Staging Scottish Heritage: Two Capital Sites

Dr. Joanne Zerdy
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This paper explores the ways in which local heritage is mobilized in the production of a post-national identity, focusing on the Scottish capital’s re-imagination of itself as a crucial node in a global knowledge economy. In this re-imagination, theatre is a critical site in which to explore a shifting identity as heritage schemes narrate the historical, cultural and political past in both designated theatrical venues and tourist sites throughout the nation. The political content of much Scottish heritage, originally produced as part of the project of nationalist resistance to British cultural hegemony, has been evacuated, reduced to iconic images of “traditional” Scottish life. “Edinburgh Inspiring Capital,” the city’s re-branding campaign, highlights the capital’s literary, artistic, and scientific contributions to international forums. Edinburgh’s new “brand” mediates Scottish identity by locating the city’s influence in its ability to both re-infuse heritage with political meaning and attract capital to the capital through its mobilization of culture. The political and artistic drives of two city spaces, the Scottish Parliament building and the Traverse Theatre, emphasize mobility and embody the merging of local and global communities. Through its architectural design and its “Festival of Politics” agenda, the Parliament engages with an artistic and political alliance based on mobility and a harnessing of the past. The Traverse, which has physically and artistically re-positioned itself in the capital, frames itself as a crossroads for new “home-grown” Scottish writing and touring productions to other transnational sites.

Keywords: Scottish Heritage, Post-nationalism, Local/Global Identities, Scottish Parliament, Traverse Theatre
Stream: Arts Agendas, Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Joanne Zerdy

Doctoral Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Unviersity of Minnesota

Joanne Zerdy is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota and the artistic director of the Xperimental Theatre. She will have a performance review published in Theatre Journal (March 2006). Joanne earned an MSc (with Distinction) in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, and her thesis examined the ways in which theatrical traditions mediate historical relationships and cultural practices. She has performed with the Edinburgh University Theatre Company, reviewed theatre and stand-up comedy Fringe performances for Fest Magazine, and interviewed International Book Festival authors for the Edinburgh-based Institute of Local Television. She plans to teach theatre history, dramatic literature and/or directing. Joanne is interested in the ongoing dialogue between theatre and political institutions regarding Scottish theatre, heritage and cultural policy.

Ref: A06P0263