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Theatre uses portraits to paint an identity theme before independence poll

A series of theatrical postcards, an open call for five-minute plays about the independence poll, Ivor Cutler and Scrooge are all part of the National Theatre Of Scotland's plans for 2014.

The company is addressing ideas of Scottish identity throughout the year, under the theme of Dear Scotland. It includes a 12-hour performance of letters, lyrics, poems and songs on September 17 - the day before the referendum.

It will involve 20 of Scotland's leading writers, with names such as Ali Smith, AL Kennedy, David Greig, Jackie Kaye, James Robertson, Janice Galloway, John Byrne, the national Makar Liz Lochhead, Louise Welsh and Zinnie Harris writing "short and sharp" monologues inspired by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery's collections.

The promenade shows will run from April 24 to May 3 at the gallery.

The Great Yes, No, Don't Know, Five Minute Theatre Show, curated by Mr Greig and David MacLennan, will ask professional, amateur and first time theatre writers and directors to make and perform a five-minute theatre piece inspired by the theme of independence for live streaming online.

They will be streamed and performed online in June, as "micro theatre shows", and all performed in front of audiences.

The NTS first staged a series of five-minute shows in this style in 2011, to celebrate the company's fifth birthday.

On the day before the independence referendum, Blabbermouth will be staged at the Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, curated by NTS associate director Graham McLaren.

It will be a 12-hour celebration of the country's written word and will feature "one country's greatest letters, lyrics, polemics and poems, read and performed by its leading artists, politicians, broadcasters and sports people".

Other shows include McLaren's adaptation of Joe Corrie's 1926 In Time o' Strife and a production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Vanishing Point will also, with NTS, celebrate the work of Ivor Cutler in The Beautiful Cosmos Of Ivor Cutler.

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