Scenes For Survival - Last Chance To View


19 May 2022

News Story

National Theatre of Scotland is celebrating their innovative Scenes for Survivaldigital series, created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as it draws to a close over the next six months. Each film will be taken down two years after it was premiered, with audiences being offered the last chance to view.

Scenes for Survival served as an inventive alternative online season of short works, following the enforced cancellation of productions and performances from the National Theatre of Scotland, as well as by venues and theatre companies across Scotland.

The project was delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland 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, and saw a host of more than 200 Scottish performers, writers, and directors create short pieces of digital theatre remotely from their personal spaces of isolation, with films released online for audiences to enjoy for free.

The Scenes for Survival series has seen significant success.

Launched with six films on the 27 May 2020, the programme saw 55 new short artworks released online each week until the week of the 14 September 2021. To date, the programme has garnered over 22 million views across all platforms.

Five of the films achieved more than one million views – The Longest Summer, performed by Richard Rankin, written by Noisemaker and directed by Jemima Levick; Janey Godley’s Aloneseries Part I and II directed by Caitlin Skinner and featuring Jack Lowden; Peter Mullan’s Fatbawswritten by Douglas Maxwell, with the most viewed single film, TheDomestic by Uma Nada-Rajah, performed by Kristi McDonald reaching 4.5 million people. This film was shared widely on social amongst hospital workers. The writer, Uma Nada-Rajah was herself working as nurse during the pandemic.

Uma Nada-Rajah, writer of The Domestic said:

“I was on shift as a nurse in an acute area the day that the NHS rolled out the ‘no visitors' directive. It was in those murky, early days of the pandemic- no one had a clue what was going on. I went home shaken and the following day wrote The Domestic in one sitting. I'm really pleased that it seems to have touched people”

Audience response

This brought me right back to the Southern General Hospital. Your performance makes me vividly see some of the domestics and auxiliaries I used to work alongside. They done (still do) a fantastic job with very little recognition. It is absolutely brilliant.

Danni The Champion, a powerful short drama from Iain Findlay Macleod shot on the Isle of Lewis, was selected for screening at seven international film festivals. The film was directed by Laura Cameron-Lewis and features Stornoway actor Francesca Taylor Coleman in her professional debut.

Scenes for Survival won one of the 2020 RNIB See Differently - Coronavirus Heroes Awards, which celebrated making the series fully accessible with audio description, captioning and BSL introductions while Fatbaws, a surreal and hilarious short film written by Douglas Maxwell, directed and performed by Peter Mullan, was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA.

The audio described version of Aleister Crowley Summons the Devil by Denise Mina, directed by Amy Liptrott and performed by Gordon Houston is now the most watched National Theatre of Scotland YouTube video of all time.

The Scenes for Survival short dramatic works have been online, and free for audiences to view, for two years. A selection of Scenes for Survival films was also released on BBC iPlayer, as well as being broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel in August 2021.

All Scenes for Survival films can be found and watched here.