SCOTLAND'S national theatre is to tackle the independence debate head-on with two new plays which focus on the identity of Scotland and its future.

They are the first announced shows from an ambitious first season for the National Theatre of Scotland's new artistic director Laurie Sansom.

In a large touring show, The Great Don't Know Show, two leading writers and directors, David Greig and David MacLennan, will curate a series of scenes, songs, skits, rants and dramas which will take both sides of the referendum debate and all points inbetween.

Acclaimed Scottish playwright Greig, whose version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened in London this week, is in the Yes camp.

MacLennan, a veteran of Scottish theatre whose stage history includes both Wildcat and 7:84 theatre as well as the successful Play, Pie and a Pint in Glasgow's Oran Mor venue, comes from the No camp.

The other new show for 2014, Rantin, by Kieran Hurley, and featuring several actors and singer-songwriters, will look at the variety of identities in Scotland and will also tour nationally.

A full NTS programme will be announced later this year, but Sansom said he is also adapting a Muriel Spark novel and is working on a major new Scottish drama.

Sansom, 40, originally from Kent, has also appointed three associate directors, Graham McLaren, Cora Bissett and Davey Anderson, who will be in position from January.

In his first interview since moving to Glasgow in March, he said: "What [David and David] wanted to do is find a format where a lot of viewpoints, some very partisan, can be given a forum and a structure.

"So we are going to be commissioning a lot of artists to write sketches, songs, rants, moments, statements and that will provide them with a menu. When they turn up in different communities they can shape that evening's entertainment to where they are, according to what people have sent in, or posted online."

"Both shows will use innovative ways of using social media so the whole nation can engage. Even if it is coming nowhere near you, you can contribute."

Sansom said the NTS itself cannot and will not take a position on the referendum, and he himself is firmly in the "don't know" camp.

He said: "I think art that is being very black and white, trying to harangue an audience, isn't actually very interesting art anyway.

"The artists we are getting involved aren't interested in that anyway – they will be asking the questions, and the challenges, and not necessarily making the audience think one way or the other. That's the politicians' job. It's our job to throw some questions up in the air."

When asked whether pro-independence writer and artist Alasdair Gray, who caused controversy with his views of English people appointed in Scotland as being "settlers or colonists", would be involved, Sansom said: "I don't know. It's up to David and Dave."

On Rantin, he said it explores the plurality of identities in Scotland and added: "It's a brilliant piece to take on the road to start next year's programme and to start a debate and to interrogate what national identity means."

On the topic of Gray's comments, Sansom, who is succeeding Vicky Featherstone in the post, said he had been made to feel "really welcome" in the position. He said he was enjoying living in Scotland.

Sansom added: "I have not experienced any hostility to my nationality.

"I don't know whether I will, and actually I feel I can join a debate about the work, and the values of the work.

"I don't think I can defend my position as an English person running the company, because that is who I am and that's not going to change, and I did not appoint myself."