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30 years ago

During the Festival Fringe 30 years ago, Glasgow University drama students were proving miles better than anything else in Britain as noted in our Scottish Diary (TESS, August 30, 1974): A recurring complaint of students in the seven university drama departments in Britain is that their courses lack practical elements and are too tied to theory and the "history of theatre from the Greeks to Bernard Shaw", because lecturers are fighting to gain academic respectability for their ill-defined subject.

Such departments do not set out to rival the stage schools, nor are they necessarily training teachers. Some have yet to discover their actual role and a discipline which is generally accepted.

With this in mind, it may be worth noting an English correspondent's reactions to the work of the one Scottish drama department when it was shown in the context of student drama on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (and noticed in this paper) last week.

In contrast with many shows put on by student societies which seemed to be collections of individual egos trying to ingratiate themselves with show-biz impresarios, Glasgow's late-night revue impressed our correspondent with its ensemble playing, disarming sincerity, a definable philosophy and honesty.

Perhaps one drama department has begun to find a role - Glasgow's show certainly won approval in Edinburgh which, as we were able to explain to our English colleague, is quite high praise.

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