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Read, Watch and Listen

Jean Marie Vianney at Church

“I’ve been in the church choir since 1970. There are only three or four people remaining from that time.

In 1996 it was difficult to start singing again.  It took courage. The choir means that Rwanda is unity. We don’t think about anything else apart from God and the sound we’re making.”

Artist Yves Manzi in Butare

“This is the commercial centre of Butare. It was made by the Arabs in the 1920s so it’s sometimes called the ‘Arab Quarter’. 

Today the old shops are being torn down to make way for new buildings.”

Artist Yves Manzi in Butare

“I grew up in exile in Congo. When I returned home I studied at the National University of Rwanda here in Butare. I walked along this road to the university every day for five years.

Now the buildings are disappearing, I want to keep the memories. So I photograph the changing city.”

Artist Yves Manzi in Butare

“In Kinshasa we lived on the 7th floor in the centre of town, near the port of the river Congo.

When I walk along this road today I remember life in Congo. The replacement buildings that will be built many stories high are like the place I used to live."

The Vices are hanged.

From left, Theft (Stephen Docherty), Falsehood (Barrie Hunter), and Deceit (Jimmy Chisholm). Flattery (Billy Riddoch) acts as hangman. And, as Falsehood dies, a raven (bottom left) flies up ‘as if it were his soul’, as the script demands. The Three Estates is a complex, uneasy play which explores how notions of Scottish nationhood, politics, national character and identity were debated at a seminal moment in history, the decades prior to the Reformation. It retains the power to touch nerves in contemporary Scotland and speak to issues of pressing importance, not least at moments when national identity, good governance, the causes and consequences of poverty, and the moral responsibilities of governors and churchmen are once again at the forefront of the (inter)national conversation.

Rehearsals begin.

Oppression (George Drennen) practices his wiles on Theft (Stephen Docherty). The project was a collaboration between drama scholars (Greg Walker (Edinburgh), Tom Betteridge (Brunel), and Eleanor Rycroft, (now Bristol)), an art historian (Sally Rush, Glasgow), and film scholar (Ann Gray, Lincoln)), working with the curatorial and interpretative staff at Historic Scotland and AandBC Theatre Company, led by the director Gregory Thompson. A large research grant from the AHRC allowed us to employ a stellar cast of professional Scottish actors, each of whom brought their own insights to the project, and to Enthuse TV, directed by Richard Jack, to film the productions in HD digital video for open-access presentation on the project website. http://www.stagingthescottishcourt.org/

The Clergy.

Clockwise from the top, Parson (Michael Daviot), Spirituality (Tom McGovern), Prioress (Angela Darcy) and Abbot (Peter Kenny). Working with Greg Walker and Ellie Rycroft, Gregory Thompson turned recreating the lost 1540 script into the subject of a new interlude, making the academic challenges of recovering the lost performance the subject of its own drama. The project’s outreach team (Carrie Anne Newman and Neville Miller) engaged local people, school and college classes, and disadvantaged youngsters in discussions about the problems of Scottish identity and politics raised in the play. A series of public lectures in Linlithgow shared with Historic Scotland discussed the history, architecture, and culture of the Scottish Renaissance, and workshops for drama teachers explored aspects of the Satire in performance. ‘The Cupar Banns’, a short, bawdy advertisement for the 1552 performance toured local towns, culminating in a performance outside the Scottish Parliament.

Dame Sensuality and her ladies.

From left, Danger (Helen McAlpine), Fund Jonet (Joyce Falconer), Hamelines (Sally Reid), and Sensuality (Ruth Milne). The Three Estates is a play that most Scots think they know. But what we know is actually a very partial version of the play (in every sense). For the Tyrone Guthrie production of 1948 used a script (edited by Robert Kemp) which cut the text by roughly two thirds, removing the more vulgar sexual satire and much of the serious engagement with politics. And since 1948 it has been variations on that bowdlerised version that people have seen, and which has informed their sense of Scotland’s dramatic and political history.

Deceit (Jimmy Chisholm) drives off Good Counsel (Gerda Stevenson)

Deceit (Jimmy Chisholm) drives off Good Counsel (Gerda Stevenson), with John Keilty (The composer and director of music) and his troupe behind. ‘Staging and Representing the Scottish Court’ took the play back to its roots – literally, in that it sought to ‘recover’ and restage the 1540 interlude in the same hall for which it was written – and by producing the full five-hour outdoor version so people can see it for the first time since 1554 in all its complex, bewildering grandeur.  Our aim was both to discover what we could about the play’s relationship with its original settings, and what it suggests about Renaissance culture in Scotland, but also to test what it means to Scottish audiences now, when presented whole, rather than cut to reflect modern agendas.