National Theatre pledges to bring in 'more diverse voices' and celebrate Scotland’s ‘many identities’

Scotland's national theatre company has pledged to transform the way it works to reach more people across the country – and do more to celebrate the nation’s "many identities.”
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The National Theatre of Scotland has committed to bring in more “diverse voces” to influence what shows it makes and where they are staged.

Under a new five-year blueprint, it will also step up efforts to ensure audiences, artists and local communities "recognise themselves" in its work.

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NTS has pledged to take on a “leadership role” in changing the way theatre is made in Scotland and who it is produced for.

Jackie Wylie is artistic director and chief executive of the Nationa Theatre of Scotland. Picture: Kirsty AndersonJackie Wylie is artistic director and chief executive of the Nationa Theatre of Scotland. Picture: Kirsty Anderson
Jackie Wylie is artistic director and chief executive of the Nationa Theatre of Scotland. Picture: Kirsty Anderson

It plans to forge new partnerships to help develop “diverse talent in Scotland across all aspects of theatre-making.”

Its new vision states: "We understand that if we are to be truly national then we need to involve more people across the nation.”

NTS launched in 2006 and went on to stage more than 200 productions in its first 10 years. The company moved into a permanent base on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal in north Glasgow at the end of 2016.

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The company, which has published a new business plan as part of its new vision, has highlighted the need to play its part in addressing the impact of the “challenging economic climate” across the entire Scottish theatre sector, stating: “Freelancers and building-based organisations have not yet recovered from the pandemic and are having to deal with a cost of living crisis and poor economic outlook.”

The new Scottish musical Orphans was launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2022. Picture: Mihaela BodlovicThe new Scottish musical Orphans was launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2022. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
The new Scottish musical Orphans was launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2022. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

Key future priorities include pursuing "large scale popular programming and unmissable cultural events," working in areas which do not have their own theatres and creating "pioneering site-specific and landscape work."

Other key aims include creating work for people aged 18-35 who got to live events but currently shun theatre productions, and ensuring its work celebrates all languages spoken in contemporary Scotland, including Scots and Gaelic.

The company also plans to tackle the question of what international now means “moving beyond the Covid pandemic, post Brexit and within the context of the climate emergency."

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The NTS blueprint states: "We will seek a broader range of views as we develop our programmes and the working practices that underpin them. We will expand who influences our artistic decision-making, our knowledge, and our sources of inspiration by building new dialogues and taking action. We will involve more diverse voices to influence what we programme, by whom, and where it plays.

The National Theatre of Scotland's Rockvilla headquarters on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal in north Glasgow. Picture: Colin TempletonThe National Theatre of Scotland's Rockvilla headquarters on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal in north Glasgow. Picture: Colin Templeton
The National Theatre of Scotland's Rockvilla headquarters on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal in north Glasgow. Picture: Colin Templeton

"We celebrate the many identities of Scotland and commit to widen out who and what is part of the stories we tell – people, communities, geography and place. We understand how vitally important it is for audiences, artists and communities to recognise themselves in the stories that we tell.”

Jackie Wylie, artistic director and chief executive of NTS, said: “We acknowledge that we are living in very challenging times and we are as committed as ever to ensuring that we deliver to audiences, artists and communities across Scotland, and to use our resource to the best possible effect, to ensure the broadest number of people can benefit.

“Our aim with this plan and the framework is to deepen engagement with all the communities we serve, continue to strive towards more equitable working practices, offer leadership to the sector and continue to artistically innovate."