First Scenes for Survival films and launch night details revealed


20 May 2020

News Story

Cast members of the first Scenes for Survival releases. Clockwork from top left: Moyo Akande, Brian Cox, Kate Dickie, Jonathan Watson, Ashley More, and Janey Godley

Films from artists including Moyo Akande, Cora Bissett, Brian Cox, Kate Dickie, Jenni Fagan, Janey Godley, Ashleigh More, Morna Pearson, Frances Poet, Ian Rankin, Stef Smith and Jonathan Watson will be among the first released next week as part of Scenes for Survival.

The project is a new season of digital short artworks, created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak by the National Theatre of Scotland, working in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project and Scotland’s leading theatre venues and companies, with support from Hopscotch Films.

Each piece has been exceptionally created by a quarantine creative team, connecting remotely, made up of a performer(s), writer and director and filmed by the performers, from their personal spaces of isolation. Over 100 leading artists and creatives will work to create and release more than forty unique films over the coming weeks and months.

The first Scenes for Survival films will be released on Wednesday 27th May at 9pm. The films will be available to watch on the BBC website:, and distributed by the National Theatre of Scotland and partners via their social media channels. The first pieces released will be:

  • A Mug’s Game- an extract from the play Fibres by Frances Poet, performed by Jonathan Watson and directed by Louise Shephard.
  • Clearing- a new short piece from writer Morna Pearson, performed by Ashleigh More and directed by Cameron Mowat.
  • Alone- written and performed by Janey Godley, directed by Caitlin Skinner.
  • John Rebus: The Lockdown Blues- an exclusive new Rebus short from Ian Rankin, directed by Cora Bissett and featuring Brian Cox as the irascible detective inspector.
  • Isolation- a new short piece from novelist Jenni Fagan, performed by Kate Dickie and directed by Debbie Hannan.
  • The Present- written by Stef Smith, directed by Katherine Nesbitt, and performed by Moyo Akandé.

Full details on all the first films can be found here.

New Scenes for Survival pieces will be released each week, while a selection of scenes will also be broadcast on BBC Scotland, BBC Four and BBC Alba over the coming months.

The season of works will also act as a platform to raise money for the new SCENES FOR SURVIVAL HARDSHIP FUND: a fund for artists and theatre workers who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis. The National Theatre of Scotland is working with the FST and other sector bodies to ensure equitable distribution of money raised from this hardship fund. The National Theatre of Scotland will not be directly allocating money from this fund. The fund will be launched on 27 May following the first broadcast.

For more information on Scenes for Survival, visit