National Theatre of Scotland announces new creatives and writers call-out for Scenes for Survival, online dance clubs, and festivals update


2 Apr 2020

News Story

A neon box office sign on a harbour

The National Theatre of Scotland has today announced further details of its online activity during the current COVID-19 crisis, including a call-out for writers as part of its Scenes for Survival programme of online work, as well as further artists joining the project.

Scenes for Survival is a new season of digital short artworks from National Theatre of Scotland which will launch new pieces of theatre from creative talents across a series of online platforms and channels over the next few months.

This project is being delivered in association with BBC Scotland, and BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project, and will see a host of actors, writers, and directors working to create short pieces of digital theatre remotely from their personal spaces of isolation.

New creatives joining the project include Andy Arnold (Artistic Director of The Tron Theatre), Peter Arnott, Maureen Beattie, Neshla Caplan, Amy Conachan, Julie Ellen (Artistic Director of Macrobert Arts Centre), Janice Galloway, David Greig (Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company); Debbie Hannan, Barrie Hunter, Janey Godley, Dominic Hill (Artistic Director of the Citizens Theatre), Jemima Levick (Artistic Director of Stellar Quines), Sanjeev Kholi, Amy Liptrott (Associate Director at Pitlochry Theatre), Elizabeth Newman (Artistic Director of Pitlochry Theatre), Iain Finlay Macleod, James McArdle, Johnny McKnight, Nicola McCartney, Eve Nicol, Andrew Panton (Artistic Director of Dundee Rep Theatre), Morna Pearson, Stef Smith, and Uma Nada-Rajah.

They join a number of established writers and performers who have already confirmed their support, including Cora Bissett, Mark Bonnar, Tam Dean Burn, Alan Cumming, Brian Cox, Kate Dickie, Blythe Duff, Finn Den Hertog, Lorraine Mcintosh, Shereen Nanjiani, Julie Wilson Nimmo, Adura Onashile, Richard Rankin and Robert Softley-Gale (Artistic Director of Birds of Paradise) as well as writers Jenni Fagan, Greg Hemphill, May Sumbwanyambe, Val McDermid, Denise Mina and Ian Rankin and writer/performer Greg McHugh.

All submissions will be read by the National Theatre of Scotland’s artistic team, with commissioned scenes then matched with an actor or pair of actors as well as a director. The initial call-out will be open until 16 April, and further call-outs will be announced in the coming months. Full details on the call-out can be found on the National Theatre of Scotland’s website.

There will be an additional call out for actors in the coming weeks.

The first Scenes for Survival pieces will be released later this month, and will be shared online through the National Theatre of Scotland’s website and social media channels, as well as those of the project’s associate partners. New pieces will be released regularly over the coming months. All Scenes for Survival content will be free for audiences and available via the Company’s online platforms and social media channels, as well as being shared with BBC Arts, BBC Scotland and associate theatre organisations.

Scenes for Survival is being developed and delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland working in association with an unprecedented number of partner organisations, including Aberdeen Performing Arts, Birds of Paradise, the Beacon Arts Centre, the Byre Theatre, Citizens Theatre, Dundee Rep Theatre, Eden Court Highlands, Imaginate, Macrobert Arts Centre, Perth Theatre and Horsecross Arts, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, Stellar Quines, the Tron Theatre and the Traverse Theatre.

The season of works will also act as a platform to raise money for a new hardship fund for artists and those in the theatre industry who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis. Further details will be announced when the first artwork is released.

Some artists involved have offered to donate their artistic fee on a pay-it-forward basis to enable further artists to be involved and paid over the coming months. The Company gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the artists who are supporting the project so far.


Following the official announcement on 01 April about the cancellation of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival, the Company is very sad to confirm that their scheduled Festival productions will no longer be going ahead as planned: Who Killed Katie, written by Rob Drummond and directed by Orla O'Loughlin, and Medea, Liz Lochhead’s version of Euripides Greek classic,directed by Michael Boyd, withAdura Onashile in the title role.


Other online activity during the coming months will include the Coming Back Out Ball’s monthly LGBTI+ Elders Social Dance Clubs, which will now continue as an online dance club, with the first meeting taking place on 12 April. The dance clubs had previously taken place monthly in Inverness and Glasgow, as well as at pop-up events across the country, and had developed a close-knit community. The monthly clubs will remain free for all LGBTI+ elders and allies, allowing members to be able to join in, dance and continue to enjoy the positive community and friendships that have already been created through the clubs. The clubs will also be open to new members of the LGBTI+ elders community and allies.

All that is required to take part is a computer or other suitable device, a fabulous outfit, and space to dance.

Lewis Hetherington, the National Theatre of Scotland’s creative lead on the project, said:"I'm delighted that we are going to be launching Online Dance Clubs. The community that has grown around this project are the most brilliant, bold and beautiful collection of people, so I'm so happy that we will all get to have a boogie together on the internet. It will be wonderful to see familiar faces, and of course we're always open to new dance club members! It seems more important than ever at this time, when we must be physically distant, that we stay socially connected, so hopefully see you all at an online dance club soon."

The Social Dance Clubs are part of The Coming Back Out Ball: a multi-event celebration of lesbian, gay bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex elders in Scotland. A group who have lived through times when being LGBTI+ could result in imprisonment, loss of employment and rejection by family or friends.

Originating in Australia, where it was created by arts company All The Queens Men, the project has now been brought to Scotland for the very first time. The Coming Back Out Ball is a partnership project with All The Queen’s Men, Eden Court, Inverness and Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, in association with Glasgow City Council. The Coming Back Out Ball, due to take place in Glasgow in June 2020, has been postponed.