Staging and Representing the Scottish Renaissance Court

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Literature Languages & Culture

Abstract

This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of scholarly researchers and theatre and film professionals to research the cultural significances of Sir David Lyndsay's seminal drama 'Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis'. Lindsay's play is the most important dramatic text produced in Scotland before the 20th century, and arguably the most important pre-Shakespearean dramatic work produced in the UK. Its influence on Scottish dramatic culture has been immense, not least because, unlike most British drama, it is as much an intervention in political, national and social history and an exploration of the role of the monarch and the performative 'drama' of politics, as it is a piece of entertainment.

Ane Satyre is known to have been performed three times in the course of the 16th century, in three different political and social situations, physical spaces and under different auspices. The first version, which is attested to by an eye-witness report, was performed in the Great Hall (Lion Chamber) at Linlithgow Palace in 1540, before James V, and led to a heated debate between the king and his clergy about the corruption of the church. The second and third versions, for which a variously imperfect text survives in printed and manuscript form, were performed outdoors in the burgh of Cupar, Fife (1552) before civic dignitaries and townsfolk, and on Calton Hill, Edinburgh (1554) before the regent Mary of Guise, the council, nobility and people of the Scottish capital.

Each version raises profound questions about the nature of Renaissance monarchy, the role of the popular voice in Scottish politics, the nature of Scottish civic, national and religious identity, and the moral fabric of civil society - but does so before different social and cultural constituencies. In the first, the production was part of the ceremonial culture of the Stuart court, a performance both to and for the king, addressing issues of political and religious reformation of immediate concern to James and his council. In the second and third, performed during the minority of Mary Queen of Scots, the play raised potentially subversive issues about the nature of kingship ('what is ane king?), nationhood and individual and collective responsibility for reform before a much more diverse and potentially conflicted audience of all social classes. And the play itself stages the stresses that discussion of such questions would clearly have evoked in a hierarchical society, by repeatedly staging disruptive incursions into the stage space by representatives of the popular voice (John the Commonweal and Pauper) and subversive personifications of social forces such as religious evangelism (Veritas), Deceit, Folly, Folly, Public Oppression and Common theft.

Recent research on Ane Satyre has added substantially to our understanding of its role in early-modern Scottish history. Building on Mill (Medieval Plays in Scotland (1927)) and Kantrowitz, (Dramatic Allegory: Lindsay's 'Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis' (1974)), Edington (Court and Culture in Renaissance Scotland (1994) and Walker (1989, 1998, 2007, 2008) have explored both its courtly and urban cultural contexts and its radical dramatic and political dynamics; while McGavin (2007) has brought a new sophistication to analysis of performance in the culture of pre-Modern Scotland more widely. An equally powerful strand of interest in the play has focused on its modern implications, since the Tyrone Guthrie revival for the Edinburgh Festival (1948), which stressed the resonances between its impact in the 1550s and its implications for post-War Scottish society, editors (Lyall (1989), Walker (2000)), and directors have situated the play at the nexus of a dialogue between contemporary Scotland and its past. This project intends to provide definitive richness of research detail to that dialogue for a new century and in the context of debates about the Scottish past in a newly devolved United Kingdom.

Planned Impact

The project involves close collaboration with the research, curatorial and interpretive departments of Historic Scotland (HS). This collaboration will facilitate extensive knowledge exchange between HS and the project researchers in English and Scottish Literature, Drama, Art History and Film. The performances at Linlithgow and Stirling will add research by practice to the range of research and interpretive skills available to HS for investigating the material and cultural history of these palaces and their built and decorative environments, and for making the fruits of that investigation available to the public in readily accessible and engaging ways. In addition (as our experience on the earlier project at Hampton Court has demonstrated) the investigation and rehearsal process itself, which will take place in the great halls while they are open to the public, will engage public interest in the project, the palaces and the artistic and cultural history we are researching on an ongoing basis, making the rehearsal process both iterative in research terms and an 'impact outcome' in its own right.

In addition to creating new intellectual and social capital, the performances will have considerable cultural and economic impact. The 'interlude' performances will draw audiences from the local region and further afield to Linlithgow and Stirling, adding to the footfall in these palaces and encouraging public engagement with Historic Scotland's curatorial and interpretative mission among groups and individuals who might not otherwise visit these sites. By engaging the local community in rehearsing and performing the 'outdoor' play in Linlithgow the project will add significantly to local and regional engagement with civic and cultural history and the knowledge economy and promote local community cohesion through a shared involvement in the recreation and investigation of aspects of local history which are also central to Scottish national history and cultural identity. By combining the performances with a major conference linked to the Stirling Heads and the 'relaunch' of Stirling Castle to visitors, the project will also add to the cultural impact of the castle's new interpretive agenda, facilitating visitor engagement with the site in new and innovative ways.

The film and media resources created by the project, and the on-line debates about the creation and use of public history they will promote, will engage creative and cultural industrial practitioners with new texts and content in innovative and productive ways, while fostering a wider public debate about the role of these industries in the creation of 'history' which will inform both community users and policy makers in the field of public history. This on-line debate will have specific and timely resonance for Scottish history, as it will enable users to evaluate afresh a number of key foundational texts, periods and spaces in the canonical version of Scottish political and cultural history at a time when Scottish national identity is again a live political issue. But it will also have wider implications for the public understanding of and engagement with the role of the media in creating history more generally across the UK and beyond.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title 1540 Interlude script 
Description A version of the 'lost' interlude of 1540, a precursor of the Satire of the Three Estates. The script of the interlude is now lost, but the project team (Thompson, Rycroft and Walker) produced a version of the script based on the existing scripts of the 1552 performances, and the detailed eye-witness account of the 1540 performance. A new framing narrative was writen by Thompson and Walker to explain the nature of the script, the research process that created it, and to make it more accessible to modern audiences. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact The performances were well recieved, and the Linlithgow Players, a theatrical company associated with HS and Linlithgow Palace have asked for permission to perform the interlude as part of the Palace's offering to tourists each summer from 2014. 
URL http://www.stagingthescottishcourt.org/documents/
 
Title Sir William Eure's Letter 
Description A dramatization of the evidence for the 1540 Interlude version of the Three Estates. Written by Gregory Thompson and Greg Walker, and performed by AandBC Theatre company at Eltham Palace, London, on 8 December 2014. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact The audience included professionals from English Heritage, RIBA and the London Theatre Community, and was part of our attempt to develop a relationship with English Heritage as a future partner for further practice-based research projects. 
URL http://www.stagingthescottishcourt.org/
 
Title The Three Estates in 500 tweets 
Description Walker produced a condensced version of the Satire of the Three Estates in a mixture of modern English and Older Scots for a popular audience. It was tweeted by the project Twtter feed between January and November 2014. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact It was tweeted to several hundred followers of the project and the project team members, and frequently retweeted by others. 
 
Title filmed productions 
Description Performances of the full version of the Satire of the Three Estates at Linlithgow Palace, and of the 1540 Interlude at Linlithgow and Stirling (July 2013), and of a version of the Interlude at the Scottish playwrights' conference, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Spring 2103. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Public audiences attended (roughly 100 per performance overall), reviews listed elsewhere in the nationa media, the nomination for a CATS award, media attention via TV and radio. 
URL http://www.stagingthescottishcourt.org/filmed-performances/
 
Description The performances of the plays were in themselves tourist events, advertised and marketed by Historic Scotland as part of their offerings at Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle, drawing crowds from across the UK and overseas, as well as from the local community. They were also a contribution to the creative economy, received as significant events in the national theatrical calendar (both major national newspapers reviewed the performances, giving them 4*, the local media, and BBC Scotland (TV and Radio) reported on the performances, and the project behind them), and the play was nominated for a national theatre critics award in the Ensemble category.) The promotion of the play as a significant piece of contemporary theatre as well as a key text in Scottish theatrical and cultural history has had significant resonance with drama students and their teachers who attended the project workshops. Renewed interest in the play has also resulted in the republication of the script for the 1549 Edinburgh Festival production being republished online by the daughter of the original editor, and with a preface by Walker (Project PI), and in sessions on the play at the Edinburgh history festival, 'And, finally...'. The project was able to co-host a discussion of the play in the Scottish Parliament, sponsored Clare Adamson, MSP, and featuring the Culture Secretary and Secretary for International Affairs, Fiona Hyslop. The latter agreed to broker future discussions with cultural bodies in Scotland and the EU to explore further productions of the play. The audience, including a number of MSPS, discussed the significance of the play to their own understanding of the role of parliament and the popular voice in Scottish politics, and the relationship between theatre, politics, and social responsibility on 'the Scottish tradition'. Historic Scotland and English Heritage have been convinced of the value of performance based research as both a valuable form of knowledge creation in its own right and a new means of generating interest in and understanding of the buildings and sites in their care. Both are exploring the possibility of further, similar projects. And Stirling Castle hosted a substantial exhibition devoted to the project aimed at visitors.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Resources for schools and colleges in Scotland
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL http://www.stagingthescottishcourt.org/community-outreach/
 
Description Partnership with AandBC Theatre Company 
Organisation AandBC Theatre Company
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The productions were a collaboration between the academic team and AandBC. The academics brought the historical, literary, and textual expertise to infrom rehearsals and the production process.
Collaborator Contribution AandBC provided the theatre professionals (Director, Gregory thompson, production team, and cast) that realised the productions in collaboration with the academics and HS.
Impact The performances, and the films made of them. Gregory Thompson also took part in the discussion panel at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, film of which is also on the website.
Start Year 2013
 
Description partnership with Historic Scotland 
Organisation Government of Scotland
Department Historic Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The project was based upon a close, ongoing collaboration with HS to mount the performances and related outreach and community projects. We brought the expertise on Lyndsay, the play, and the political contexts
Collaborator Contribution Use of great hall at Stirling Castle and Hall and Peel at Linlithgow Palace. Close collaboration in the production of the Three Estates Performances, the mounting of the exhibition at Stirling, the community and outreach projects. Expertise on the physical environment at the sites.
Impact Project performances, community, schools and colleges project, exhibition at Stirling.
Start Year 2013
 
Description 'Previously...' talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk generated discussion with attendees, and also among the panellists themselves. In the first case this was made up of Scottish theatre professionals and journalists, in the second of academics.

Further interest was generated among the journalists present for future work on The Three Estates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description A Satire of the Three Estates 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Four research led performances of the full text of Sir David Lyndsay's Satire of the Three Estates on the Peel at Linlithgow Palace in association with AandBC Theatre company and Historic Scotland.

Performances attended by the local community (the first performance was a free dress rehersal for the Linlithgow community), and general audiences. The Scottish Secretary fior Culture attended twice, the Scottish Makar, Liz Lockhead, and reviewers for the
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Annual Crotty Public Lecture, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Invited Public Lecture as part of outreach programme of prestigious Californian Research Library, circa 200 attendees with Q and A. Introduced Sir David Lyndsay and his Satire of the Three Estates to the great and the good of Pasadena and its environs,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Case study of Impact for AHRC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Staging and Representing the Scottish Renaissance court, along with the Staging the Henrician Court project (for which I was Co-I and Prof. Tom Betteridge was PI) were selected by the AHRC to form a case study of impact and engagement - part of the AHRC's intelligence gathering of the impact of funding to be used both internally, and with government and the wider public.

Not known as yet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Community Group Work 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Weekly sessions working with the play and in the spaces of Linlithgow Palace, led by Carrie Anne Newman, with three selected community groups: a group of school-aged children with behavioral difficulties, a group of hearing-impaired children, and a group of largely retired people.

The groups attended weekly workshops with the Outreach Officer, working on passages of the Satire, discussing what it means to them as a text and as piece of living political theatre. The groups then toured the palace at Linltithgow working with the text,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Community Performances of The Interlude (The Three Estates, 1540) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Linlithgow Players, an amateur theatrical group with an ongoing association with Historic Scotland and Linlithgow Palace, have taken on the task of performing The Interlude (a reconstructed script produced by the project) at Linlithgow Palace several times each summer from 2014 onwards. They also performed it before a public audience at Stirling castle in july 2014.

Considerable interest and investment in the play from the Players themselves, and ongoing engagement with it from the Linlithgow community and visitors to the Palace.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Community Performances: The Cupar Banns 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A production of the Banns of the play, performed around Scotland by a specially recruited local community group, coordinated by the Project's Community Outreach Officer, Carrie Anne Newman..

several colleges and school were involved. One particular student who had a difficult relationship with here college reported a significant transformation in her work and achievements after her involvement in the project. We were especially pleased with this outcome, which seemed to speak for the transformative effect of engagement with early theatre of an unexpected kind.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Featured on AHRC Image Gallery 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A presentation on the project was included in the AHRC's Image gallery section of their website.

Data on the number of hits to these images would be available from the AHRC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/Image-Gallery/Pages/Three-Estates.aspx
 
Description Interview on BBC Radio 3 'Nightwaves' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The PI was interviewed, along with the Scotsman's Theatre Critic, Joyce McMillan, about the Satire and the project to recreate it.

The interview was widely heard, and the PI received extensive comments about it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Keynote lecture at Society for Renaissance Studies conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited keynote lecture to subject association with Q and A afterwards.

Considerable interest in Lyndsay's play after the lecture, many said they'd never heard of it before and would read it now.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Lectures on The Three Estates Project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Audiences ranged from 30 (New York) to 200 (Southampton). There was considerable discussion and question and answer after each event)

Diverse audiences reported enthusiasm for a play that they had in some cases not heard about, or in many thought they knew but said they had now been prompted to reassess.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Panel Discussion at the Scottish parliament building, Holyrood, Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A panel discussion of The Three Estates in Holyrood. Several MSPs attended, and The Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, took part in the discussion, along with academics and members of the professional theatre industry.

The Culture secretary expressed considerable enthusiasm for the project and agreed to help broker further opportunities to perform the play as part of Scottish and EU cultural events and projects. Film of the panel discussion is hosted on the project website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Preface to online edition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Walker provided an introduction to an online reissued edition of the Robert Kemp edition of The Three Estates first published in 1948

Collaboration with Jackie Kemp, daughter of Robert, on a revision of this neglected text.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Press reviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Linlithgow Production was written up in all the major Scottish newspapers, and recieved half-page, 4* reviews in both the Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald.

The production was reviewed, and highly praised, in two mainstream Scottish newspapers with substantial national 9and international) reach.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Project Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The Project hosted an international symposium on the Satire of the Three Estates, bringing together academic specialists and theatre practitioners.

Considerable dialogue ensued.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Project Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project website is the formal repository for all open-access materials associated with the project (films, articles, interviews, news items, discussion board, Twitter feed, etc).

Users posted questions and comments on the productions, plays, historical contexts, etc. The site was used by the media for images and information about the project. A number of people have contacted us for further information, requests to appear on panels, etc to discuss the play.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL http://www.stagingthescottishcourt.org/
 
Description Public Exhibition at Stirling Castle 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A temporary Exhibition was held at Stirling Castle on the production of the Three Estates. Costumes from the production and various information panels about the play, its historical context, production history, etc. were produced and mounted. Filmed interviews and excerpts from the production were also shown at the exhibition on a permanent loop.

Details on attendance can be obtained from historic Scotland. Guides from HS record considerable anecdotal interest in the exhibition from the visiting public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Public Talks on the Three Estates Project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A series of illustrated public talks given by members of the project team and archaeologists and craftsmen from Historic Scotland to local people in Linlithgow.

Many of the attendees signed up for the further community classes run by the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description TV Appearances 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact PI, Director, Gregory Thompson, and actor Jimmy Chisholm were interviewed by BBC Scotland for items on the 'Reporting Scotland' and 'Sunday Politics: Scotland' programmes.

further requests for media appearances followed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Talk on Radio Scotland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact PI Interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland's 'Culture Studio' about the project and the significance of the play in Scottish theatre history.

The PI received extensive feedback after the broadcast.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Talk to HS Guides at Stirling Castle 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Walker gave a talk to the Guides at Stirling Castle about the play, the production and the project, in order to provide them with information that they could use in describing the exhibition and its significance to visitors.

The Guides were very interested! And expressed enthusiasm for the production, which they will (we hope) pass on to visitors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Talks to the Scottish 'Previously...' History festival (Edinburgh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In 2013 and 2014 Walker gave talks on Lyndsay and The Satire of the Three Estates as part of panel presentations to the Previously... History festival.

The audience expressed considerable interest in the play.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description The Interlude of 1540 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Performances of the reconstructed Interlude of 1540, produced by the project team, in the great Hall of Linlithgow Place: the original location of the 1540 performance, and Stirling Castle, the best restored of James V's surviving palaces..

Further requests for performances, and the Linlithgow Players, a local amateur group, sought permission to ad the Interlude to their repertoire.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The Project Production was nominated for a Critics Award fr Theatre in Scotland Award. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The play was praised for its innovative production values and energising reworking of a seminal, neglected theatre work by the head judge, Joyce McMillan.

See above. the Scottish theatre community was made aware of the innovative nature of the production, and of the vitality of the play itself as a piece of theatre work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description The Three Estates in 500 Tweets 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Walker condensed the play into a series of 500 tweets, some in original Old Scots, some in modern English adaptation, which were tweeted at a rate of 2 or 3 per day through the period from Spring to Autumn 2014. http://Twitter: #S3E500

The tweets were frequently retweeted by diverse followers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Undergraduate Lecture on Ane Satire of the Thrie Estaitis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A lecture on the 3 Estaitis informed by the conclusions of the project delivered to Undergraduate Students on the Scottish Literature 1 course at Edinburgh.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019