Tim Cornwell: Drama and stardust in a capital 2010

The Traverse Theatre's production of The Goat, or Who is Sylvia, last April, remains my cultural high point of 2010. "Bold, dynamic, and rolling with every blow," as the critic Thom Dibdin called it in The Stage.

Edward Albee's weird and warped domestic tale of a man in the throes of a bizarre passion for, well, a goat, was vividly memorable, as brought to life by the Traverse director, Dominic Hill, and the cast led by John Ramm and Sian Thomas.

So New Year's resolutions will include keeping a more watchful eye on the Traverse programme, perhaps for the likes of Daniel Kitson, in his May show The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church, or the Beckett Trilogy in late January.

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Interesting to note that Hill, a major talent of the Scottish theatre scene, gets his first outing with the Royal Shakespeare Company this year, directing Philip Massinger's comedy The City Madam, so possibly a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon is in order.

Two other theatre productions stood out from 2010 in what is far from a comprehensive list.

The National Theatre of Scotland's new play Caledonia, in the Edinburgh International Festival, seemed a missed opportunity. But its timely take on the disastrous Darien colony, and the speculative collapse of Scotland's finances that it brought about, touched still sensitive nerves. The production may have been ill-starred in execution, but it was the subject of debate for weeks after, so if theatre's job is provocation it was achieved.

Pants On Fire's production of Ovid's Metamorphoses was a stand-out Fringe show - and is to open in New York on 5 January, having won the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh award, which will finance its trip there.

The strangest theatrical encounter of the festival, however, was joining an audience who choked, coughed, but staunchly kept their seats through a staging at the Forest Fringe, as the air filled with an acrid smoke from burning chillis left under a grill in the kitchen below.

As an arts correspondent working across art forms, rather than a specialised reviewer, the cultural samplings of Scotland's enormously varied art scene are both rich, and scattered. It was a privilege to interview Amy Macdonald, on a chance encounter ahead of a European concert - though with the regret of not fully appreciating, in advance, just how talented this Scottish singer and songwriter is. It was fascinating to catch KT Tunstall testing out new material to a small crowd in a Cowgate pub - with another chance to see her in the company of fellow Fife rockers at the "One Day" concert in the New Year celebrations tomorrow .

The Edinburgh International Film Festival brought the chance to see an actress presumably on the cusp of great things: Jennifer Lawrence. She came to Edinburgh as the lead actor in the multiple-award winning film Winter's Bone, playing a hardscrabble 17-year-old girl navigating a clan of meth-dealers in rural America with complete authenticity.She chatted with audience members, letting drop how she was working on a new film alongside Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson, before stepping into her limo, leaving a fleeting glimpse of a starlet on the way up.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's fine concert performance of Don Giovanni, under the baton of 27-year-old Robin Ticciati, also brought the promise of greater things to come. The evening was dedicated to the late Sir Charles Mackerras, the long-time SCO and EIF luminary who died in July at the age of 84. But it came with the news that Ticciati had extended his three-year contract as the SCO'S principal conductor till 2015, in another example of Scotland recruiting and nurturing young conducting talent.

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2011 brings the prospect of the reopening of the National Portrait Gallery. The building will be returned to its original glory with the opening up of the rooms on the upper floors, while another Edinburgh jewel, the Royal Museum, will also be unveiled after a huge refurbishment.