The Dynamics of DevolutionAn Enquiry into the role and significance of Wales' Post-Devolution National Theatres

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)84-99
Number of pages15
JournalNorth American Journal of Welsh Studies
Early online date08 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2013
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In a recent article on the process of Welsh Devolution, Richard Wyn Jones argues that the process of negotiating changes in post-devolution Westminster/Wales dynamics has been characterised by the emergence of a discourse of ‘unintended consequences’ (Jones 2001: 34). In this article, I intend to argue that one of the most significant and contemporary of these unintended consequences, is the new prominence and role that national theatre has acquired in the political and cultural discourse of contemporary Welsh nationhood. It is my contention that, in the absence of a mature set of political institutions that might directly enable devolution, the National Assembly government called upon its national theatrical institutions to function as highly visible vehicles for cultural and political expression in Wales. The article will argue that the gradual development of the Welsh Devolution project from 1997 to the present has activated a creative compact between the Welsh Assembly Government, the Welsh public and its National Theatres. Analysis of the recent history of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (THGC) and National Theatre Wales (NTW) will define the political agenda driving the creation of both companies and the ingenuity with which the companies have sidestepped this agenda to articulate their own artistic aims and ambitions.