Staging Scottish Heritage: Two Capital Sites
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
Dr. Joanne Zerdy
Doctoral Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Unviersity of Minnesota