What to Expect from the Playwrights' Gathering

You can also download this page as a .pdf document.

Please use the following guide to help you get the most out of the event. 

1. Schedule

11.00am Welcome
Linda McLaughlin & John McCann, 
Co-Chairs of the Scottish Society of Playwrights
11.10am Session Outline
Fiona Sturgeon Shea, Creative Director, Playwrights' Studio, Scotland
11.15am Presentations
Peter Arnott, Annie George, and Jules Horne & Bill Armstrong, Scotland chair (Writers' Guild of Great Britain)
11.30am Comfort break
11.35am  Presentations
Scottish Society of Playwrights, and Playwrights' Studio, Scotland
11.45am Initial discussion, questions and feedback 
facilitated by Fiona Sturgeon Shea
12.05pm Comfort break
12.10pm Further discussion and questions
12.25pm  Round up, next stages, Zoom poll
12.30pm Gathering ends

If you have any difficulties during the Gathering or want to contact a member of staff, please either use the chat function to send a private message to participant Hayley Sinclair, or email

2. Making the most of the Gathering on Zoom

2.1      Before the Gathering

You will have received an email with a link to the Gathering ahead of the start date. Click on this link to join the online event on the date. You will be able to join the Gathering 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time, so we would appreciate it if you could be there a few minutes early. This will also allow any technical issues to be ironed out before the event officially starts. 

When you click to join the event, you will be placed into a waiting room until Playwrights' Studio (the host) adds you to the main meeting room. 

We encourage you to take advantage of the live captioning available. Feedback from other events is that your experience will be greatly enhanced if you use it. Click on this link ahead of the Gathering to access the captioning. Live captioning will begin when the event starts. As it is provided through a separate web page, you can either display your Zoom and live captioning windows side-by-side, or set up the live captioning webpage on a separate device, depending on your preference.

When you enter the room, your video and microphone will be off. Feel free to turn them on if you wish to say, "hi," before the Gathering begins.

2.2      During the Gathering

The Gathering is 90 minutes in length. BSL Interpretation will be provided by Katy Smillie, and will be live captioned by Louisa McDaid. A transcription will be produced so you don't need to be concerned that you miss any smaller details.

When the event begins officially, you will be asked to switch off your camera and your microphone will be switched off by the host. This is to avoid cognitive overload for participants, and anyone relying on the BSL interpreter. It will also ensure that the person providing live captioning can clearly hear the speaker at all times.

You can switch view by clicking the icon in the top right hand corner. There are two options:

  • Speaker view where you only see the person who is speaking
  • Gallery view which allows you to see everyone who has their camera on

In Gallery view, you can choose to hide participants whose videos are turned off. Do this by clicking the three dots next to any participant whose video is off and select hide non-video participants. This will avoid you seeing any black boxes with names on them and only see those whose cameras are on (speakers and BSL interpreters).

The Presentations

Because the presentations are so short, they will run immediately after one another, without a break.

If any comments or questions arise during the presentations, please feel free to use the chat function by clicking the button at the bottom of the screen. However, these will only be addressed during the discussion, not during or between the presentations.

The discussion

The presentations will be followed by a short general discussion which will be moderated by the chair. The discussion is held under the Chatham House Rule, so your name will not be included in the final transcription. If you are live tweeting or using other social media, please make sure you don't use anyone's names.

If you would like to ask a question, either:

  • Type it into the chat box. Start any questions with "Q:" so that it can be clearly seen by the chair.
  • Click on Participants in the menu bar at the bottom of your screen, you will see an icon to Raise Hand. This alerts the chair that you wish to speak. The host will then enable your camera and microphone. The BSL interpreter will relay your question or comment, if required.

When using the microphone and camera option to ask a question or comment, please state your name at the start so that everyone is aware of who is speaking.

Due to the large number of attendees, and the presence of both BSL and live captioning services, it is necessary for the chair to coordinate the questions and comments. It is important that the discussion is conducted this way to allow the BSL interpreter and live captioning to relay the discussion accurately to those requiring the services.

It is unlikely that we will be able to address every question or comment raised at the Gathering. However, we will find a way of doing so afterwards, depending on the nature of the question or comment.


Ninety minutes is quite a long time to be in front of your screen, so there will be a couple of short breaks at around 30 minutes and 60 minutes to allow you to stretch your legs and get away from your screen.

Zoom poll

If we have time, we would like to invite everyone to vote on the six asks (requests already made to the Scottish Parliament by the advocacy body Culture Counts). This will help us write the submission to the Scottish Parliament and other decision-makers.  

2.3     At the end of the Gathering

  • You will be free to enable your camera and microphone should you wish to say goodbye 'in person.'
  • The host will end the event for everyone. But you can also click the Leave button at the bottom right hand corner of your screen to leave the meeting room before this.

2.4     After the Gathering

Playwrights' Studio, Scotland will send you information on the Scottish Parliament's COVID-19 Inquiry and a short survey, which will help Playwrights' Studio and the SSP formulate a joint response to the Inquiry. We will also provide information about how you can respond as an individual if you wish to. 

The transcription of the event will be made available shortly afterwards for everyone who attended and, by request, for those who were unable to attend.

By July at the latest, a link to the response will be forwarded to all who registered to attend the Gathering. We will publish it on our websites and use it to advocate for playwrights with other organisations or decision-makers. Feel free to share with your own networks.

If you have any questions about this event, please do not hesitate to contact


Image: Ingrid Mur

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