the running for a new job now, certainly not of the necessary calibre. Bringing up directors from the south, pace Featherstone, hasn't been too succesful in the past - Irina Brown's tenure was artistically intriguing but commercially very problematic and Jeremy Raison hasn't exactly set the Citz on fire. Will Kenny Ireland come back to Glasgow? It doesn't seem likely. Maybe Gerry Mulgrew will finally get the organisation his talent deserves.
Surely not. The most obvious and likeliest candidate is Graham Eatough, artistic director of Suspect Culture, who, after ten years of running a small-scale touring company, however successful, may well feel it's time for a change. He has established a wide range of national and international contacts and has worked assiduously to widen the usual remit of his company, organising tours, revivals, collaborations, workshops and conferences. He has already directed for the Tron and Suspect Culture's new show, A Different Language, opens there next month. It would be a bold and exciting appointment and would maintain the Tron's status as an international flagship for the best of Scottish - and British - theatre.