First Nights


We believe that theatre should be for everyone, irrespective of where they live, how much money they have or whether their life situation allows them to take part.

First Nights was initially set up to creative first-in-a-lifetime theatre experiences for young people who have never had the opportunity to engage with live performance – due to their financial situation, family background or a variety of other circumstances. In 2018 we extended the First Nights programme to isolated older people in communities across Scotland.

Supported by charitable trusts and foundations, business and individual donors across Scotland, since 2009 First Nights has provided an inspiring first theatre experience for over 1,600 people who otherwise would not have had the chance.


We work with community groups across Scotland, inviting them to bring participants to one of our First Nights programmes.

Participants receive:

  • A bespoke National Theatre of Scotland workshop, where they learn about the production they are about to see – what it’s about, how it was made, the issues involved
  • Alternative care provision for young people with family caring responsibilities
  • Return transport from their home to the venue
  • Packed lunch or evening meal
  • A wraparound guided experience around the chosen performance, including:
    • a ticket for the show
    • a printed programme
    • an interval drink
    • the opportunity to meet members of the cast and the creative team after the show.


Inspired by the digital technology themes explored in Cora Bissett’s production Interference, in March we brought groups of young people to Rockvilla for a series of creative coding and Virtual Reality workshops. This was followed up with a visit to see the show itself, staged in an empty office block in a former tobacco factory in the East End of Glasgow.

Across 2019, we’ll be running First Nights programmes around the following productions:


Whether you’re a business, an individual or a charitable trust, you can support First Nights at a level that suits you.

You may choose to sponsor an entire year’s First Nights programme, support the activity happening around a particular production, or taking place somewhere local to you or your business.

If you’ve never supported the Arts before, there’s also an opportunity to access matched funding, doubling the benefits on both sides.

You can also make a contribution via our Festive Firsts campaign which runs every December – see below for more info.

To find out more about different levels of support for First Nights, email Adam McDougall, Development Manager or call 0141 227 9236.



Every December, we invite businesses and individuals to donate to Festive Firsts, all the proceeds from which support the First Nights programme.

In return for a donation, we create a beautifully designed e-card and social media badges, personalised for you or your company.  Rather than buying and posting Christmas cards, you can share these digitally with all your contacts, letting them know that you’ve helped to give a first-in-a-lifetime experience for young and older people across Scotland.


Current Festive Firsts Supporters (Thank you!)

Janette Harkess


Hiper Ltd


Kynesis Coaching

Integro Entertainment and Sports Insurance Brokers

Iain Gilmour Transport

RTC Training

To support Festive Firsts in 2019, email Adam McDougall, Development Manager or call 0141 227 9236.

Become a National Theatre of Scotland insider by signing up to our emails