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MAY 2020

Still COVIDing.

“So. Here they all are on my island. And this storm has been nothing like a good poo.” 
― Tim Crouch, I Caliban


and welcome to the Theatre Directors Scotland May newsletter! We are still behaving and staying at home and have been engaging with our membership and beyond to think of creative ways to get on with the show, online and offline. 

One of our C-19 initiatives, Friends for the End of an Era, a scheme to connect directors and playwrights during the crisis with help from our pals at the Playwrights' Studio, is off to a rocket start with eight new friendships started in the last few weeks. 

We have also hosted two Zoom chats on Directing Distantly, both well attended by theatre-makers all over Scotland (including the Hebrides!). The first session focused on discussing the challenges of online directing and venting about work that does not transfer easily. You can listen to a recording of the session here. The second chat focused on sharing experiences and skills for remote directing and the link to catch up with that will be uploaded in due course. The Directing Distantly sessions will happen every Thursday at 12pm and you can keep an eye on our tweets for the signing up link, latest updates and to engage with our threads and polls on all things directing!

One more thing before you keep reading: we need a Treasurer! Our previously co-opted treasurer, Dara Dimitrova, has had to step down so we need someone who can volunteer a couple of hours a week to give us a hand with finances. If that's you, please get in touch via email to and we will arrange a chat.

What we are doing to support you in this time:

Widening access

We want as many directors to access help as possible so we are extending perks to pending members, meaning if you sign up today we will not demand the full payment of membership but rather ask that you agree a payment plan with us. You will then become a pending member and enjoy membership benefits. We hope this means finances will not be a barrier for folk enjoying our services in these difficult times. Email us to request membership at 



We are reaching out to the sector to urge the industry to employ directors when making responsive content over the next few months. We also ask them to include directors and assistant directors in their plans for projects once the restrictions have been lifted.


Creative development 

We are working with the Tron's Build programme to facilitate online readings of new work and members will receive call outs to direct regularly. 

The first TDS member to direct for this initiative was our wonderful Emily Ingram. This is what she told us about the experience:

"Being able to work with a brilliant cast of seven as part of this opportunity organised by the Tron was an absolute joy. Enda Walsh's script provided plenty of chances to bring sound into my remote directing and performance practice, which wasn't something I'd explored previously when directing distantly. I can't recommend this opportunity enough, both to directors who are new to working in this medium & directors who've been doing this for years!"

Mental health 

We are facilitating a buddy system for our members during the crisis we call Direct Lines. This is a scheme to support each other mentally as well as sharing discoveries, practice and funny gifs. 

Additionally, if anyone in our wider network is struggling and just needs to talk to someone in private, you can drop us a line to stating you would like to speak to a Mental Health First Aider and we will forward you to one of ours.


We hope these resources are useful to you and that they offer a bit of connection and creative influence in times of isolation. If there is anything else we can do for you please do ask (email or DMs). 



There has been an outpour of great content online live streamed or pre recorded, all directed by fabulous talent, but we won't tell you about all of them. The entries below were submitted through our newsletter call out. Feel free to drop us a line if you want to be included in our June Newsletter.

The Show Must Go Online
Weekly performed readings of Shakespeare's canon in the order they were believed to have been written.
Wednesdays at 7pm BST

Ian Doescher's Shakespeare parodies of popular films
Mondays at 9pm BST

The initiative has received an extraordinary response including worldwide news coverage and a growing fanbase. All produced from their base in Glasgow, with help from Edinburgh, and around the world.

Full details and how to watch

Short Attention Span Theatre
Six monologues by Leanne Cameron, Tom Murray, Diane Stewart, GR Greer, Elaine Malcolmson, and Arron Greechan, featuring Kat Harrison, Mark McMinn, Rachel Flynn, Gillian Massey, Mick Cullen, and Eddy MacKenzie.
Wednesday 20th May, 7pm

Six monologues by Rachel Flynn, Dale McMullen, Alan Muir, Gail Winters, Jamie Graham, and Chris Patrick, featuring Karen Bartke, John Love, Derek Banner, Sarah McCardie, Grant McDonald, and James Keenan. 
Thursday 21st May, 7pm

Directed by Karen Barclay, Max Chase, Mairi Davidson and Daniel Gee Husson.

Full details and how to watch 

Prism is a new piece of children’s theatre inspired by colour science, exploring what happens when we follow our curiosity. Hue and Pop investigate the strange goings-on in a house ruled by colour with the help of the audience in a performance for audiences over the age of five, including relaxed audiences.

This production will follow the development project which took place in 2019 which investigated the physics of colour-mixing as a topic for children’s theatre.

Co-produced with Platform and supported by Whale Arts.

Co-funded by Creative Scotland and the Institute of Physics Scotland.

Directed by Lisa Wilson, coming to Scottish venues and schools next spring.


Here are some opportunities and support: 

Lyceum Working from Home. The Lyceum in Edinburgh have announced a number of opportunities for creatives, including online auditions, creatives speed dates, pitch surgeries and producer surgeries. Full details and how to apply on their website.

Stellar Quines Artists Support Sessions. One-to-one advice sessions on producing, marketing, career goals, dramaturgy, etc. 

Direct with Short Attention Span Theatre



Stewart Aitken

Stewart has worked in theatre for over 35 years as an actor, director, workshop leader and manager. Based in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, he was from 2007 – 2018 Artistic Director/CEO of Aberdeen International Youth Festival and prior to that, Artistic Director of Wigan Pier Theatre Company and Drama Artist in Residence with the Scottish Borders Council, running the Borders Youth Theatre. He has recently returned to a freelance career mixing acting and directing and is an Associate Artist with Aberdeen-based Ten Feet Tall Theatre. and Edinburgh based Cutting Edge Theatre.   

2020 had been looking, prior to lockdown, to be a busy year, for Stewart and Ten Feet Tall with four projects on the go, all which have been moved to 2021 including a site-specific production at a stately home, a commissioned piece for a conference celebrating theatre and cinema in Aberdeen and a new “Secret Staging” production and community tour where audiences know nothing about the play before the show starts. Stewart and the other three members of the TFT team have been meeting regularly on Zoom to keep talking and stay creative and have decided to embark on a shared writing project to hopefully generate some new ideas, stories and ways of working for the future. They are also waiting to hear about a funding bid which will help them extend that conversation to include four local writers – a poet, a novelist, a rap artist and a playwright and see what comes out the other end.


Thanks for reading - hope to see you at one of our online events soon!

Theatre Directors Scotland



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