Open Call | South Asian led Commission for large scale stage productions

Vacancies and Opportunities

As we continue to develop relationships and work by, with and for our South Asian artists and communities across the full range of our activities, we are inviting expressions of interest from South Asian Artists for ideas for new theatrical productions for Scotland’s largest theatre stages (i.e. King’s Theatre Glasgow, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen etc), that will speak directly to Scotland’s diverse South Asian communities and appeal to multi-cultural Scottish theatre audiences. Selected ideas will be developed with a view to being produced in the next 3-5 years.

Any artist, company or collective in Scotland can pitch an idea for commission/development/production support for any scale, at any time, through our new ideas portal

Background to this open call

In 2021 the National Theatre of Scotland made a commitment to proactively develop deeper relationships with Scotland’s South Asian communities and artists, in recognition that South Asian communities have often been overlooked.

Our first step was to establish a South Asian Steering Group for an initial phase of discovery.

One of the headline findings was that due to the barriers faced by South Asian artists in Scotland, most South Asian led work is small scale and often led by a solo artist taking on multiple roles across writing, directing, producing and performing. For the sector to develop and the ambitions of South Asian in a wide range of professional theatre roles artists to be realised, we need to create opportunities for work to be made across multiple themes and stories, at all scales, for a wide range of South Asian audiences.

More information about our South Asian Project, our long-term priorities and current action plan can be found here.

Stage One

We are looking for a brief description of an idea. Ideas can be text, music or dance led, be comedies, musicals, political etc, but they must talk to Scotland’s South Asian communities. rtists can apply with more than one idea, but each idea must be submitted separately. Artists will retain all rights to their idea/s and can submit multiple expressions of interest for different ideas.

All submissions will be read by a panel made up of four members of the company’s artistic team including Artistic Director Jackie Wylie, Director of Artistic Development Caroline Newall and Director of Creative Engagement Paul Fitzpatrick, and three paid external advisors; Iqbal Bedi, Lisa Kapur and Harris Albar. All expressions of interest will be acknowledged with feedback from the panel

We are looking for up to 10 ideas to take forward to Stage Two.

Stage Two

Shortlisted artists will be offered a small fee to provide more detailed information about their idea, ambition, and development needs. At this stage, artists will retain all rights to their idea, but National Theatre of Scotland will be given right of first refusal to develop/commission the idea with the artist.

Final Stage

If an idea is selected from Stage Two, it will be offered a bespoke, funded commission and artistic development plan, including mentoring and dramaturgical support, built around the specific needs of the artist/idea. While selected projects develop, we will also create further opportunities for South Asian artists, creatives, technicians, and others to join the development stages, through a series of open calls and responsive invitations, to ensure a Scottish South Asian team are ready to deliver the resulting production(s).


  • Identify as being part of a South Asian community
  • Be over 18 years old
  • Have the right to live and work in the UK
  • Be part of/have a good understanding of Scotland’s diverse South Asian communities and be able to speak to that in your submission
  • Have made at least 1 professional performance work (which can be theatre, music, dance etc)


The largest south Asian communities in Glasgow are Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian

When thinking about Ideas for work at a large scale you should take the following things into account:

  • Would the physical size (cast, set, physicality of the work) be able to fill the physical playing space?
  • Would the idea appeal to a broad and large audience that could fill the theatre over multiple performances? Elements that can help attract an audience are:
    • known titles, characters or stories
    • star casting or the contributions of artists with popular appeal (dance/music artists etc)
    • A definable genre (i.e. a musical, a comedy, a drama)
  • Running time: Most large-scale theatres want there to be an interval. Running time should ideally be no less than 90 minutes plus an interval.


| Can I apply if I am not a theatre artist?

Yes, this is open to South Asian artists from across art forms.

| Do I need to have made work at this scale before?

No, you just need to feel ready to go on the journey. We will support the development of selected artists alongside the development of their ideas.

| What do you mean by having made at least 1 professional performance work?

We are looking people who make their living (or part of their living) from their art who are on a journey to becoming professional, through the public presentation of their ideas/talents.

| Is this the only opportunity available to South Asian Artists?

No, we develop many ideas, at different scales through different routes. While this is a specific opportunity, it is not the only way we can work with you. Any artist/company/collective can pitch an idea for development or production consideration at any time through our New Ideas Portal (link). We also provide opportunities for artists to connect to us and our work through other free and paid opportunities, which can we found here (link) when they have gone live, or you can sign up for our mailing list to ensure you hear about them directly.

| Why is the call out open to South Asian artists based outside of Scotland?

With this call out we are trying to let the community know that we are interested in hearing from them and begin building connections. We also realise that we have lost some of our Scottish South Asian talent to south of the border.

Our priorities are both South Asian artists but also South Asian audiences, so we are interested in hearing about any and all ideas that might appeal to Scotland’s South Asian audiences, regardless of their origin.

Developing Scotland’s South Asian artists is a priority for us, whether through or beyond this call out.

| What can I do if I still have questions or have any concerns about the call out?

This is a new approach, and part of a long term journey of discovery, so your feedback is very welcome. In the first instance, please reach out to us at or

Stage One Deadline: 10am on Tuesday 26 September

Artists will be notified if they are being invited to Stage Two by Monday 30th October. If you are not invited to the next stage, we will offer feedback by email.