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Good Counsel (Gerda Stevenson) with Linlithgow Palace behind.

Good Counsel (Gerda Stevenson) with Linlithgow Palace behind.

The Three Estates speaks powerfully not only to lovers of Renaissance theatre, but also to a wider spectrum of Scottish society. It stages social and religious reform, and its strident, vulgar advocacy of the rights of the poor, and of women, has made it an icon of an alternative, popular Scottish history. It inspired John McGrath’s ground-breaking 1970’s drama, The Cheviot, The Stage, and the Black, Black Oil and his critique of the newly globalised media, A Satire of the Fourth Estate. And its influence can be seen in the strong tradition of ‘alternative’ Scottish popular theatre.