It was disquieting, to say the least, to learn, during the last days of her tenure, that the founding artistic director and chief executive of the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS), Vicky Featherstone, had been subject to some racist (anti-English) abuse in her pioneering, agenda-setting, time at the head of the organisation. It was further evidence of a tendency prevalent, if not entirely unique, in Scotland, to see any appointment of someone who is not in some never-quite-defined way "Scottish" to a senior position in the arts north of the border as somehow evidence of a lack of faith in "our own", regardless of countless examples of parallel appointments in other parts of the British Isles where Scots have been preferred. The people who do the complaining are self-evidently the only ones guilty of the so-called "Scottish cringe" (appalling term) of which they complain, but that does not in any way excuse the blinkered bigotry they demonstrate.

This week we learned of the appointment of two colleagues of Featherstone during the remarkable early years of the NTS to run Ireland's national theatre, the Abbey in Dublin. In what seems a carefully-structured transition, a year from now NTS executive producer Neil Murray and associate director Graham McLaren will begin work as co-directors of the Abbey, working alongside incumbent of 12 years Fiach MacConghail for six months before their own programme kicks in at the start of 2017. And as far as I have been able to judge, the reception accorded the announcement in Ireland has been nothing but positive. To be clear: McLaren in Scottish, a product of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama who founded his own Theatre Babel company and has led Perth Theatre, and Murray is in fact Welsh, although almost all his working life has been spent in Glasgow, at the Citizens, 7:84, and the Tron before the NTS. The Irish Times report of the news was, understandably to anyone with any interest in theatre, much more concerned about how the "theatre without walls" ethos that was the establishing principle of the NTS would impact on the definitively building-based Irish institution in the nation's capital. "We want to look at what the Abbey's reach can be," Murray was quoting as saying, and a joint statement stated: "We believe in the concept of a national theatre that reaches all of the country. This applies to touring work, but also addresses the issue of where shows and projects are rooted and made, regardless of geographical remoteness or perceived social barriers." I bet that made some sit up in Donegal and Galway, and perhaps occasioned a pursed lip in Dublin.

If there are not those who will subsequently express concerns about the ability of two incomers to curate a canon of work for the stage that unarguably dwarfs that of the nation where they made their careers, and others arguing that some fresh thinking about what a national theatre should do is exactly what the Abbey needs, I will be surprised and disappointed in our neighbours across the Irish Sea, but I hope and trust that the discussion is in those terms or something like them. I expect the biggest story will come when the pair unveil their first slate of productions in the autumn of next year, just as Wales was excited when the new artistic director of Cardiff's Sherman Cymru announced her first programme last year. Ireland's Rachel O'Riordan had gone to the Welsh capital following three years in Perth, which she capped with a fine haul of prizes at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland in 2013. Anyone who cannot appreciate that all this traffic across the stages of theatres throughout these islands is dramatically positive should exit stage left, pursued by their fears.

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