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National Theatre of Scotland wins 2020 RNIB See Differently award

The National Theatre of Scotland has won a UK-wide award from RNIB for "using its time, resources and skills to support the blind and partially sighted community during the coronavirus crisis".

Scotland’s national theatre company was shortlisted under the 'Best Corporate Response' category of RNIB's 2020 See Differently - Coronavirus Heroes awards.

The awards aimed to shine a spotlight on the people and organisations who have stepped up to help, support and find solutions to the challenges faced by people with sight loss and their communities during the pandemic.

RNIB Head of Integrated Marketing, Lorna Forbes, said: “Although 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year, there have been some amazing acts of kindness and support that have played a significant role in helping others through a tough time.

“Our awards recognise these amazing achievements and say thank you to these outstanding individuals and organisations.”

National Theatre of Scotland’s Artistic Director, Jackie Wylie, said: "We are delighted to have won one of RNIB’s Coronavirus Heroes awards for our work to support audiences during the ongoing pandemic. At the National Theatre of Scotland, we are committed to ensuring all of our projects are accessible to everyone, including blind and partially sighted audiences. The importance of providing access to culture for isolated people across the country, especially during such a uniquely challenging time, cannot be overstated, so to be recognised for the work on our COVID-19-responsive digital season is an honour."

In response to the lockdown, the National Theatre of Scotland developed 'Scenes for Survival', a programme of digital performances exploring personal journeys of lockdown life, created with accessibility as a priority. The free shows were made available to audiences throughout the summer, garnering more than 16 million views across all platforms to date and remain available to watch for free through the National Theatre of Scotland website.

Audio-described versions of shows were available on the theatre's YouTube channel and website. Alongside this, each show had subtitles, and the series is being regularly updated on the website with individual British Sight Language (BSL) introductions to performances.

'The Scenes for Survival' programme was created in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project and Scotland’s leading theatre venues and companies, with support from Hopscotch Films.