Care in Contemporary Scotland, a Creative Enquiry | Holding / Holding On

Fri 21 Oct - Fri 4 Nov | Stream Online

A man sits on a stool holding a script in front of a screen.


We’re not just people like other people.
We’re villains or victims, heroes or sociopaths.
And just sometimes, we’re superhuman

Inspired by conversations with care experienced individuals and sector professionals, Holding / Holding On interrogates the way society treats those in Scotland’s care system. Those who need care, and those who give it.

How we talk about them, how we define them. Our fascination with literature, films and tv that stereotype them – the plucky orphan, the damaged and dangerous loner or the cruel official.

A filmed reading of a work in progress script, at its heart sits the entanglement of care with class and poverty. Following on from Scotland’s Independent Care Review, and “The Promise” resulting from it, Holding / Holding On examines what care really means in contemporary Scotland. What if instead of ever more complicated systems, we can increase support, compassion and most importantly - love?

Written by Nicola McCartney
Directed by Claire Lamont

The project is supported by the ScottishPower Foundation, The Rayne Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the John Mather Trust and Scottish Children's Lottery Chance to Connect.

Booking Now

Holding / Holding On is available on demand from 11.00am on Friday 21 October until 11.00am on Friday 4 November.

About the project

Following a call-out process in 2020, National Theatre of Scotland commissioned two artists, to undertake a six-month project to investigate the impact that the arts can make within a care context across Scotland, the outcomes of which form Care in Contemporary Scotland, A Creative Enquiry.

As part of the project Nicola McCartney engaged with care experienced adults and young people, community collaborators and sector professionals resulting in a filmed reading of a work in progress script, Holding/Holding On, which explores and gives voice to authentic narratives around Scotland’s care system. Lucy Gaizely/ 21Common worked with learning-disabled adults to create a new experimental documentary, Non Optimum: When It's Safe To Do So addressing personal experiences of care and access to services during the pandemic.

Creative team




Holding / Holding On is available as fully Captioned.