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Poverty is not simply a question of not having enough money to pay for the essentials; it also means the lack of opportunity to take part in things the rest of us take for granted. First Nights is an exciting way to tackle these barriers, and we hope it fosters a life-long love of the arts in the people who take part.

Prof. Sir Harry Burns, ex Chief Medical Officer for Scotland



National Theatre of Scotland believes everyone should have the opportunity to take part in theatre.

Every festive season, we invite businesses across Scotland to make a charitable donation to Festive Firsts, all the proceeds from which support the delivery of our First Nights programme across the year.




This tried and tested programme removes the barriers that prevent some people from taking part in theatre, whether those are financial, social, geographic or cultural. For isolated individuals and underserved communities, the events of the last few years have cut off access to arts, culture, live events and shared social experiences.

First Nights works with local theatres to reach community groups supporting people in need of companionship, confidence, social interaction, respite and a good night out. First Nights gives many of them the opportunity to engage with theatre for the first time. Our aim is to introduce them to the magic of theatre and keep them coming back for more.

Since First Nights began we’ve welcomed over 1,800 people to the theatre who wouldn’t have otherwise come.

In 2022, we welcomed 304 people from 20 community groups across Scotland.

With your support, we want to keep reaching out in 2023, continuing to make theatre available to everyone.

Your charitable donation helps us to provide:

  • Free ticket and programme for the show
  • Free transport to the performance
  • Group host to welcome them to the venue and guide their experience
  • Pre-show food and drink and informal introduction the show
  • Post-show space to have a drink, relax and chat
  • An invitation to return to the venue for the next NTS production
  • Ongoing opportunities to engage with their local venue

In return for your donation, you’ll receive:

  • Bespoke designed Festive Greetings e-card to share with your networks, to let them know you’re supporting Festive Firsts
  • Social media badges to do the same
  • Thanks on the National Theatre of Scotland website
  • Invitation to a special First Nights reception at National Theatre of Scotland’s Rockvilla HQ to learn how your charitable donation was used.

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It’s just so nice to take a night to relax and know that things at home are OK and I can be me.

Care4Carers First Nights Participant

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We really appreciate you giving our group this opportunity. It’s difficult for them, you know, trying to fit into the community. So thank you, we have had a great night.

Inverclyde Faith In Throughcare First Nights Group Project Worker

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I would never have booked to come to something like this, but it’s made me think I need to be braver and get out more.

Branchton Community Centre First Nights Participant

Festive AngelsWarm Hearts Shining Lights
Supports 10 First Nights participants Supports 20 First Night participants Supports 40 First Night participants




Every bit of support will help bring theatre to life for people across Scotland. Thank you so much for helping us remove the barriers to first time theatre experiences.

In 2022, First Nights groups included:

* Companies are entitled to tax relief for qualifying charitable donations made to charities. The donations are paid gross without the deduction of income tax. The donations are deductible from the company’s total profits in the year in which the donations are made. Any payments in support of Festive First Nights are charitable donations and as such not liable to VAT.