The National Theatre of Scotland has revealed the details for the launch for its Scenes for Survival crisis response series. The new season of digital short artworks has been 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 in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The Scenes for Survival launch night will feature six shorts:

  • A Mug’s Game – an extract from the critically-acclaimed play Fibres by Frances Poet (reviewed here), performed by Jonathan Watson and directed by Louise Shephard. Centred on the men knowingly exposed to deadly asbestos over years working in the Glasgow shipyards, it is a bittersweet comedy full of Glaswegian resilience and wit.
  • Clearing a new short piece by Morna Pearson, performed by Ashleigh More and directed by Cameron MowatWhen 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. Produced in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts.
  • Alone – written and performed by Janey Godley, directed by Caitlin Skinner. Trapped at home with no company save for an adorable dog and a stubborn husband who just won’t be told what to do, a middle-aged woman offers a sobering and darkly funny glimpse into her lockdown experience.
  • John Rebus: The Lockdown Blues – an exclusive new Rebus short from Ian Rankin, directed by Cora Bissett and featuring Brian Cox as the irascible detective inspector. Imprisoned at home, his only distant link to the outside world coming through infrequent visits from his long-standing colleague Siobhan, an ageing Inspector Rebus reflects on his bizarre solitary confinement.
  • Isolation – a new short piece from novelist Jenni Fagan, performed by Kate Dickie and directed by Debbie Hannan. Trapped in self-imposed solitude in her bedroom and cut-off from those she loves the most, a lonely woman struggles to come through the hellish, isolating odyssey of her illness.
  • The Present – written by Stef Smith, directed by Katherine Nesbitt, and performed by Moyo Akandé. During her solitude, a young woman offers a tender poetic lament to an absent loved one, and takes comfort in imagining a time when they can be together again. Produced in association with the Traverse Theatre.

The scenes will initially be published on and distributed, free to audiences, by the National Theatre of Scotland and partners via social media.

There will be 40+ films in total which 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.

Scenes for Survival will celebrate the extraordinary talent of Scottish theatre-makers,” said Jackie Wylie, NTS Artistic Director, introducing the series. “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.”

Watch Scenes for Survival in the following places: