Five Minute Theatre hosts 200 pieces of theatre over 24 hours

National Theatre of Scotland's ambitious live-streaming project

Five Minute Theatre hosts 200 pieces of theatre over 24 hours

Sharron Devine

At 5pm on Tuesday 21st June, a global theatre event will begin. Over 24 hours, over two hundred pieces of theatre, created by anyone who wants to take part, will be broadcast live to a worldwide audience via These will also be available to view at As a celebration of the National Theatre of Scotland's five years of existence since it's 2006 launch, the Five Minute Theatre project includes over 1500 volunteering performers from over eleven different countries.

Contributors ranging in age from five to 65 and hailing from anywhere from Dalkeith to Mumbai, have prepared by writing, directing acting and composing different pieces of theatre, each five minutes long.

These live events will accompany over one hundred pre-recorded pieces that have been received from the global community, and within those 24 hours, every single performance will be shown across Scotland. If viewers would like to re-watch certain performances, some will be available online via after the event finishes.

Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree and Edinburgh’s Adam House Theatre will host the live recordings of the Five Minute Theatre pieces. Glasgow will be recording and streaming fourteen of these live events, Aberdeen eight, and Edinburgh seven in their consecutive venues and in addition to this, there will be several moving camera crews recording live performances across the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Perth and further locations.

Theatre Within Walls and Without

Theatre maker Tam Dean Burn (known for his performance in Scottish television show, Taggart) has created a solo piece for the Five Minute Theatre and will star in it himself as a man battling with the idea of torture and solitary confinement. Tam is currently involved in a cultural campaign, helping those who have experienced first-hand the nature of solitary confinement in prisons across the globe and what it does to a person's mind. Read more about this campaign at "A key element of this project is the novel of incarceration and reincarnation, The Star Rover by Jack London, which I am adapting for performance, and my Five Minute Theatre piece springs from this," he says.

Human Boggle

Another Glasgow-based participant, aspiring physical theatre maker, Martha Burns Findlay will be presenting an interactive interpretation of the well-known word game Boggle. She has passionately described her five minute theatre piece as a "fun, bizarre and participative performance that uses physical theatre, clowning and melodrama set to a backdrop of ragtime music that all ages will enjoy", Human Boggle represents the development of an earlier work Human Bingo, and will feature fellow physical theatre performers and audience members. This performance will also be carried out on the 25th June as part of Scottish Refugee Week, which holds in high regard the importance of migration and what it means to fleeing refugees.

Dance for Mom

Revered professional dancer from Shanghai, Liu Yanan presents Dance for Mom, explaining that although she is a world-class dancer, having performed for hundreds of audience members, she has never performed for her own mother. "I think most performers have never done this, perform for their Mom. It seems the easiest but the most difficult thing to do, to communicate with the closest person through performance. I’d like to dance for my Mom, only for her.” And this is exactly what she does.

Commerical Break

"Well, if you guys are going to be broadcasting all day, I think you’re almost definitely going to need at least one commercial break!" says David G Lees. From his own home, Lees will be re-creating several famous Scottish TV adverts including the Wine Gums advert featuring the phrase "There’s a Moose Loose aboot this Hoose" and the Tennents’ Caledonia advert, in which Lees says, "it always makes me cry.” An interesting take on television adverts to break up the drama in other performances.

The Garibaldi Paradox

This performance features two elderly women stuck on mobility scooters who have the friendship put to the ultimate test when one tries to convince the other that she has inherited the ability to travel through time. A funny five-minute rendition of ironic sci-fi, this act features performances from professional actors including Alison Peebles (The Acid House) and Anne Lacey (Monarch of the Glen). The piece, written by Colin Hough, will be staged outdoors on the Clydeside promenade of the newly restored Harbour District. The writer of two short films explains: “The action will be played out on the move, against a backdrop of glass fronted, penthouse apartments. The audience will walk alongside the characters as they manoeuvre their mobility scooters along the promenade."

Other Five Minute Theatre pieces include a pair of librarians arguing over the purpose of literature; a seven-year-old writer/director leading fellow primary school pupils in a piece called "The Planet of Terror" and a surreal student comedy in which a group of squirrels attempt to land on the moon in a rocket made from a tree.

Five Minute Theatre

Five Minute Theatre - 5 handy hints

5 Minute Theatre

Celebrate the fifth birthday of the National Theatre of Scotland with 24 hours of live five-minute pieces of theatre. To get involved and find out more visit


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