The National Theatre of Scotland has announced a responsive digital programme of work that will be created and unveiled online over the coming months. 

Scenes for Survival will see the Company engage writers, actors, and directors to create and deliver short scenes that will be created from isolation, on the themes currently being navigated by the creative sector and beyond.

The programme of work will not only offer free artistic content to audiences, but it will also act as a fundraising platform to raise money for a hardship fund for all those in the theatre industry severely impacted by the current economic perilous situation many workers and artists find themselves in.

The programme will serve 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 venues and theatre companies across the country.  Scenes for Survival will draw attention to the enduring and urgent role of storytelling in the current crisis.

The works will either be new works from Scottish writers or works from much-loved Scottish classic and contemporary texts.

Val McDermid – contributing artist says: “Stories are what bring us together and hold us together. There will be an ‘afterwards’ and our stories will prepare us for that.’

Artists and creatives involved in the project will include Cora Bissett, Mark Bonnar, Tam Dean Burn, Alan Cumming, Brian Cox, Kate Dickie, Blythe Duff, Finn Den Hertog, Greg McHugh, Lorraine Mcintosh, Adura Onashile, Julie Wilson Nimmo, Richard Rankin and Robert Softley Gale, with written contributions from Jenni Fagan, Greg Hemphill, Val McDermid, Greg McHugh, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin and May Sumbwanyambe. Further writers, actors and directors will be announced in the coming weeks.

The programme will be developed and delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland working in association with an unprecedented number of organisations, including The Citizens Theatre, Eden Court, Imaginate, Stellar Quines, The Beacon Arts Centre, Dundee Rep, Traverse Theatre, Perth Theatre and Horsecross Arts, Byre Theatre, The Tron Theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Birds of Paradise, the Royal  Lyceum Theatre Company and Macrobert Arts Centre.

Scenes for Survival will also act as a platform to help raise funds for a new hardship fund, assisting artists and those workers and freelancers in the theatre industry who have been hardest hit financially by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The National Theatre of Scotland is working with the FST and other sector bodies to ensure equitable distribution of money raised from this fund. Full details of who will be managing this and how it will operate will be announced. The National Theatre of Scotland will not be directly allocating money from this fund.

High profile artists involved will be given the opportunity to donate their artistic fee on a pay-it-forward basis, to ensure payment for as many artists as possible over the coming months.


Engine Room, the Company’s nationwide programme of opportunities for artists will be repositioned as a digital offering with consideration to what will be most useful to artists in this new context. First off, the Company will be announcing a specific Starter Artist opportunity. 10 mini bursaries will be awarded to artists across Scotland to offer thinking and research time and for them to spend one week on a project with online access to National Theatre of Scotland and venue partner staff.


Spanning our archives, educational resources and developing new, live digital projects, the National Theatre of Scotland will stay connected to families remotely. Children, young people, parents and carers will be offered up online educational inspiration and theatrical home entertainment over the next few months. Further details about Play Dates will be announced.


The National Theatre of Scotland’s engagement with the LGBTI +community will continue over the new few months, following the cancelling of the Company’s popular Social Dance Clubs in Glasgow, Inverness and across Scotland.  The Coming Back Out Ball is a partnership project with All The Queens’s Men in Australia, Eden Court, Inverness and Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, in association with Glasgow City Council.  All the Queen Men’s in Australia are hosting the first online dance club on Sunday 22nd March using cloud- based conferencing software.  This approach will be used in Scotland over the coming weeks to influence and roll out new online  Dance Clubs for existing social dance club members and those who would like to join.


Casting of actors will continue. Casting will continue virtually for the Company’s summer and autumn seasons alongside general meetings for actors, with the National Theatre of Scotland’s Casting Director and Associate Artists to ensure that this contact and support is sustained over the next few months.