The performing arts are the beating heart of Scottish cultural life both at home and abroad. Shining examples of imagination, artistry and the true meaning of #ScotSpirit, we asked three prodigiously talented performers what makes creating and performing in Scotland so special. Watch our beautifully shot new video sound tracked with an evocative score courtesy of composer Giles Lamb and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s (RSNO).
Barrie has worked consistently in theatre across Scotland and the UK with The Royal Lyceum, The Tron Theatre, Perth Rep, Dundee Rep, Borderline, Theatre Babel, Courtyard Theatre, the National Theatre of Scotland, and many others. He is also a regular fixture during Panto season, having played the Dame at Perth Rep for the past four years.
Originally from France, Sophie has been dancing since the age of five. A Principal at Scottish Ballet since 2008, she has garnered many accolades throughout her career and in 2014 performed at the Ryder Cup Gala Concert and the XX Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, a performance watched by millions.
One of the opera world’s rising stars, Aberdeenshire-born soprano Eleanor started singing in the Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society’s junior choirs at the age of three, and soon graduated to being involved in their bigger scale operas as a chorus member. Since making her professional debut in Vaughan William’s Pilgrim’s Progress, she has earned much acclaim with stand-out performances in many title roles.
Scotland is home to five national performing arts companies as well as many independent performing arts organisations and venues. Discover more of Scotland’s arts and cultural attractions.
In recent times, Scottish Ballet has emerged as a trailblazing force in the world of classical dance. Renowned as much for its daringly imaginative takes on perennial classics including the The Nutcracker and Swan Lake as for its ever-growing repertoire of ambitious contemporary works, the rapturously received A Streetcar Named Desire to name but one; Scottish Ballet delivers captivating performances to audiences throughout Scotland, the UK and abroad. Inventive, whimsical and visually dazzling, don’t pass up the opportunity to witness one of its remarkable productions.
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra has been one of the pillars of Scotland’s musical life since its foundation in 1891. Considered one of the leading symphony orchestras in Europe, it has worked with many great conductors throughout its history including George Szell, Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Alexander Gibson, Neeme Järvi and Stéphane Denève. It is a regular fixture at events ranging from the Edinburgh International Festival to the St Magnus Festival in Orkney to the BBC Proms in London, and boasts an education and outreach programme that is the envy of its peers.
National Theatre of Scotland
A performing arts institution with a difference; the National Theatre of Scotland doesn’t have it own playhouse and instead tours the country performing large-scale productions to experimental works in venues ranging from airports and schools, to ferries and even a forest. Highlights include the Laurence Olivier award-winning Black Watch, the seminal historical trilogy The James Plays, and an adventurous re-telling of Macbeth with A-list Alan Cumming in the titular role. This season has plenty of exciting productions in store including the newly commissioned The Last Queen of Scotland and stage adaptions of the popular novels and films Let the Right One In and Room.
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Hailed as ‘one of the finest ensembles of its kind in the world today’, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra continues to go from strength to strength. This year will see it tackle Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Beethoven’s Symphony No 2 and Sir James MacMillan’s Stabat Mater. Performing the length and breadth of Scotland, this extraordinary collective of talented musicians undertakes annual tours of the Scottish Highlands and islands and south of Scotland, and regularly attends arts festivals ranging from East Neuk to the BBC Proms.
Scottish Opera is Scotland’s largest musical and theatrical institution. Since kicking things off in 1962 with Madame Butterfly, it has earned a reputation for bold, brilliant and sumptuous productions spanning the art form’s four centuries, from Handel and Verdi, to Puccini and Shostakovich. Not content with breathing new life into timeless stalwarts like La Bohème, Scottish Opera has also sought to push artistic boundaries, commissioning many adventurous new works such as the Five:15 – Operas Made in Scotland series and Inés de Castro. What’s more, younger patrons can’t take advantage of £10 tickets if they’re under 26.