In the following article, Christine Hamilton and Adrienne Scullion review the system of theatre provision and production that exists in the rural areas of Scotland, most especially in the Highlands and Islands, assessing the policy framework that exists in the nation as a whole and in the Highlands and Islands in particular. They highlight the role and responsibilities of volunteers within the distribution of professional theatre in Scotland, challenge the response of locally based theatre-makers and nationally responsible agencies to represent rural Scotland, and raise issues fundamental to the provision of culture nationally. In doing so, they question what we expect theatre policy to deliver in rural areas, and what we expect rural agents to contribute to theatre provision and policy. Finally, they suggest that, in the system of rural arts in Scotland, there are wider lessons for the development of arts in and the arts of other sparsely populated and fragile communities. Christine Hamilton is the director and Adrienne Scullion the academic director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow, where Adrienne teaches in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Television Studies.
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