Media Release: National Theatre of Scotland announces The Tin Forest at Glasgow’s South Rotunda

FREE PIC- Nat Theatre Scotland Tin Forest Launch 05

The National Theatre of Scotland, in association with Scottish Youth Theatre, presents, 


A celebration of Glasgow’s industrial past and creative future

Taking place at the South Rotunda on Clydeside, across Glasgow and the world

Part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme

Inspired by the book by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson

Led by Graham McLaren and Simon Sharkey

Communities lead artists:  Pete Collins, Lu Kemp, Simon Sharkey, Philippa Tomlin

International performing company director for Scottish Youth Theatre:  Fraser MacLeod

Puppet designer, Maker and Coach:  Gavin Glover

Director, South Rotunda Events:  Graham McLaren

Produced in association with Scottish Youth Theatre and supported by Glasgow Life, Creative Scotland, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Homecoming Scotland

AS the finalé to an eight-month project across Glasgow and the Commonwealth, exploring Glasgow’s industrial heritage and 21st century future, taking place as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, the National Theatre of Scotland will take over the South Rotunda on the Clydeside, creating a pop-up arts venue for a rich programme of performance and visual art.

The iconic building will be home to an immersive puppet experience and visual art installation, inspired by Helen Ward’s bestselling book The Tin Forest, and created by National Theatre of Scotland associate director Graham McLaren (In Time o’ Strife, A Doll’s House), in collaboration once more with celebrated puppet-designer Gavin Glover – the two previously worked together on the National Theatre of Scotland’s acclaimed production of A Christmas Carol.

The South Rotunda will also provide the backdrop to: a seven day festival created by international young theatre-makers; a world-class visual art installation; a large scale opening event, featuring live music from leading Scottish artists.

All performances at the South Rotunda will be part of Festival 2014, the Commonwealth Games-time Glasgow-based strand of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.

The first phase of The Tin Forest project will see National Theatre of Scotland associate director Simon Sharkey (Jump, 99…100) lead a team of creative artists in engagement across the city and with four ex-industrial communities across Glasgow: Springburn (railways), Govan (shipbuilding), East End (steel) and Southwest (aircraft components).

Taking as its inspiration the story of The Tin Forest, in which a lonely old man transforms his surrounding landscape from a place “near nowhere and close to forgotten” to somewhere “filled with all the things that everyone wanted”, the company will invite participants to retell the story of their local community, the story of Glasgow’s industrial past and to imagine what the future might look like.

Each community will work with a team of directors, writers, musicians, visual artists, choreographers and other theatre-makers, to devise and create a large scale site-specific event, to be performed in their local area in June 2014.

A specially commissioned Tin Forest International Performing Company – an ensemble of 90 young theatre makers drawn from the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth – will flood the city with site-responsive theatre, responding to the themes of The Tin Forest and a selection of iconicGlasgow locations. Directed by Scottish Youth Theatre associate artistic director, Fraser MacLeod, they will perform on the city’s streets, bridges and public transport, and in parks, ‘stalled spaces’ and public places.

The Tin Forest International Youth Theatre Festival will bring together ten established youth theatre companies from around the Commonwealth. The companies are: Manifesto Jamaicafrom Kingston, Jamaica; FanFiction Comedy from Auckland, New Zealand; Made In Bristol from Bristol Old Vic, England; X Theatre from Dhaka, Bangladesh; Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre from Malta; YUVA EKTA-Youth Unite from New Delhiin India. The four Scottish companies are Urban Fairytale Theatre Company from Glasgow; Collision from Buckhaven, Fife; Aberdeen Performing Arts Youth Theatre, Aberdeen; Physical Theatre Scotland from Edinburgh.

These groups will devise and perform a piece in their home country – inspired by the concept of ‘near nowhere…to somewhere’ – before presenting it to audiences in Glasgow at the South Rotunda from Thursday 24t to Monday 28th July.

They will also take part in a residential theatre course, working closely with established, professional theatre-makers, engaging in cultural exchange and building on their existing skills and knowledge.

The Tin Forest opening event will bring together all of the participants at the South Rotunda on Tuesday 22nd July, 2014, featuring live music and performance.

The Tin Forest will breathe new life into the currently vacant South Rotunda building on the Clydeside. Built between 1890 and 1896 by the Glasgow Tunnel Company, the South and North Rotundas gave Glasgow commuters access to three passageways under the Clyde – two for horses and carts and one for pedestrians.

Now used only for access to water mains, the tunnel was closed to pedestrians in 1980 and the vehicular tunnels in-filled in 1986.  The South Rotunda reopened briefly as the ‘Dome of Discovery’ during the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival, but has since lain derelict.

Laurie Sansom, artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, says: 

“The tale of The Tin Forest, in Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson’s beautiful book, tells an important story about regeneration and cultural awakening. We are inviting people across Glasgow and the Commonwealth to creatively respond to this narrative by re-imagining their own communities’ futures.

“Meanwhile, the National Theatre of Scotland  is transforming the currently derelict but iconic South Rotunda on Glasgow’s Clydeside into a high tech temporary performance space in which to house a rich programme of cultural activity, including performances from these communities and world class performance during the Commonwealth Games, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.

“The Tin Forest is a large scale participatory arts project, a brilliant entertainment experience and a destination for Scottish and international audiences during July of next year. The project is also a celebration of Glasgow’s industrial past, its creative future and its place in the world.

“2014 is going to be a remarkable year for the people of Scotland, and the company is thrilled to be embarking on one of its most ambitious projects to date to mark this moment in time. It would not have been possible to realise The Tin Forest without the vital support and vision of our many partners and funders.”

Graham McLaren, associate director at the National Theatre of Scotland, says:

“I’ve imagined making a show in Glasgow’s South Rotunda since I was a boy. I can think of no place better for us to remember whereGlasgowhas been, and to dream of where we are going.”

Simon Sharkey, associate director at the National Theatre of Scotland, says:

“Having been all over Scotland, making large scale site-specific event theatre with the most wonderful communities, it is unbearably exciting to bring our ‘Theatre without Walls’ to my home city. I can’t wait to engage with the communities ofGlasgowand connect them to the Commonwealth by retelling their story and re-imagining our future in the world, with them.”

Eileen Gallagher, independent director on the Glasgow 2014 board and chair of the Ceremonies, Culture and Queen’s Baton Relay Committee, says:

The Tin Forest is a remarkable project which spans the run up to Glasgow 2014 and will enthral and delight everyone who sees it during Games time next summer. It will draw people from all over the Commonwealth to participate and to enjoy the huge range of performances which will be staged during Festival 2014.”

Fraser MacLeod, associate artistic director, Scottish Youth Theatre, says:

“Scottish Youth Theatre is proud to be working in association with the National Theatre of Scotland on such an exciting and engaging project. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the hundreds of young people from across the Commonwealth bringing their energy and enthusiasm to Glasgow; creating and performing in the lead-up to the Games and throughout.”

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK director, Andrew Barnett, says:

“We are supporting arts organisations committed to pushing the boundaries of their work with professional and non-professional artists and working across borders. The Tin Forest is an exemplar initiative which reflects the Foundation’s interest in the environment, promotes intergenerational activity, and engages local and international audiences and participants in a project of uncompromising quality, which we hope in turn will influence artistic practice more widely.”

Caroline Packman, director of Homecoming Scotland 2014, says:

“We are delighted to have The Tin Forest as part of the packed Homecoming Scotland programme of events. The plans outlined for this fantastic festival celebratingGlasgow’s industrial past and creative future tie in perfectly with our Year of Homecoming themes including ancestry and creativity, whilst also providing a great opportunity to place the spotlight on some of Glasgow’s most iconic locations.”


The Tin Forest

at the South Rotunda on Glasgow’s Clydeside:
performances from Thursday 24th July – Sunday 3rd August 2014

Glasgow community engagement commences December 2013

In four Glasgow communities:  Springburn, Govan,East End and Southwest

Site-specific community performances take place throughout June 2014 in four Glasgow communities:  Springburn, Govan, East End and Southwest

International Performing Company

Performances at various locations around Glasgow and at the South Rotunda
from Monday 21st – Wednesday 23rd July 2014

International Youth Theatre Festival:

Performances at the South Rotunda from Thursday 24th – Monday 28th July 2014

Opening Event:

At the South Rotunda on Tuesday 22nd July 2014


If you live in one of the following Glasgowcommunities, The Tin Forest team would love to tell you more about the project at the following introductory sessions:

Southwest GlasgowThursday 5th December 2013, 7.00 – 8.30pm

Rosshall Academy, 131 Crookston Road, Glasgow G52 3PD

Springburn:  Monday 9th December, 7.00 – 8.30pm

Springburn Academy, 151 Edgefauld Road, Glasgow G21 4JL

Govan:  Wednesday 11th December, 7.00 – 8.30pm

The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Road, Glasgow G51 3UU

East End:  Thursday 12th December, 7.00 – 8.30pm

Helenslea Community Hall, 41 Methven Street, Glasgow G31 4RB


East End:  Wednesday 18th December, 7.00 – 8.30pm

Reidvale Neighbourhood Centre, 13 Whitevale Street, Glasgow G31 1QW

Information, inspiration and refreshments will be provided at each session.

For further information on The Tin Forest Participation, please contact Karen Allan, at or on 0141 227 9014


Full ticketing and programme information will be made public in Spring 2014.

Press contacts:

Adam McDougall, Press and Marketing Officer at National Theatre of Scotland

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9231 / +44 (0)7738 153157


Emma Schad, Press Manager at National Theatre of Scotland

Tel: +44 (0)141 227 9016 / +44 (0) 7930 308018


Further information at:  @NTSonline  #TinForest

Notes to editors:

  • Since its launch in February 2006, The National Theatre of Scotland has been involved in creating 189 productions in 162 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 one million people across four continents.
  • Scottish Youth Theatre – giving young people in Scotland the opportunity to explore and to reach their creative potential through a quality theatre arts experience. Using the youth theatre/drama process to develop not only creativity and performance skills but also transferable skills in participants, Scottish Youth Theatre puts particular emphasis on each individual’s personal and social development.
  • The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a key part of the Games experience for spectators and visitors. Running until the end of August 2014, it will showcase the best of Scottish culture alongside creative work from across the Commonwealth and be a nationwide celebration of the Games, reaching its peak asGlasgow bursts into life at Games time. There are two strands: a Scotland-wide programme called Culture 2014; and a Games-time celebration in Glasgow running alongside the sporting action called Festival 2014. The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland.
  • The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is an international charitable foundation with cultural, educational, social and scientific interests. Based in Lisbon with offices in London and Paris, the Foundation is in a privileged position to support national and transnational work tackling contemporary issues. The purpose of the UK Branch is to bring about long-term improvements in well-being, particularly for the most vulnerable, by creating connections across boundaries (national borders, communities, disciplines and sectors) which deliver social, cultural and environmental value. We support innovative projects and partnerships within time-limited and purposeful strands of activity. For more information about the work of the Foundation in the UK visit Partnerships and Initiatives at
  • Homecoming Scotland 2014 Scotland will welcome the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 – providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games.  The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run from 31 December 2013 to 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners.  To find out more visit
  • The Guardian reviews The Tin Forest by Helen Ward:  “Some children’s picture books are real works of art and this is one of those. The very best books for both adults and children often take you deep into the unconscious or show you the world as if through a prism. This, again, is one of them. Austere and yet visually rich, needing few words and yet saying so much, this is a wonderful fable about making something from nothing, seeing the beauty lurking among the junk, and about reaping what you sow.” – 22nd July 2008.

PRESS RELEASE issued by the National Theatre of Scotland. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka press or media releases), on Email for more information.

Contact: Adam McDougall
Phone: 01412279231