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Nicholas Bone is Artistic Director of Magnetic North and has directed all of the company's work.  He has also directed for Scottish Opera, Traverse Theatre, Opera North, Actors' Touring Company, Bristol Old Vic, NIDA and Dundee Rep. Nicholas wrote the text for A Walk at the Edge of the World, co-wrote the libretto of Happy Story (Scottish Opera), co-created Pass the Spoon (Magnetic North/Southbank Centre) and adapted Henry David Thoreau's Walden for the stage.

Apply now for Rough Mix 2019 in Perth

Artists and performers can apply now for Rough Mix 2019, our multi-artform creative lab.

ROUGH MIX is a paid multi-artform creative lab for early-stage ideas and practice development. Developed and run by Magnetic North, with this iteration running in partnership with Perth Theatre, Rough Mix is a two-week practical opportunity for artists to try out new ideas or new ways of working. It brings together a small core group of experienced artists from different disciplines – previous participants have included playwrights, composers, choreographers and visual artists - and gives them time to start developing new projects in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. The artists work with a group of performers and two early-career artists over a two week period before making a work-in-progress showing at the end. There have been 9 editions of Rough Mix already, leading to a wide range of new work.

Applications are accepted in three categories:

  • Experienced Artists
  • Early-career Artists
  • Performers

For more information about Experienced and Early-career Artist places, please follow this link.

For more information about Performer places, please follow this link.

For more information about Rough Mix, look here.

The closing date for Artists is 1pm UK on Wed 17 Oct, with decisions advised by Fri 26 Oct.

The closing date for Performers is 1pm UK on Wed 24 Oct, with decisions advised by Fri 2 Nov.

Late applications will not be considered.

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2018 Artist Attachment award

Magnetic North has awarded its 2018 Artist Attachment to theatremaker Jenna Watt. The Magnetic North Artist Attachment is a unique opportunity for Scottish-based artists with a significant track record to have a sustained period of paid time to focus on a new development in their work. It is designed flexibly to allow the recipient to spread six months of dedicated time over an 18 month period, and so be able to continue with other commitments and projects. Any professional artist based in Scotland with a significant track-record of making work for at least seven years is eligible to apply. The first Artist Attachment was awarded to visual artist, composer and performer Hanna Tuulikki in 2017.

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A haven for artists from all disciplines

In two weeks five artists will embark on our creative retreat called Space/Time at Cove Park. Two of the artists have sent us a postcard (including an audio one!) in the run up to the residency:

Sharron Devine (Theatre Maker & Director)

Artist Name - Sharron-Devine.m4a

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Magnetic North is looking for production staff for its next production

Magnetic North is looking for a Production Manager and a Stage Manager for its forthcoming production Lost In Music, which premieres in February 2019.

Lost in Music is a new piece of music-theatre for young adults which explores the importance of music to teenagers. It is being written by Kim Moore and Nicholas Bone and feature a cast of professional musicians and performers as well as an additional cast of young performers which will change from venue to venue. It rehearses in Glasgow and Edinburgh from the end of January 2019 and will be performed at North Edinburgh Arts and Platform in February/March 2019. You can read more about it here

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Using technology in theatre

Technology has been a part of theatre almost from the beginning: we might think of Ancient Greek drama as theatre at its purest, but the auditoria were carefully designed to focus the actors’ voices towards the audience. The later addition of masks were also a form of technology – it is believed that they acted as resonators for the actors, enhancing their voices and giving them a greater sense of presence. 

Technology became increasingly important in theatre, though, in the late 19th century – the possibilities of electric lighting and increasingly sophisticated stage machinery were even partially responsible for the emergence of the role of the director. With all those possibilities, someone needed to take charge of how they were deployed.  Nowadays, theatre without some sort of technology – whether it’s lighting, amplified sound, projections or music – is almost unimaginable. 

But how to use technology in theatre without it overwhelming the direct communication of actor to audience? How to avoid the problem encapsulated in the famous (and possibly apocryphal) dismissal of Camelot that “the audience came out humming the scenery”?  By making it essential to the telling of the story. In our 2014/15 show A Walk at the Edge of the World, we used projections in two concurrent ways: firstly, for the narrator to illustrate his description of the places he had visited, secondly to act as a visual sub-text. The first set of  images came from a 35mm slide projector which the narrator operated, the second set were projected behind him – at first supporting his narrative, then counterpointing it, then contradicting it. This was a theatrical way of employing the literary device of the unreliable narrator, and the story could only be fully understood by hearing the story and seeing the images at the same time. 



Our forthcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe production of Erewhon counterpoints two technologies from different eras. The magic lantern represents the era of the original book, while the iPhone is a technology of today. When playwright and performer Arthur Meek began looking at Samuel Butler’s 1872 book Erewhon as a source for a new play, he quickly recognised the connection between the 19th century magic lantern and PowerPoint, the medium he used in his 2016 fringe hit On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me as Her Young Lover.  The magic lantern was the technology that led to cinema: a machine capable of projecting images large enough for hundreds of people to watch at the same time. Live-streaming from an iPhone is as new and startling to many of us today as mechanical magic lantern slides were to Butler and his contemporaries – why not use both technologies?  

In Butler’s book, technology has been outlawed in Erewhon for hundreds of years because its inhabitants feared it was taking over their lives. The book’s narrator is regarded with suspicion because he has a pocket watch, which is taken from him and destroyed. In the development of the play, we looked at how the Erewhonians’ fear of technology’s power mirrored our own current concerns, and the ubiquitous iPhone seemed to be the quintessence of that fear – the desirable, addictive piece of technology many of us spend far too much time staring at every day.  Our Erewhon employs a fair amount of technology - including live music from electronic instruments, which would have been unimaginable to Butler in the 1870s – but we hope that its supports and amplifys the storytelling rather than replacing it.

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Latest Comment

J. Sharp Taking A Walk
07 September 2014
Very much enjoyed your show at the Brunton Theatre last night and the silent walk to start was an excellent addition, creating the perfect atmosphere....