National Theatre of Scotland announces 2022 programme


25 Jan 2022

News Story

(Left to Right) Alan Cumming, Jacke Wylie, Uma Nada-Rajah, May Sumbwanyambe and Liz Lochhead in Rockvilla. Picture by Kirsty Anderson.

The National Theatre of Scotland today announced its 2022 season - on stage, on screen and on the road again.


  • Burn, a creative collaboration between legendary Scottish artist Alan Cumming and Olivier award-winning choreographer Steven Hoggett. Burn is a powerful new piece of dance theatre inspired by the life and legacy of Scotland’s most celebrated poet, Robert Burns. A National Theatre of Scotland, Joyce Theater and Edinburgh International Festival co-production. Opening at the EIF before touring to Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Perth and then heading to New York. 
  • Medea, over twenty years on from its original tour, Liz Lochhead’s fierce and powerful adaptation of the timeless Greek tragedy infused with Scots, returns in a new staging, with a large ensemble. Directed by Michael Boyd and with Adura Onashile taking on the eponymous role. A National Theatre of Scotland production presented at the Edinburgh International Festival. 
  • Exodus, a new play by up-and-coming writer Uma Nada-Rajah and directed by National Theatre of Scotland’s new Associate Director Debbie Hannan. A dark and surreal satirical comedy, standing by to shamelessly ridicule the systems of power, premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and touring to Stirling, Peebles, Glasgow, Stornoway, Aberdeen, and Kilmarnock. 
  • James IV - Queen of the Fight, employing the same wit and theatricality as the first three James Plays (James I, II and III) acclaimed playwright Rona Munro and director Laurie Sansom takes audiences back to a thrilling and uncharted period of Scottish history. Presented by Raw Material and Capital Theatres in association with the National Theatre of Scotland. Opening at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh before touring to Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling. 
  • Orphans, directed by Cora Bissett, is a darkly comic musical about family, grief and forgiveness. Based on the much-loved cult film written by Peter Mullan it has a sterling cast of Scottish musical stage performers. Opening at the SEC Glasgow and touring to Edinburgh and Inverness. Sponsored by Badenoch + Clark and Culture and Business Fund Scotland. 
  • Enough of Him, focuses on the remarkable true story of Joseph Knight, an African man brought to Scotland as an enslaved person by plantation owner John Wedderburn, who later challenged his status in court. As part of Year of Stories, the production opens at Pitlochry Festival Theatre before touring to Cumbernauld, Musselburgh and Perth. Also being shown as part of Black History Month. Written by May Sumbwanyambe and directed by Justin Audibert. A National Theatre of Scotland and Pitlochry Festival Theatre co-production. 


  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, a thrilling new hybrid version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, conceived and directed by Hope Dickson Leach, adapted from the original novella and relocated from London to Edinburgh. This unique new retelling uses innovative theatrical and cinematic techniques to create a live filmic and theatrical experience and a new feature film.  Live event at Leith Theatre then streaming to UK cinemas. A co-production with National Theatre of Scotland and Selkie productions in association with Screen Scotland and Sky Arts.  


  • Education Portal, the recently launched online Education Portal for teachers and students will have specially filmed upcoming productions as well as curated educational resources. The Portal programme in 2022 includes James IV, Enough of Him and Exodus alongside the live stream version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 
  • Reflecting Value: Creativity in Lockdown, a one-off podcast co-created with Centre for Cultural Value focusing on creativity during lockdown. Lewis Hetherington interviews participants and contributors from The Coming Back Out Ball,Non Optimum: When It Is Safe To Do So and Holding/Holding On who discuss the way creativity helped them during the pandemic.  Released by Centre for Cultural Value in February 2022. 
  • Like Flying,directed by Nic Green with movement direction by All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, and delivered in collaboration with MCR Pathways, Like Flying takes the form of a promenade performance in schools. Designed as a transformative project to enable young people to reach their potential and increase wellbeing, it invites a cast of 12 to 14-year-olds from schools in five local authorities to, through aerial performance methods, learn to fly. Supported by The Rayne Foundation and William Grant Foundation. 
  • Theatre in Schools Scotland brings exciting theatre and dance shows into schools all over Scotland. The 2022 programme integrates live performance with digital interactions and outdoor workshops from leading Scottish theatre and dance organisations and artists. 2022 productions include Mixed Up by Katy Wilson (Starcatchers and Imaginate), Family Portrait (Barrowland Ballet), Buff & Sheen (MoonSlide), Chalkabout (Curious Seed), Kissing Linford Christie by Victoria Beesley (Catherine Wheels) and Four Go Wild in Wellies (Indepen-dance). A National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate partnership project.  


With a new ongoing digital programme, National Theatre of Scotland on Screen projects will be presented at festivals and seasons during 2022, including a series of international presentations. These include:   

  • Lament For Sheku Bayoh, written and directed by Hannah Lavery, is the artistic response to the death of Sheku Bayoh, a 31 year-old gas engineer, husband and father of two who died in police custody on the streets of his hometown, Kirkcaldy in Fife.  Lament for Sheku Bayoh will be presented at the Auckland Festival, New Zealand from 10-27 March. A National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh co-production . 
  • Adam, the award-winning stage show reinvented as a compelling, theatrical on-screen drama, presented by the National Theatre of Scotland and Hopscotch Films. Inspired by the life of Adam Kashmiry, the BAFTA Scotland Award winning film tells the remarkable story of a young trans man and his struggle across genders and borders to be himself. Adam is being streamed as part of the Arts Emerson, Boston 2021/2022 Season from 28-30 January and Sydney Opera House UK/AU Digital Season. 
  • Carry Me Home, a short digital artwork celebrating the waters surrounding Scotland’s western isles and the voyages over them made by thousands of locals, workers and visitors each year. Carry Me Home follows a return journey home to the islands, a journey of loss, understanding and acceptance and reflecting the warm, welcoming heart of Scotland’s coastal communities. Carry Me Home is being screened at the Berlin Short Film Festival 1-10 February. 


  • National Theatre of Scotland is introducing a range of new Artist Residency opportunities to support artists in Scotland. The programme is a new model which will support 12 artists throughout 2022 until March 2023, with residencies enabling artists to develop an idea and project. Support provided will include a dedicated budget, studio space and equipment, access to technical advice and expertise, as well as producing and dramaturgical support.  


  • New Associate Directors Debbie Hannan and Finn Den Hertog will join current Associate Artists Hannah Lavery and Johnny McKnight. 


  • Diljeet Bhachu, Atta Yaqub, Annie George, Lisa Kapur and Neha Apsara join a new steering group brought together to mark the beginning of the Company’s commitment to building long term, sustainable relationships with Scotland’s South Asian communities. 


  • Ongoing and new initiatives to increase access to the Company’s work and to support freelancers and the industry include:  
  • – a renewed partnership with National Autistic Society Scotland to ensure all National Theatre of Scotland performances are autism-friendly and relaxed performances are regularly offered. 
  • - an ongoing partnership with Parents in Performing Arts (PIPA) to offer inclusive working practices, resources and policies to staff, artists and freelancers who have caring responsibilities and specific support of PIPA's organisational development, through the loan of a staff member for six months. 
  • - a programme of BSL interpreted, audio described and captioned performances for our work onstage and online. 
  • - the continuation of our Theatre for a Fiver scheme for 14- to 26-year-olds to attend performances for five pounds. 
  • The company is opening five roles for young people (aged 16 to 24 years) to work within different departments in the Company for six months, through the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme, set up during in the context of the pandemic to create paid work experience opportunities for those at risk of unemployment.  

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director and CEO said:

“As we emerge from this pandemic that has shaken our world and the theatre industry, we want to create unforgettable bold theatre experiences for audiences to immerse themselves in. We believe that theatre can help us navigate some of the burning issues of our times. 

We are working with brilliant artists, telling urgent stories about identity, politics and power, grief and family, and compelling new narratives about important characters in Scottish history and literature who can help define our sense of self and nationhood. 

We asked ourselves what Scotland needs from its National Theatre at this moment in time and we have created a programme in response to this challenge. 

We are working with as many freelancers, production crews and technicians as possible through the creation of large-scale works. This community is in urgent need for a return to regular employment and the opportunity to showcase their immense creative skills. 

We are touring as widely as possible to theatre venues across the country, to support the infrastructure of theatre in Scotland. 

We are continuing our digital presence, to increase access to our work whilst innovating with large scale hybrid theatrical screen projects. 

We are focussing on affecting cultural change, making positive social impacts and creating a sense of belonging, with a series of programme initiatives including a far-reaching new Artists Residency programme; five new company-wide jobs with the kickstart scheme; a new steering group to build long lasting relationships with the strong South Asian community in Scotland; a renewed partnership with National Autistic Society Scotland as well as a continued focus on creative engagement and our work in schools and across education. 

Theatre as a live art form is uniquely placed in how it can evolve in form to connect deeply with its audience. Scottish theatre-makers and artists have embraced language, genre and experimentation to explode compelling stories and characters onto our stages - satire, comedy, horror, musical theatre, Scots, aerial performance, tragedy, spectacle, dance and poetry all have their moment in our 2022 programme. We hope you will return safely to your local theatre to join us for an evening or afternoon of theatrical magic and belonging.” 

  Scottish Government Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said:

“I’m delighted to see the National Theatre of Scotland unveil such an exciting array of performances across the country as they go back into theatres in front of live audiences. In particular Burn, the dance theatre co-production with New York’s Joyce Theatre about the life of Robert Burns and starring Alan Cumming will be a must see event at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

“This is one of a range of new partnerships the National Theatre of Scotland have formed, including those with other art forms such as film and digital, to increase audience access and engagement this year.”