Staging and Representing the Scottish Renaissance Court…begins.

Welcome to the blog for Staging and Representing the Scottish Renaissance Court, a major two year project which will explore Stuart drama, politics and place during the mid-sixteenth century through the staging of David Lyndsay’s A Satire of the Three Estates at Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle in 2013.  Staging the Scottish Court is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project drawing on performance, film, literary and historical analysis, archaeology and architectural studies.  It brings together Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lincoln, Oxford Brookes and Southampton Universities, with Historic Scotland, theatre professionals and film-makers.

This blog will chart the research process over the course of the project; firstly as we approach the full outdoor production of the Satire at Linlithgow Palace, as well as indoor versions of Lyndsay’s non-extant 1540 Interlude as reconstructed by the research team in the shell of the Great Hall At Linlithgow, and the actual Great Hall of Stirling Castle.  Following the performances of June 2013, this blog will enable a continuation of the debates instigated by the project.  It will also link up with a website which will host professional films of these unique theatrical events as well as other research and educational materials.

The project aims to address a number of questions which fall into three broad categories; literary, textual and performance analysis of Sir David Lyndsay’s Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis (A Satire of the Three Estates); archival and iconographic analysis of Scottish Renaissance court culture at Linlithgow and Stirling; and contemporary understanding of ‘public history’ with specific reference to importance of historical truths and myths to Scottish nationalism.

  • What was the nature of the dramatic interlude performed before James V at Linlithgow, and what was its relationship to the later performances of 1552 and 1554?
  • In what ways is Scottish Renaissance court culture reflected in Ane Satyre and in the related physical evidence of Renaissance architectural features of the Stuart royal palaces such as the Stirling Heads?
  • In what ways do performances and media re-workings of historical events shape contemporary national, political and popular understandings of the past?

The project will run parallel to a crucial period in Scottish history.  Just as Lyndsay sought to investigate Scottish national identity and suggest reforms for his society in his epic play, Scotland once more finds itself at a crossroads as it heads towards the Independence Referendum in 2014.  People are again asking what it means to be from Scotland.  What elements of social and political organisation can be seen as distinctively Scottish? If Scotland is going to become an independent nation, what should it keep and what should it throw away? Independent or not, how should Scotland move forward into the future?

Such questions and more will be addressed on this page every fortnight or so.  We hope you will check here, on the twitter account, and ultimately the project website, to see how research becomes performance, and how Scotland’s present interacts with the Scottish past at this critical juncture in its history.