Shared Stories and Communal Meaning: The National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch
What makes a piece of theatre succeed on the international stage? This paper will explore the concept of "communal meaning" by applying theories on the value and impact of the arts to one of the most internationally successful pieces of theatre of the decade: the National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch.
The paper will analyse the relative merits and challenges of benefits-based programming and map Black Watch against the Benefits of the Arts Framework proposed by RAND (2004) to assess the practical utility of the framework.
By applying the theories of international arts theorists and consultants including Alan Brown, Jennifer Novak, François Matarasso and John Holden to a contemporary case study, the paper will seek to determine the intrinsic benefits of an internationally successful piece of theatre from the audience’s perspective. Through a textual analysis of audience members’ responses to Black Watch, the paper will test existing theories on the value and impact of the arts; and by reviewing theories of cultural globalisation and transnationalism, it will aim to identify the secret of the play’s success on the international stage.
Keywords: Theatre & the Performing Arts, International Festivals, Communal Meaning, Intrinsic Benefits of the Arts, Value & Impact Analysis
Dr. Ben Walmsley
Senior Lecturer, Leslie Silver International Faculty, Leeds Metropolitan University