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.
Each artwork 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. Over 100 leading artists and creatives have collaborated to create and release more than forty unique films over the coming weeks and months.
All Scenes for Survival content is free to audiences and will be available on this page.
The season of works 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. Click here to donate.
During lockdown, a kind-hearted postie achieves local celebrity status and a new nickname, entertaining locals on her round with a selection of colourful costumes. But her newfound fame is a double-edged sword and she must wrestle with her conscience to decide if the community’s smiles and selfies outweigh the sneers and sniping of snidey colleagues. Natalie Moore Williams stars in this cheering new short from writer Ian Low, directed by Fiona MacKinnon.
Sick of being scorned, young Aleister Crowley wants the world to know his name, even if he must summon the forces of Hell to do so. From his remote Highland mansion he begins to cast a mighty spell… Unfortunately, black magic takes a while, and things aren’t going as well as he’d hoped: he’s bored, lonely, and nothing really seems to be happening. Maybe it’s all just a big waste of time? Gordon Houston features in a wickedly funny new short from writer Denise Mina, directed by Amy Liptrott.
Ash and Charlie are two regular, same-sex flatmates. Stuck indoors during lockdown, they eat together, laugh together, and watch shows together. But one night over dinner, stuck in a routine that they’re both a little too comfortable with, something happens that might just turn their friendship on its head. Martin Donaghy and Oliver Bennett feature in a witty new short from playwright Meghan Tyler, directed by Leonie Rae Gasson.
A rookie fast food bike courier races the clock as he navigates the streets of post-Covid Glasgow. Pondering his new status as a Key Worker - and dreaming of something even bigger - he plots his way across a daunting new landscape, featuring abusive customers, oblivious pedestrians and a ‘creepy wee manager who lives in his pocket.’ Jatinder Singh Randhawa stars in this cutting new piece, written by Kevin P. Gilday and directed by Graham Eatough.
Isolating in their separate homes during lockdown and coming to terms with a recent bereavement, a mother and daughter reflect on happier times while contemplating an uncertain future for their family. The online video call to plan the playlist for a virtual disco becomes a cathartic exploration of grief, defiance and hope, and a celebration of the healing power of music. Julie Graham and Saskia Ashdown star in this lyrical and inspiring new piece from writer Hannah Lavery, directed by Julie Ellen.
When a loyal employee is betrayed by the company she’s given twenty years of her life to, it’s the latest in a lifetime of injustices. Struggling to contain her anger, long-suppressed impulses boil to the surface as she plots a suitable revenge. Tracy Wiles features in an incendiary new short piece written by Apphia Campbell and directed by Natalie Ibu.
Making their way across a busy Meadows at the height of the Edinburgh Festival, Renton and Sick Boy upset Spud when they start tormenting a squirrel. Their ever-sensitive pal points out that vermin status is very much in the eye of the beholder, as two passing posh wifies make abundantly clear. Actor Brian Duffy performs this extract from Irvine Welsh’s seminal Scottish novel Trainspotting in British Sign Language, recorded in Seoul, South Korea, directed by Davey Anderson.
Following a disastrous natural event, the residents of an isolated island community in the middle of the Atlantic are left picking up the pieces and lamenting a way of life that has been lost. A newly staged extract from Zinnie Harris’s first full-length play Further Than the Furthest Thing, performed by Kathryn Howden and Gilly Gilchrist and directed by Zinnie Harris. First staged at the Traverse Theatre in 2000, the play was most recently seen by audiences at Dundee Rep in 2012.
Following a breach of the nation’s lockdown rules, one of the government’s most senior scientific advisers is forced to practice for his groveling public apology in a fictitious new short sharp drama. As he struggles to justify his actions, he slowly comes to terms with what he has done, and the horrifying scale of his mistake becomes clear.
Featuring Mark Bonnar, written by Rob Drummond, and directed by Jack Nurse.
Gazing from a window upon the polished propriety of genteel Victorian Edinburgh society, a young woman takes delight in imagining the pent-up carnal desire bubbling beneath the surface of the city’s straitlaced exterior. Molly Vevers stars in this playful musing on locked down lust in ‘the most erotic city in the world.’
Bedevilled by writer’s block, an unsupportive partner and a bad case of the heebie jeebies thanks to the neighbour from hell, Julie Wilson Nimmo stars as a would-be children’s author seeking inspiration from an unlikely source. Written and directed by Greg Hemphill, this creepy new comedy short is a pure scream.
A global lockdown might feel like the perfect time to write a piece of reflective drama, but for one bickering couple the creative process leads to nothing but disagreement. Directed by Finn den Hertog, Douglas Henshall & Morven Christie feature in this inventive new short from writer Tena Štivičić, a witty and hilarious take on relationship frustrations and lockdown creativity.
Nuala hasn’t got a lot on now Marie is gone. Never one to dwell, instead she’s taken to watching her neighbours across the road do that thing they insist on doing at their window. And as the days and weeks roll on, she becomes sure that joy is on its way for everyone. Maureen Beattie features in this heartbreaking new short from writer Michael John O’Neill, directed by Dominic Hill.
Patrick Martins & Emma King perform an extract from the new play by May Sumbwanyambe, directed by Justin Audibert. Based on a remarkable true story, Enough of Him explores the life of Joseph Knight, an African man brought to Scotland as a slave by plantation owner John Wedderburn to serve in his Perthshire mansion.
Sitting at home, a woman reminisces about the party where she met her soulmate, from the heart-racing bliss of a first conversation to fearing that a perfect moment has been spoiled by saying just the wrong thing.
Trapped in fear of his life and desperate to escape the criminal connections of his girlfriend’s family, Scott reaches out to Laura, childhood sweetheart and former fiancé, for help. But old wounds begin to reopen as they both weigh up their options.
Cupid may have lived with the divine gift of ecstatic love, but it is also what’s killing him; turning his body into solid gold as he breathes his last and tries to make peace with the world from a lonely, stifling bed. Venus as a Boy was first adapted for the stage by Burn from the book by Sutherland in 2007, premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before a UK tour.
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. Isolation reunites Jenni Fagan with Debbie Hannan, who directed the 2019 stage adaptation of her stunning debut novel The Panopticon.
Expecting a national lockdown to be the perfect time to attempt suicide, a young woman is instead rescued by her boyfriend and wakes on a crowded hospital ward. There she finds much-needed comfort from an unexpected and welcome source of humanity.
Centred on the generations of men knowingly exposed to deadly asbestos over years working in the Glasgow shipyards, and the tragic impact left on them and their loved ones, Fibres is a bittersweet comedy infused with Glaswegian resilience and wit. First produced in October 2019 in a co-production between the Citizens Theatre and Stellar Quines, the play toured Scotland to critical and audience acclaim.
Peter Mullan stars in a surreal and hilarious new short from writer Douglas Maxwell.
After switching the food in his back-garden bird feeder, an idyllic lockdown experience is threatened after the birds make it clear they’re none too happy with the change. A showdown ensues, and as the fight escalates beyond his control the lines between man and beast begin to blur.
Warning: contains strong language
In this eerie Scots-language fable (based on an Inuit tale), a disabled teenager, swept away by climate-change catastrophe, finds herself transformed into a skeleton on the sea floor.
Weeks into lockdown and 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.
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.
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