The National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival is a new season of digital short artworks, created 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. These shorts have been, and continue to be created, in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The initial six plays being launched include Clearing, a new piece written by Morna Pearson, performed by Ashleigh More and directed by Cameron Mowat, has been produced in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts. When the lockdown comes into force a teenage girl finds herself torn between isolating with each of her separated parents. She seeks solace in the nearby woods, a place where she can escape from the worries of her day-to-day life.
Scenes will initially be published on bbc.co.uk/scenesforsurvival and distributed by the National Theatre of Scotland and partners via their social media channels. All Scenes for Survival content will be free for audiences.
Aberdeen Performing Arts Chief Executive, Jane Spiers, said: “The themes explored in these pieces are so important to not only help us make sense of and come to terms with the current situation, but the project as a whole highlights the plight of the cultural sector across the country.
“We are so proud to be involved with Scenes for Survival, and particularly to have helped bring together three fantastic artistic talents from the North East of Scotland to deliver this touching and hilarious play as part of the launch of this exciting project.”
Each piece has been exceptionally created by a quarantine creative team, connecting remotely, made up of a performer(s), writer and director and filmed by the performers, from their personal spaces of isolation. The series has been produced by the National Theatre of Scotland working with Hopscotch Films and through support from Screen Scotland’s Broadcast Content Fund.
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 by venues and theatre companies across Scotland. Scenes for Survival will draw attention to the enduring and urgent role of storytelling in the current crisis and explore themes of hope, solidarity, community, escape, imagination as well as stories from the frontline.
Scenes for Survival launch night will feature six shorts. There are 40+ films in total and they will be released, approximately three times a week over the coming weeks. A selection of scenes will also be broadcast on BBC Scotland, BBC Four and BBC Alba over the coming months.
Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director of National Theatre of Scotland said: Scenes for Survival will celebrate the extraordinary talent of Scottish theatre-makers. Their resilience and creativity in being able to MAKE theatre from their spaces of personal isolation is incredible. Theatre as an artform is able to be responsive and these stories begin to help us understand the times we are living through and how to collectively imagine our futures.
It has been fantastic to work in new ways and seek strength in creative collaboration through the cross-sector partnership between theatre organisations and broadcasters.
We hope that audiences will find some joy, shared community and solace in watching these scenes over the next few months whilst raising funds for theatre workers in need.”
Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts said: “The National Theatre Scotland has assembled an extraordinary collection of projects with some of the very best Scottish talent - both world-famous and on the rise. The BBC is thrilled to be supporting the scheme as part of its Culture in Quarantine initiative, which aims to keep audiences connected with artistic and cultural experience throughout the current crisis. Scenes for Survival is an important project, supporting Scottish arts organisations and artists in telling the right stories for now.”
David Smith, Director of Screen at Screen Scotland said: “We recognised immediately that this would be an incredible opportunity to bring together Scotland’s world-class creative talent to create something unique for audiences across Scotland and beyond during lockdown. Working within the current restrictions has driven everyone’s creativity, forging partnerships and new ways of working we hope will continue.”
Some artists involved have offered to donate their artistic fee on a pay-it-forward basis to enable further artists to be involved and paid over the coming months. The Company gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the artists who are supporting the project so far.
The Company recently announced the results from its open call-out opportunity for writers to take part in the project, which invited submissions from professional playwrights who are Scottish or based in Scotland to write new monologues or duologues, written/created in English, Gaelic, Scots or BSL. The call-out yielded over 200 applications from writers and artists across the country.
There will be a series of actor call outs made over the coming weeks, in response to the selected texts.
Scenes for Survival is being developed and delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland working in association with an unprecedented number of partner organisations, including Aberdeen Performing Arts, Birds of Paradise, the Beacon Arts Centre, the Byre Theatre, Citizens Theatre, Dundee Rep Theatre, Eden Court Highlands, Imaginate, Macrobert Arts Centre, Perth Theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, Summerhall, Stellar Quines, Theatre Gu Leor, the Tron Theatre and the Traverse Theatre.
The season of works will also act as a platform to raise money for the new SCENES FOR SURVIVAL HARDSHIP FUND, a fund for artists and theatre workers who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis. The National Theatre of Scotland is working with the FST and other sector bodies to ensure equitable distribution of money raised from this hardship fund. The National Theatre of Scotland will not be directly allocating money from this fund. The fund will be launched on 27th May following the first broadcast.
WHERE TO WATCH SCENES FOR SURVIVAL