Background to the Gathering

You can also download the background to the event as a .pdf document.

The Scottish Society of Playwrights (SSP) and Playwrights' Studio have come together to organise this Gathering of playwrights to consider the future of playwriting and live theatre following the COVID-19 crisis. In it, we want to:

  • Strengthen the community - it's a chance for everyone working as a playwright in Scotland to come together.
  • Clarify the roles and highlight the activity of some of the organisations or bodies who are advocating for the arts in Scotland. This includes what our own organisations have been doing and can offer.
  • Do something practical to influence decision-making/the future, in the immediate form of a joint submission to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee of the Scottish Parliament. This will also be used as a longer-term advocacy and planning tool.

Our face-to-face Gatherings are usually lengthy and free-flowing! Because of the limitations of Zoom, the large number of people attending, and the realities of screen fatigue, on this occasion, the Gathering will be tightly timed.

Comments and questions will be received using microphones and video and also the chat facility. The discussion will, unfortunately, need to be fairly restricted.

The event will be BSL interpreted and captioned live. Please see the Accessible Services Guidance for details of how to connect with these services.

Please note: this is not a session on how to write, develop or produce plays. If you would like any further information on these areas, please contact


We have invited the following speakers who will present five minutes each on the topics below:

Peter Arnott, playwright, presents a whistle-stop tour of his ideas for the future of the arts in Scotland. A fuller version of these ideas has been published on Peter's Blog, and in The Scotsman and Bella Caledonia.

Annie George, playwright, performer and director, is also a board member of the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST). She will brief us on some of the work being done by the FST and the advocacy body, Culture Counts.

Bill Armstrong, Scotland Chair of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) and playwright Jules Horne, who has recently joined the Scotland Committee, will provide wider context about WGGB campaigns UK-wide, but also how writers like Jules, based in the Scottish Borders, are getting involved in advocacy locally.

The 'host' for the Gathering is Playwrights' Studio staff. It will be introduced by John McCann and Linda Duncan McLaughlin, Co-Chairs of the SSP. It will be chaired by Fiona Sturgeon Shea, Creative Director & Chief Executive of Playwrights' Studio, Scotland.


Image: Ingrid Mur

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