An Essay Your Tutor will Enjoy Reading

Do you enjoy writing essays? Not everyone does. (Maybe you feel your strengths are more in playing the piccolo than perfecting paragraphs?) If producing 1.5k words gives you the shivers, then overdoing the caffeine won’t settle your nerves, but maybe some advice from those who have been there already, might help you feel calmer and more productive.

The Library portal pages include a section on Smart Study and Research Skills. It offers information about referencing, answers some FAQs, and tells you how to contact the Effective Learning Service (ELS). 

If you’re wondering where to start – the Library can help you source useful resources and give help with referencing.  And the Effective Learning Service can help with structuring and writing your assignment.

So, the Library and ELS complement each other. But whichever service you contact first, we’ll do our best to help you and will refer you to our counterparts if it seems they would be a better fit for your particular enquiry.

Tips From the Librarians

We have a few tips that might be useful:-

Look at the essay title carefully – what have you been asked to do? (For example, if you’re asked to write about two playwrights, don’t get carried away and write about more!) Does it ask you to compare and contrast? That’s a bit more than just describing, so work out what exactly can be compared and contrasted. Does it ask you how something influenced something else? What answers might you give? You get the drift.

If the essay question relates to a lecture you’ve been given, remind yourself what the key points were, and whether you had any recommended reading. If you can usefully cite something you have read, it shows you’ve been doing some effective studying. If you’ve found more useful literature, cite that too, and show you understand how it fits into the bigger picture.

Decide on some search terms that you can use in library Catalogue or Catalogue Plus searches. This is where we can really help, if you get stuck. We’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time perfecting our own search skills over the years! We’ve also got loads of experience of sourcing materials in the performing arts.

Don’t try to read whole books if only one or two sections are clearly relevant. And don’t feel obliged to read dozens of books for a comparatively short essay – you’ll just get bogged down. Is it relevant? Read and take notes. Is it probably irrelevant? Move on!

As for structuring an essay – here’s a piece of useful advice which seems almost flippantly simple, but is based on common sense. (Sadly, we can’t remember where we first heard it, so we can’t reference it correctly!):-

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them (the introduction and background);
  2. Tell them;
  3. Tell them what you’ve told them (summary and conclusions)

Effective Learning Service 

The effective learning tutors can support you in various aspects of your work at RCS. This could include: 

  • Academic, practical and reflective writing 
  • Structuring your assignment 
  • Identifying and integrating sources into your work 
  • Choosing an appropriate writing style 
  • Improving your critical analysis 
  • Presenting 
  • Managing your time, and more… 

You can contact them via the link on our portal page, if you would like to set up a one-to-one appointment (mainly via Teams, but face-to-face appointments are also possible). 

Breaking the Gender Bias in Academia & Academic Practice: ‘Representation of Women Composers in the Whittaker Library’

We know that many of the RCS community share our interest in diversity when it comes to performing materials, so we thought we’d tell you about the case study that one of our Performing Arts Librarians has just had published in a scholarly journal. We think you’ll find it quite interesting.

It describes our work increasing library coverage of music by women composers and BIPOC composers.  It focused first on women composers, because it started life as a paper that the author gave for International Women’s Day last year, but they have also discussed the acquisition of BIPOC composers’ music as well. Since it’s International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March 2023, how appropriate that the article should have come out just in time for the same celebration that provided the inspiration for the article in the first place!

Dr Karen McAulay, ‘Representation of Women Composers in the Whittaker Library’, Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice Vol.11 no.1 (2023),pp.21-26.

JPAAP is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal. 

Vol. 11 No. 1 (2023) is a Special Issue on ‘Breaking the Gender Bias in Academia and Academic Practice, exploring and addressing issues, dimensions and initiatives related to ensuring a greater gender parity and representation within academic institutions, academic and academic-related work, and related professional practices.’ It is guest edited by Alexandra Walker and Keith Smyth.

Direct link to entire issue

Direct link to Karen’s article


Shakespeare at RCS

This month saw the RCS put on a successful double bill of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays: Macbeth and Coriolanus. To celebrate this feat, the Whittaker Library has chosen Shakespeare as our physical display and blog focus this month, to highlight the relevant material we hold in our collection.  

Blogpost written by Jen McAlpine

Red-veiled Lady Macbeth with blood on her hands
Image from RCS collection

Regarded as the greatest playwright of all time, Shakespeare produced at least 38 plays (accessible through our library catalogue) and 150 poems in his lifetime. While there is little evidence of how his career began, there are references to him being an established actor and dramatist by the time he was 28. By 1599, aged 35, Shakespeare was a prominent member of the acting group Lord Chamberlain’s Men, and part-owner of the newly built Globe Theatre: his name appearing on the original lease for the historical playhouse! 

The story of the Globe Theatre has dramatic merit of its own. In 1613, the playhouse caught fire from a misfired prop cannon during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. Within an hour the entire structure was razed to the ground. Lord Chamberlain’s Men were quick to rebuild, and the reconstructed Globe opened in 1614 on the exact same site. This time the playhouse enjoyed 28 years of success before being forcibly closed by the Puritans in 1642 (due to the supposed ‘immorality’ of theatre) and demolished by 1644.  

Shakespeare’s Globe as it stands today is a mere 230 meters from the site of the original playhouse. Today, it is a world-renowned theatre, education centre, and cultural landmark. Opened in 1997, it recently celebrated its 25th anniversary (technically for the second time in its tumultuous history). The RCS is fortunate to have direct ties to this prestigious institute, sending our MACCT cohort on a month-long residency there each year. At the end of this intensive experience, our students are given the chance to perform or direct on the mainstage of Shakespeare’s Globe!  

Watch some of our past student’s discuss this opportunity, by following this link to the RCS YouTube account: MACCT at the Globe. 

The modern-day reconstruction of this playhouse has been described as “one of the most imaginative enterprises of recent decades” and is a fascinating endeavour to read about. Built on the back of years of scholarship, both practical and academic, every single element of this rebuild was aimed at authenticity. One of the books available in our collection, Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt, discusses how lost techniques for timber-framed building had to be relearned. Even the lime-plaster for the walls was created using an original 17th century recipe!  

Peter McCurdy, who oversaw the construction process, describes how the physical playhouse “demands to be taken in”. Entering the pit, your eyes are guided upwards by timber columns. Beyond the three galleries which encircle the stage, the dark thatch roof contrasts with the natural light shining through from the circle of open sky overhead. On sunny days, this lends a brightness to the stage that cannot be replicated indoors: on overcast days, the gloomy atmosphere created lends itself perfectly to dramatics. This was perfect for a stage which was otherwise sparse, with minimal props and no theatrical scenery. 

Available to loan from the Whittaker is Shakespeare’s Globe : a film that explores the construction process and working life of this unique institution. (We also have disc drives to borrow so you can watch DVD’s in the library!) 

The most valuable takeaway from the reconstruction project has been the insight provided into how theatre used to be. Shakespearean scholar and Director of Education at Shakespeare’s Globe Farah Karim-Cooper explains: 

“All you have to do is drop the play in there and the basic features of it come to life.” 

The Globe Theatre is interwoven into the fabric of Shakespeare’s plays and was arguably his most versatile prop. Where modern theatres place stages behind an archway, creating clear separation of actors and audience, the Globe employs a “thrust stage”: a platform which allows the audience to surround the performance area from all angles. In Shakespeare’s day, the audience would move around the yard to get a better view and actors had to compete for spectator’s attention. This made trips to the theatre much more interactive. Shakespeare encouraged this by having actors address the audience in quippy asides. His soliloquys are the most obvious example of this, where actors directly address the audience and draw them into their confidence.  

“This created a sense that the audience were in on a private joke against the characters in the play, putting them simultaneously within and outside the world of the play.” (British Council) 

Image of The Globe Theatre
Image of The Globe Theatre from Shakespeare’

RCS students have free access to The Alexander Street Royal Shakespeare Company Collection, with live recordings from the Royal Shakespeare Company available to stream online. Take a look at how their thrust-stage adds an element of authenticity to an otherwise modern space! 

Without elaborate scenery, Shakespeare relied upon telling his audience how to reimagine the physicality of the playhouse, as in Hamlet’s: 

“this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory: this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’er-hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with gold fire” 

The playhouse lends itself to dramatic symbolism when we consider that the stage can be accessed from multiple levels, allowing actors to enter from above and below (via the heavens and trapdoors underneath the stage). This remains useful for evoking religious imagery, with references to heaven and hell mirrored on stage.  

If, as Jacques proclaims in Much Ado About Nothingall the world’s a stage”, then Shakespeare’s Globe is a world unto itself. The Globe Theatre was equal parts inspiration and prop to its contemporary playwrights, and its reconstruction carries on this legacy admirably. See for yourself how The Globe’s physical structure contributes to an immersive experience by watching Richard II : Live from Shakespeare’s Globe , available to stream now on Planet e-Stream! 

Sources (other than items linked through the text) 

British Library Online Archives  

London Theatre : from the Globe to the National, by J.R. Evans   

Marc Connor writing for Wondrium Daily: How Were Shakespeare’s Plays Performed? : The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource  

Shakespeare’s Globe Official Website   

Shehrazade Zafar-Arif writing for  British Council Blog: How Have Performances of Shakespeare Changed Over Time?   

Emily Lyle: an Impressive Career

We have an eight-volume collection of Scottish folk songs that our Traditional Music students will know well – the Greig-Duncan Collection. Gavin Greig was an Aberdeenshire school-master at Whitehill, New Deer. Together with his minister friend, Rev. James Bruce Duncan, they amassed a huge collection of folk songs collected in the North East of Scotland, but the collection was only published comparatively recently – between 1981 and 2002. If that seems like a long time to publish eight volumes of songs, then you need to know that the Greig-Duncan collection consists of some 3,500 texts and 3,300 tunes. Gavin Greig was a man with a mission to demonstrate that the Scottish songs in book collections (‘book songs’) were often far removed from the ‘folk songs’ in circulation amongst people in a particular locality.

Two editorial names were associated with the preparation of these massive tomes for publication: Patrick Shuldham-Shaw (1917-1977) died before the first volume was even published, but Dr Emily Lyle has been General Editor for the entire collection, with the help of Peter A. Hall for Volume 3, Adam McNaughtan for Volume 5 and Katherine Campbell – formerly on the RCS teaching staff here – for Volume 8. This was a project of truly epic proportions!

Dr Lyle is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Celtic and Scottish Studies Department. As well as her work on Scottish folk song, she has also researched oral culture, folk customs and ancient mythology.

This is a phenomenal output, and Dr Lyle’s careful, detailed work is on reading lists for our own Traditional Music students. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on composers and performers, platforms and performances, but we should never forget that quiet, dedicated scholarship enables the more obviously ‘creative’ folk to build their own work on solid foundations.

A World of Women Composers! Our list …

Close-up picture of someone playing a tuba
Tuba image from Pixabay

It began innocently enough, with a determination to get a few more compositions by women into our catalogue. The list grew, and went on growing. We checked to see what we already had, and tagged everything in the catalogue so that it was easy for our readers to retrieve.

Whittaker Library – a List of Music by Women Composers

We now have over 1800 pieces by women composers! However, it appeared there were certain gaps. Did women not compose for bagpipes? For piccolo, cor anglais or bassoon? For brass instruments, singly or in quintets? Or brass bands? That was obviously nonsense – it couldn’t be true.

We reached out to colleagues and via Twitter. In 24 hours – no kidding – we were provided with names, suggested pieces of music, and weblinks …. our magnificent total is evidently going to go on growing. Indeed, some pieces have already been identified for ordering. We’re enormously grateful to the many people who have reached out to us – and all the more convinced of the value of social media.

Here are some of the names suggested in the past 24 hours. Bear in mind, we do already have a lot of music by women, and this is just a list of names that have been suggested to us very recently.

  • Bolton, Rose
  • Burrell, Diana
  • Butler, Jennifer
  • Change, Dorothy 
  • Clowes, Trish
  • Czernowin, Chaya
  • Dunphy, Melissa 
  • figgis-vizueta, inti 
  • Finzi, Grecian 
  • Folville, Juliette
  • Francis-Hoad, Cheryl
  • Gardner, Bobbie-Jane
  • Hall, Emily
  • Harding, Charlotte
  • Howard, Dani
  • Kukuk, Felicitas
  • Lane, Liz
  • Larsen, Libby
  • Lim, Liza 
  • Lizee, Nicole
  • Marsh, Joanna
  • Martlew, Zoe 
  • Mikićević, Vladica
  • Montgomery, Jessie 
  • Morlock, Jocelyn 
  • Nesic, Snezana 
  • Neuwirth, Olga
  • Nishimura, Cait
  • Olson, Tawnie  P
  • erinpanayagam, Yshani 
  • Rehnqvist, Karin
  • Sergeyeva, Tatyana 
  • Shapiro, Alex 
  • Sokolovic, Ana 
  • Sweeney, Aileen
  • Tabakova, Dobrinka
  • Tan, Hilary
  • Tarrodi, Andrea
  • Temple, Alex 
  • Warshaw, Dalit
  • Watson, Jenni
  • Wennäkoski, Lotta
  • Wheeler, Janet
  • Wimhurst, Karen

Oor Ain Folk at Celtic Connections 19 Jan – 5 Feb 2023

Thirtieth Anniversary

Picture of violin with bow
[Pixabay image of violin and bow]

Here in the Whittaker Library, a few of our team have been in the library as long as Celtic Connections has been running in Glasgow! It’s impossible to compute just how many of our alumni have performed in venues around the city over the years, at this popular fortnight of traditional music events. And what better time of year, to brighten our lives in the gloom of midwinter in the west of Scotland?

The festival website tells you all you need to know. Perhaps the most crucial, of course, is the at-a-glance pdf programme! If you’re connected with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Traditional Music courses, then you’re likely to recognise a number of names. We spotted Chris Stout – a graduate from the days when we were the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), and the Scottish Music course was newly-started by Drs Jo Miller and Peggy Duesenberry, with Brian McNeill of the Battlefield Band also connected with the course in its early days. Chris now has a musical partnership with Catriona McKay, who has been an external examiner and visiting harp-teacher at RCS. Chris Stout and Catriona McKay appear on Friday 27 January with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the City Halls.

More recent alumni include Isla Ratcliff, who took her MMus at RCS after getting a first in Music at the University of Oxford. Isla’s concert is on Thursday 26th January at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite.

You’ll also find Fergus McCreadie, jazz pianist, performing at the Mackintosh Church on Friday 25th January, and in the City Halls Recital Room the following day. Graduating in 2018, he was featured on the RCS website as Graduate of the Month in February 2019, with an update on his progress the following year (‘Graduate Focus‘).

Looking in the library catalogue, you’ll find several CDs and a couple of newsclippings relating to Celtic Connections over the years, but there are also plenty of CD recordings of various alumni from the Traditional Music course – you just need to look them up by name! But it’s also worth bearing in mind that Celtic Connections is of interest in itself, as an example of a large and successful traditional music festival. If you’re researching music festivals, their organisation or history, you could do worse than visit Catalogue Plus (at the same link) to find everything in our catalogue, plus all the digital articles and audiovisual media that we subscribe to.

If you find that one of our alumni has made an interesting recording that we don’t yet have in stock, then do let us know. We can only get streamed sound as part of our big music streaming subscriptions, but if they’ve made a CD, we can certainly try to buy a copy.

Enjoy the music!

Scottish Women Composers in the Spotlight

For several years, we’ve been energetically – and contentedly – taking care to acquire more music both by women composers, and by composers of colour. We’ve even got quite a name for ourselves (bowing modestly).

In all this activity, there has been one particular focus that we certainly haven’t neglected, but neither have we facilitated retrieval of this one very specific repertoire.

“Where’s the music by Scottish women?”

Well you might ask! It’s a very pertinent question for a library serving the needs of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Obviously, we know there’s music by Scottish women. The trouble is, helping readers to find it! Just as you can’t ask a question if you don’t know there’s a question to ask, likewise you can’t find music by Scottish women if you don’t know who is Scottish. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a very international community, and that means a lot of people who very probably know more about women composers somewhere else, than about women composers here. We should be helping everyone find out more about the women composers right on our doorstep, literally and figuratively speaking.

And – without wishing to be flippant – you won’t find all the music by Scottish women, by looking only for composers whose names begin with Mc or Mac. (After all, Ms ‘Mc’ or ‘Mac’ could be Irish, or could have acquired their names by marriage!)

And there’s another question:

“What’s Scottish?”

When we talk about Scottish music, there’s a tendency to think about traditional ‘folk’ music, but there are philosophical and practical problems here.

  • Not all music is folk music
  • Not all trad musicians write in a recogniseably Scottish idiom. Are you looking for ‘Scotch snaps’ and gapped scales? Flattened sevenths? Fiddles and clarsachs? What makes music ‘Scottish’?
  • Does it have to be old, to be trad? Certainly not – we have an entire Traditional Music degree here, and they are creating new material all the time. Niel Gow hasn’t been cast aside, but trad music isn’t all Niel Gow, any more than classical is all Bach, Beethoven and Berlioz.
  • Even in the folk idiom, there has historically been a lot of argument about which tunes are traditional, and which are ‘composed’. It’s hopeless trying to argue about it, because a lot of ‘anonymous’ tunes must have originated with one musician, whether or not they wrote it down at the time. ‘Folk tunes’ weren’t all written collaboratively by groups of country folk sitting round a pub fire or whistling in a bothy somewhere in the Highlands!

Enough of our pet hobby horse! For well over a century, there has been an acceptance amongst many people that ‘Scottish’ can be interpreted more widely than this. It can mean a composer who writes using Scottish idioms. (Look at Hamish MacCunn, or indeed Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, at once loved and reviled for what she did with Hebridean folksongs. We have a great CD by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumna, Lisa Milne, showcasing Kennedy-Fraser’s repertoire:- Land of heart’s desire : songs of the Hebrides / from the collection by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser) Then again, there may be nothing at all to suggest that the music is ‘Scottish’ apart from the fact that the composer is Scottish.

But don’t forget that someone might be of Scottish descent, whether or not they live in Scotland. Or they might not consider themselves Scottish at all, but have eagerly adopted and arranged Scottish songs and tunes for contemporary audiences.

We haven’t indexed all our music by Scottish women composers, in individual catalogue records, any more than we would index music by French, German or American men. However, in response to a query about finding music by Scottish women, we have created a couple of online ‘reading lists’ in our catalogue system. They’re almost certainly incomplete, because we’ve only just started compiling them – but it’s a start.

Do also visit the Scottish Women Inventing Music (SWIM) website, to find out more about women composing music in the here and now. And it would be worth bookmarking the Scottish Music Centre website, too.

And remember, we don’t have a copy of every single piece published by a Scottish woman composer – we couldn’t! Only the copyright libraries will have some of the material, especially if the woman was and/or is little-known. But do get in touch with us via the Library Catalogue‘s Ask a Librarian link, if you think we might be able to help you find something.

Meanwhile, for the curious, here are some of the Scottish women composers in our catalogue. Please do let us know of others who deserve to be listed – they’re only omitted because this list hasn’t been in existence for long:-

  • Jennifer Margaret Barker (Scottish American)
  • Sally Beamish
  • Janet Beat
  • Alison Beattie
  • Hilda Mary Campbell
  • Lillias Scott Chisholm (poet)
  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Phamie Gow
  • Corrina Hewat
  • Helen Hopekirk
  • Marjory Kennedy-Fraser
  • Claire Liddell
  • Anne Macdearmid
  • Karen Marshalsay
  • Anna Meredith
  • Cairstiona Mhairtainn
  • Thea Musgrave – an astonishingly prolific composer
  • Nairne, Lady Carolina (poet)
  • Wilma Paterson
  • Jenna Reid
  • Ailie Robertson
  • Frances Tolmie (collector)

Spotlight on Diversity Week in Whittaker Library (Recent Event)

From Monday 31st October to Friday 4th November, we organised a number of special events for our readers. Highlights are listed below.

This Project has been supported by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) Innovation and Development Fund.

  • Monday 31st October – In collaboration with RCS Exchange, Professor Nate Holder delivered an online talk entitled “Is diversifying repertoire enough”?
  • Tuesday 1st November – Live in the Library for a lunchtime live concert where our students explored music composed by living female composers.
  • Tuesday 1st November – Live in the Library (and online) for Performance Anxiety, Mental Health and Performer Identities, a session led by lecturer, and researcher, Dr Rachel Drury, and PhD candidate Claire Ruckert. An open and collaborative session discussing mental health among conservatoire students, with an emphasis on performance anxiety and performer identities.
  • Wednesday 2nd November – Understanding Neurodivergence in a Neuronormative World. Live in the Library and online, a talk that articulates the basics of neurodiversity as a biological fact, a social justice movement and as a paradigm – a lens that understands neurocognitive diversity as natural, valuable, and as a social identity. Led by Aby Watson, this talk centred the lived experience of neurodivergence. Aby outlined the wide range of neurotypes that fall under the Neurodiversity Umbrella, bringing awareness to the barriers, exclusion and stigma surrounding neurodivergence in the neuronormative world that we live in.
  • Thursday 3rd November – Monologue Writing Workshop – Live in the Library with Sanjay Lago, an interactive session open to anyone who would like to write a monologue. Sanjay covered autobiographical writing, looking at who we are as people, discussing about writing diverse characters and inclusive language.
  • Plus exciting student-led displays in the Library!

More about our Speakers:-

Spotlight on Nathan Holder

Spotlight on Diversity Week 31 October – 4 November 2022

There’s lots happening in the library during our special week showcasing our efforts at diversification and inclusion.  Of particular note, we’re sponsoring one of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s popular Exchange Talks, and we’re delighted to be welcoming Professor Nathan Holder to speak to Exchange Talk attendees. (Monday 31 October 2022, 6:00-7:00pm online – see below.)

We first encountered Nate in connection with his book, Where are all the Black Women Composers? Since we’ve been actively building up our coverage of music by women composers and composers of colour, Nate’s book – aimed at secondary school age students – was ideal for checking that we hadn’t overlooked someone important. Not only that, of course, but the book would plainly be very informative for students on our Bachelor of Education course and those on our postgraduate education courses. We read, learnt, inwardly digested – and then bought a couple more library copies so that there would, theoretically, always be one on the shelf.

Nate Holder’s tweet announcing Where are all the Instruments? West Africa

We’ve subsequently acquired Nate’s Listen & celebrate : activities to enrich and diversify primary music, and we’re ordering his latest book too:- Where are all the Instruments? West Africa. It has been very well reviewed in Music Teacher, so we’re looking forward to seeing it on our bookshelves soon!

A couple of Nate’s online articles are also on the BEd. reading list, and we’ve also bookmarked his online article, 10 ways to check your musical bias.

So, who is Nate Holder? To quote from his own website (

Prof Nate Holder BA (Hons), MMus is a musician, author, speaker and music education consultant based in London. He is an advocate for decolonising music education and has been speaking, writing and consulting on the subject internationally for the past few years.

Nate is both a saxophonist and also Professor and International Chair of Music Education at the Royal Northern College of Music. We couldn’t find a better speaker and advocate on this very important topic.

Here are the details, shared from the Exchange Talks page on the RCS website:-

Monday 31 October 2022, 6:00-7:00pm. Online talk.

Is diversifying repertoire enough? Professor Nathan Holder

Register in advance for this webinar:

With the recent emphasis on diversity and equality in the music industry, repertoire is one of the most talked about ways to ‘achieve’ this. However, many barriers to access this ‘new’ repertoire exist which prevent teachers and students from discovering and performing music. While performing works by historically marginalised groups in the Global North is important, questions must be asked as to how these works are treated and added to the existing canon of Western Classical music. What does true equality mean in relation to repertoire, and is simply diversifying repertoire enough in 2022?

If you’d like to sign up to any other Exchange Talks, here’s the link to the page again!

Edinburgh Fringe

Library colleague Scott Coubrough reflects upon the Edinburgh Fringe:-

This month, we cast our minds back to the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe. Since August, the library has sourced a selection of the plays performed at the festival, and we’re now flaunting our recent purchases in the display cabinet at the entrance to the library.

So if you want to get a sense of what is going on in the world of theatre and performance, why not start by borrowing one of our spotlighted scripts?

Some of the library material on offer as part of our Edinburgh Fringe display

Rachel Causer’s Please Feel Free to Share is a one-woman-show which explores the timely themes of social media addiction and over-sharing. Causer’s character is an influencer whose lies begin to spill over into real life when she joins a bereavement group after the death of her father. The show has been praised for its dark humour and relatable protagonist.

Another solo effort from this year comes from Samuel Barnett in Feeling Afraid as if Something Terrible is Going to Happen. Blurring the line between the monologue and the stand-up comedy set, Barnett’s show is a comic look at the love life of its self-loathing protagonist, whose performance Time out calls ‘funny, charismatic, and pitiful’.

If you are looking for something with more of a visual impact, we also have the new adaptation of Expressionist classic The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Titled simply Caligari, Georgie Bailey’s play takes us back to Weimar Germany and the familiar story of Dr Caligari and his somnambulist. With art direction comparable to the 1929 silent film, the set is presented as skewed, jaunty, and disorienting through use of light and shadow. The play has been praised for its depiction of important topical issues like media manipulation and governmental tyranny – Everything-Theatre calls it ‘a beautifully crafted piece of storytelling’.

Family drama Blood Harmony tells the story of three sisters’ reunion for the funeral of their mother. Matthew Bulgo’s play has been praised for the intimacy of its storytelling. In a glowing write-up for Musical Theatre Review, Fiona Orr describes the play as ‘full of beauty, wonder and a deep understanding of how to convey familial relationships’.

And this is just the tip of the ice-berg. Why not visit the library to discover the rest of the brand-new plays we have in stock – all available to borrow now!