Media Release: Lottery backs Black Watch to support Scottish veterans

THE Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and the National Theatre of Scotland have teamed up to support Scotland’s veterans as the multi award-winning play Black Watch returns to Scottish stages.

BIG today announced funding of £36,600 to the National Theatre of Scotland which will enable the theatre company to work with veterans’ families and the wider community over the next few months, addressing issues that many veterans face as they return to civilian life.

Using the production as a catalyst, this pilot project will offer veteran engagement through a variety of formats including performances, workshops, networking and public awareness-raising events, co-inciding with tour dates in Glasgow (SECC, 15 September to 9 October 2010) and Aberdeen (AECC, 13 to 23 October 2010).

National Theatre Scotland is working with Veteran Scotland and associated veteran organisations to facilitate these project strands.

BIG Scotland chair, Alison Magee, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this groundbreaking pilot project from the National Theatre of Scotland.

“The innovative approach taken by National Theatre Scotland, by linking this vital work with veterans to their critically acclaimed play Black Watch, will help to break down the barriers and stigmas that many face.

“We know there is a high number of veterans who experience a whole range of problems from substance abuse to mental ill health when they leave the armed forces. This is a significant and substantial piece of work that will fundamentally help those young men and women in Glasgow and Aberdeen who are struggling on their return to civilian life.”

Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on interviews conducted by writer, Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq.

Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war and what it means to make the journey home again.

John Tiffany’s production makes powerful and inventive use of movement, music and song to create a visceral, complex and urgent piece of theatre.

Vicky Featherstone, artistic director, National Theatre of Scotland, said: “National Theatre of Scotland is delighted and proud to be working with the Big Lottery Fund on such an important project. The support for veterans returning from modern warfare is a vital necessity of our times.

“We are proud that the theatre National Theatre of Scotland creates has such relevance and urgency in today’s society and that we can open up our theatre without walls to help transform people’s lives. We are grateful for this opportunity to make ever closer connections with the different communities of Scotland.”

Bob McFarlane, Veterans Scotland, said: “Veterans Scotland works to help to relieve suffering hardship and distress and to promote the relief of need and education to ex-service men and women.  We are looking forward to working with National Theatre of Scotland on this pilot project as a result of the BIG Lottery Fund.”

For more information on this press release contact:

Emma Whitfield, Big Lottery Fund Senior Press Officer: 0141 242 1415 / 07880 737157

National Theatre of Scotland Press Manager, Wendy Grannon: 0141 227 9016 / 07916 137 632

Full details of Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website:

For full details of National Theatre of Scotland Projects & Box Office info:

Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £24 billion has now been raised and more than 330,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
  • The Scotland Committee, led by Chair, Alison Magee, has been making Big Lottery Fund decisions on Scottish projects since March 2007. As well as taking devolved decisions on Lottery spending, the Committee has and will continue to play a strategic role in the future direction of BIG in Scotland.
    • The Big Lottery Fund is investing in Scotland’s communities through its Investing in Communities portfolio as well as the small grants schemes Awards for All and 2014 Communities.
    • The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.

Since its launch in February 2006, the National Theatre of Scotland has been involved in creating 117 productions in 114 different locations. With no building of its own, the company takes theatre all over Scotland and beyond, working with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. It takes place in the great buildings of Scotland, but also in site-specific locations, airports and tower blocks, community halls and drill halls, ferries and forests. The company has performed to over 468,000 people, across three continents.

The Scottish Government’s International Touring Fund is used to support the National Performing Companies’ performing activities overseas, with priority given to tours to areas of significance to the Scottish Government. The National Theatre of Scotland has been offered up to £100k to take Black Watch to Europe and USA and up to £10k to take Long Gone Lonesome to the Galway Arts Festival 2010 from the 2010-11 Fund.

Further information about National Theatre of Scotland and Black Watch is available at

Ends// Issued: 10/09/10 S PN: 10-09-04.

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Contact: Andrew Neilson
Phone: 01412279497